Christofer Blomstrand – 1 point each-way @ 80-1
Mark F Haastrup – 1 point each-way @ 40-1
Oliver Lindell – 0.50 points each-way @ 125-1
**all Bet365, other firms yet to price
An event in Denmark is the sign of a well-contested true test of golf but with two previously contrasting tournaments, it is hard to know what we will get this week at Royal Oak.
In 2015, Max Orrin defied the ‘hardest conditions I’ve ever played golf in’ to win in 1-over-par at the Royal Golf Club (oh yes, that is what I want in a golf event) but normal service was resumed with one of Bernd Ritthammer’s three victories last season, winning at Aalborg in 12-under.
Designed to USGA standards, Royal Oak has a handful of simple-looking par-4s as well as a couple of reachable par-5s and it is hoped that local lad Martin Ovesen’s request to grow the rough makes this a tad more difficult than first appears. Given the ‘perfect greens’ and perhaps some wind, I find it a shame we won’t see it play like a tough Himmerland but, to be honest, we don’t really know.
Recent events have seen home players flourish. Joel Girrbach sauntered home in Switzerland whilst last week, Julien Guerrier, was inspired by the local crowd to stay on best of a weakening field in Saint Omer.
In the same vein, I am have to take Mark Flindt Haastrup as a bet. Okay, I really wanted 50-1 minimum which we may get when other firms price the event, but it’s hard to lave him out given the pre-season bet.
I backed the experienced Dane on the basis that a six-week run looked right up his street. From Switzerland (we were on at 250-1) through the lowlands, Europe and Denmark, this multiple winner on the Nordic tour looked sure to pick up points. He hasn’t pulled up any tress but finishes of 14/3/28 suggest that notion was correct and it was just an unknown anomaly that caused us to miss out on that placing in Belgium. He played very well last week at a tricky venue, always there but never close enough to be competitive but surely here he will flourish. The prices are getting shorter and this may be the final attempt but with such a great record around Scandinavia and in rude form, he looks sure to do at least as well as the 18th in last seasons Made In Denmark at a much higher level. It is doubtful he can land anything from that Road To Oman bet, but it may be fun watching him should he go close this week.
Haastrup would have been the nap at a bigger price, but that dubious honour definitely now falls to Christofer Blomstrand at a large looking 80-1.
The 25-year-old is basically self-taught and made interesting decisions throughout his short pro career. Winner on his debut at the MENA tour, he decided to try and qualify for the Sunshine Tour, eventually winning the Zambia Sugar Open with a flying final round 63. Previously, he had multiple placings on the Nordic Golf League including a victory in the 2015 Race To Himmerland, where he again posted the best score of the final day proving his talent round that tricky course.
Recent form includes 16th in the Czech Challenge, whilst that top-15 in Nordea caught the eye enough to be backing him in Belgium. Unfortunately he withdrew before the event and I have not been able to find any news on the reason. However, presuming all is okay and I was prepared to take 50-1 a week or so ago, I am very happy with his price this week.
It’s been tough to narrow it down to just a few bets. Price aside, Chase Koepka has to be seriously fancied given he will be comfortable playing the design of Royal Oak, but also clearly inspired by brother Brooks’ victory at the US Open, not forgetting he made his name here on the Challenge Tour.
I also looked hard at JB Hansen, who is so frustrating but has the game to defy circa 70-1 odds. It’s just that he does what he does, that 63/78 opening in Belgium being typical of his game. Morton O Madsen is another to annoy those who believed he would be much better than this after a promising 2014/2015 but he has doen nothing but a small flicker lately. I’d be laying Sihwan Kim once again if possible, a non-winner and flatterer, whilst Julian Suri is almost certain to win his third event of the season at some point, but 10-1?
I wanted slightly more for Oscar Lengden, in terrific form, so the third bet goes to Oliver Lindell, 18-year-old Finn, who needs to be caught at three-figure prices before that’s left well behind.
A multi-decorated youngster and junior, he proved too good for the Finnish leagues when winning on his pro debut, and impressed when running up to Haastrup on the Nordic League rankings last season whilst being awarded Tour Player and Rookie of the year. Twice winner, twice runner-up , and multiple placings led him to the Challenge Tour and whilst he hasn’t done anything special as yet, these are early days and,again, he is a player who should really find his form in this region.
Keen, mentally tough and with a desire to be on the European tour within three years, this may be the place to launch a top-class career. Nab him whilst you can!