KLM Open Golf Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
The International, Badhoevedorp, Netherlands. Par 73, 7,000 Yards
Fresh from last week’s win courtesy of Paul Casey at the Porsche European Open in Germany, we move across the border to Holland and straight into the KLM Open which is being held for the first time at The International golf club in Badhoevedorp, 30 minutes drive south west of Amsterdam. The International is not one of the more picturesque or aesthetically pleasing venues on tour. Located near Amsterdam Schiphol airport, it is a noisy suburban track designed by Ian Woosnam in 2012.
There is an almost links like feel to The International. It is open, undulating, with very few trees, and susceptible to wind as a low lying venue. At 7,000 yards and playing as a par 73 (there is the possibility the Tour will reduce one of the 5 x par 5s to a par 4), the average length is low, and scores will likely reflect this. I would expect a winning score somewhere in the region of 20 under par or better. In terms of the course’s defenses, the fairways are narrow and the rough is tough. Straight driving will be key but, on soft fairways, running out into the rough is unlikely and these players should be able to hold the majority of them. Water is in play on 10 of the 18 holes, and the greenside bunkering is deep and tough.
The putting surfaces are fast and extremely large so lag putting could be a factor, tying in with 3 putt avoidance. Overall, I expect a lot of birdie opportunities, and some low scores. A strategic course, where length will be of little benefit on the whole. There is no previous course form at The International.
Last Five Winners:
2018: Wu Ashun -16
2017: Romain Wattel -15
2016: Joost Luiten -19
2015: Thomas Pieters -19
2014: Paul Casey -14
The Market Leaders
American Patrick Reed (8/1) leads the market in Europe for a second consecutive week despite a relatively average return of 36th last time out at the European Open in Germany. Four rounds in the 70s for a one over par finish was never enough to put Reed in contention, and he will be hoping to fare far better this week. The venue might be more suitable. Reed is accurate, and has a great mid iron game, but I’m not seeing any signs to give encouragement that he will be able to turn things around so much from last week. The flat scoring doesn’t bode well for a venue where a hot putter and low scores will be key, and at this price he is easy to leave alone.
Behind Reed sits 27 year old Belgian Thomas Pieters (12/1) who recently claimed the D&D Czech Masters at a similar profile of venue and with a similar score (-19) to that which I expect will be needed to contend this week. Pieters strength lies primarily in his length, but a player of his quality is able to overcome almost any course, and he can’t be written off here with his game in such great shape. He followed up that win with two further top 20s, and is likely to be thereabouts this week. The price is probably a fair reflection of his chances and I wouldn't want to go either way on him this week.
Next in the market is Spaniard Sergio Garcia (14/1). The price for Sergio is higher than what I would have expected this week. His game is in good shape, although the struggle has been to put four good rounds together. The putter will define his week, as on this links type venue I expect the remainder of his game to be at the level of anyone else in the field. If that works then he could easily be there come Sunday, but as ever with Garcia that is an unknown. Home favourite Joost Luiten (16/1), Martin Kaymer (16/1) and English duo Matt Wallace (16/1) and Lee Westwood (16/1) make up the remainder of the front of the market. Of this group, Westwood probably tops the form table and would be my fancy as the most likely to emerge and make a challenge. Luiten seems to have home advantage written significantly into his price and is easy to avoid. Wallace is similarly out of form, and Kaymer is an enigma but probably the second best behind Westwood of the group at 16s.
Frenchman Victor Perez took last week off which was perhaps sensible at a venue that was never going to be suitable, and arrives in Holland refreshed and ready to challenge for his maiden European Tour title. Three weeks ago on a similarly links like venue at Hills Golf Club, Perez posted four rounds in the 60s on the way to a top 10 finish, and he continues to establish himself as one of the most progressive players on tour. Earlier in the season at two comparable venues in Asia where short courses are defined by tight fairways and thick rough, Perez finished 14th in Mauritius, and more notably 3rd in a strong field in Hong Kong at Fanling, another open suburban course.
Those results came at the start of a run of 7 consecutive made cuts, and Perez is once again showing that type of form having made 4 of his last 5. He is a neat and tidy player who hits the ball straight and gives himself a lot of birdie opportunities. On a new course where the market is always a little unsure on the suitability of some players, I think Perez sits almost double his true price and shall be having 2 points e/w at 66/1.
Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg is another player who I think has been missed by the market when looking at both current form and course synergies. Karlberg is in a fine run of form, posting three top 6 finishes in his last three events, including a 5th place at the D&D Czech Open behind second favourite Pieters last month. The other events were on the slightly lower grade Challenge Tour, but nonetheless impressive.
Karlberg is a very solid player who hits the ball straight, and rarely misses a cut. His only professional win came 4 years ago at the Italian Open where he posted 19 under par. In that year and 2016 he was ranked in the top 50 players on Tour, and would have been one of the main contenders entering this week in a field of this quality. Having shown recently that he is getting his game back, and arriving at such a well suited venue with his card and playing privileges on the line, Karlberg will be fired up to compete, and I make him a bet with 2 points e/w at 80/1.
Another player who arrives at The International in good form is England’s Ashley Chesters who posted an impressive 9th placed finish last week in Germany. The 30 year old from Shrewsbury is yet to post his maiden Tour victory, but he is without doubt a multiple time winner in the making, and this venue in The Netherlands should suit him nicely. Chesters was another that performed well at Fanling earlier in the season where he finished 14th; a disappointing third round of 71 spoiled his chances of really pushing into contention that week. He has a low ball flight and consistent game; features that also led to him contending at the exposed and blustery Muscat Golf Club in March where he posted another top 10 finish. Chesters has made 3 of his last 4 cuts following a 5 week layoff during the US playoffs and his game is building nicely coming into this week. I recommend 2 points e/w at 80/1.
Italian Lorenzo Gagli came so close to his 2nd Tour win a fortnight ago in the Crans Mountains, losing alongside Rory Mcilroy in the playoff to Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg having shot four rounds in the 60s. Gagli followed that up last week with a missed cut at a far shorter price, on a course completely unsuited to him, and will feel far more comfortable here in Badhoevedorp. Gagli is another who isn’t long and that performance on the shortest course on Tour is typical of what we would expect from him. Gagli is an intelligent and strategic player who also placed in the top 20 at, you guessed it, Fanling earlier this year.
Gagli has a habit of running into hot runs of form, and when he does so he can contend at the biggest of events. Last year he posted top 20s at the Italian and Sicilian Opens on courses similarly exposed and links like as he will encounter this week. He is a definite value play with 1 point e /w at 150/1.
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