Scandinavian Invitation Betting Tips
Hills Golf & Sports Club - Molndal, Sweden - Par 70, 6,900 Yards
The European Tour resumes this week in Sweden as we begin a run of sixteen weeks of continuous golf, initially on the mainland before moving to Asia and latterly Australia before the Christmas break. The Scandinavian Invitation (formerly the Nordea Masters) has long represented a significant stop on Tour with high quality fields and high profile winners throughout the last three decades. The likes of Faldo, Ballesteros, Montgomerie, and Adam Scott have all enjoyed success here since the start of the 90s. The venues have changed frequently with The Hills course, located 20 miles south of Gothenburg, hosting the event for the first time last year where Englishman Paul Waring secured a playoff victory over South Africa’s Thomas Aiken.
The course itself is a fairly recent design, having opened in 2006, and since having 6 holes modified by Swede Johan Edfors to bring it up to the standard we see today. A par 70 with just three par 5s, and measuring just 6,900 yards, this is one of the shorter venues on Tour with a mix of tree lined woodland, parkland, and marshland holes. The opening 7 holes have a lot of water, and can almost be likened to some of the holes you would associate with Sawgrass or other US “Florida Style” courses. The fairways are wide but severely undulating, while the greens are small and very well bunkered. These small greens, and the wind that picks up in this area (especially across the marshland holes) are the course’s main defences. That said, I would expect the winning score to be lower this week than last year’s 266 from Paul Waring, and the key criteria will be precision iron play, and a high number of greens in regulation.
Last Five Winners:
2018: Paul Waring - -14
2017: Renato Paratore - -11
2016: Matthew Fitzpatrick - -16
2015: Alexander Noren - -12
2014: Tongchai Jaidee - -16
The Market Leaders
A typically strong field has arrived here this week, with big names from around Europe joining the Scandinavians for whom this is an almost compulsory addition to the schedule. The scheduling coinciding with the Tour Championship has stopped the very best of World talent such as 2003 winner Scott from joining the field, but it The Hills course is still set to host a high quality event, and a very strong betting heat. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (15/2) leads the betting as you might expect with Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick (8/1) only slightly behind him in the market. Stenson missed this event last year due to scheduling difficulties, but he arrives this year in good form having achieved top 10s in 3 of his last 5 events, and well rested having not qualified for the season ending playoffs in the US. This has allowed him to spend some time at home, and he will come in to this week fit and ready to contend. At the top of the market, he seems the value. Fitzpatrick also missed out last year, but followed up his solid 20th at The Open with a 4th place at the WGC Bridgestone at TPC Southwind in Memphis the week after. He is also rested and cannot be ruled out, but the 8/1 is a few ticks too short for me in this open field.
Another Swede sits third in the market with Alexander Noren (11/1) also having his first visit to The Hills course. Noren’s form has been sketchy of late, and he is generally suited by longer venues that suit his driving and long iron play so this might not be the best venue for him to recover that form. Whilst he also can contend, he is another that I see as too thin on value. Next is in form South African Erik Van Rooyan (12/1) who went close last week before Pieters pulled away and he was only able to finish in 4th place. Van Rooyan has managed top 20s in half of his last 10 starts, and with his type of game it is easy to see him contending again this week, especially if the wind gets up to allow for his piercing ball flight to have more of an impact.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
Englishman Andrew Johnston, affectionately known to fans as “Beef” has been experiencing a slightly quieter season than would be suggested by the large crowds that seem to accompany him wherever he goes. Having enjoyed a largely unsuccessful spell on the PGA Tour last year, the return home hasn’t quite reaped the expected rewards, but there is still time this season and there are signs of a re-emergence for one of Europe’s most popular players.
Most recently the Renaissance Club and the Scottish Open were the most similar venue to this week’s, and Johston performed well there, posting a 4th placed finish behind Austrian winner Bernd Wiesberger. He did subsequently go on to miss the cut at The Open, but he is another who is rested, and can take confidence from a top 10 at this venue last year. The 4th at Renaissance demonstrates there is still a classy player in Johnston, and the course form and synergy with Scotland are enough for me to make him my headline pick with 3 points e/w at 66/1.
Other Betting Tips
Another player who put in a strong showing in Scotland was Frenchman Benjamin Hebert. He was unlucky to lose in a playoff to Wiesberger having held the lead with just three holes to play and the tall, powerful, 32 year old should be all the better for that experience. Hebert has a high ball flight which will be ideal for approaching the small greens, and is on a hot putting streak too. He made the cut at The Open the week after Renaissance, and looks to be improving all the time. He is a highly underrated player, and I expect big things from him both in Europe and in Asia over the coming weeks.
Last year Hebert put together three great rounds at Hills GC, with just the one bad one meaning that he slipped back to an eventual finishing position of 24th. He is now more battle hardened, and if in similar contention this week i expect him to push hard for the victory. I can find plenty of value in having 2 points e/w at 55/1.
Highly rated young Japanese player Masahiro Kawamura is a talented player in improving form, and I think he will really enjoy the test posed by The Hills GC this week. Kawamura is a short and tidy player who has been playing well above his level recently on courses that really do not suit his game, and arriving at a venue stretching just 6,900 yards should significantly level the playing field between him and some of the longer hitters. Most talented players from the Asian Tour usually stay there or gravitate to The US for college or PGA Tour golf, and it is in some ways unusual for a player of Kawamura’s level to be on the European Tour.
Last week’s finish of 18th place around a longer, but similarly exposed venue is the perfect preamble for this week, and with length negated in favour of precision play and course management, this could be the week that Kawamura steps up to the next level on Tour. We really are seeing a potential star in the making, and I cannot envisage prices of 100/1+ being around much longer for Masahiro who I would make less than half of that this week. Now is the time to get on board with him, and I shall be having 2 points e/w at 100/1.
Young Korean Soomin Lee has been tipped before in this column, and comes in this week on the back of a disappointing disqualification last week in the Czech Republic. Having instructed his caddie to tend to the flag, Lee putted and as he caddie did not remove the flag he was disqualified. This unfortunate event is another setback for a player with huge potential, and another Asian Tour graduate who could easily be plying his trade at the higher level of the PGA Tour if things come together for him. Lee has had impressive results elsewhere, and the 68 that he opened with last week saw him in the top 10 after the first round.
For a player of his ability, prices of 200/1 are a real risk from bookmakers. He can easily take apart any course on a given day, and is another who will benefit from the shorter and more strategic layout. I suggest a play of 1 point e/w at 200/1.
Play Book Of Dead at Bet UK
*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
If you are betting on the Scandanavian Invitation, please gamble responsibly and remember that when the fun stops, stop. All players must be 18+.