After a break of 4 years, the DP World Tour returns to Belgium for the Soudal Open, which is formally a return to the schedule of the Belgian Open.
First performed in 1910 and received by Frenchman, Arnaud Massy, the Belgian Open has been staged solely intermittently since.
Lee Westwood received two editions in 1998 and 2000 nevertheless it dropped off the DP World Tour schedule after his second win earlier than returning 18 years later in a unique format.
The Belgian Knockout – a match play/stroke play hybrid match – was staged solely twice nevertheless it was staged at this 12 months’s venue – Rinkven International.
Spain’s Adrian Otaegui beat Benjamin Herbert within the 2018 closing and Guido Migliozzi comfortably disposed of Darius van Driel within the 2019 closing.
Rinkven International Golf Club, Antwerp.
Par 71, 6,924 yards
Stroke Index in 2018 – 71.9
Rinkven has been in existence for the reason that early Eighties. Originally designed by Belgian golfer and coach, Paul Rolin, the venue has undergone a collection of adjustments and it is expanded to incorporate two 18 gap programs – the North and the South. This week’s course is a composite of the 2.
According to the occasion’s web site again in 2019, the venue is ready in “a wonderfully peaceful area of natural “Kempense” fenland just 15 km outside the city of Antwerp”. The web site goes on to explain the course used as a “mixture of woodland and parkland holes with water coming in play on several holes”.
Rinkven was described as an uncovered, flat, parkland course with poa annua tees, fairways and greens with a par of 72 and a extremely brief yardage of simply 6,622 when it was used to stage the now defunct Telenet Trophy (received by Lee Slattery by 4 in -21) on the Challenge Tour 12 years in the past nevertheless it measured simply shy of 6,700 yards with a par of 71 for the 2 knockout renewals and the greens had been described as bentgrass slightly than poa.
For extra on the venue, please see Andy Swales piece right here.
Live on Sky Sports all 4 days. Starting at 12:00 on Thursday.
What Will it Take to Win the Soudal Open?
We’re up in opposition to it this week with so little to go on. Slattery’s win was a very long time in the past and when the course was final used the format was funky however accuracy was the important thing to success, slightly than energy.
The 2019 winner, Guido Migliozzi, ranked second for Greens In Regulation and the runner-up in 2018, Benjamin Hebert, ranked first for that stat.
None of the eight gamers to achieve the semi-finals in every of the 2 Belgium Knockouts hit it far off the tee and correct sorts thrived.
Is There an Angle In?
As Matt Cooper highlights as he makes a case for the current Kenya Open winner, Ashun Wu right here, that is monitor the place gamers which have prospered on tight layouts have thrived.
Wu is a logical decide given the person he overhauled on Sunday in Kenya, Ewan Ferguson, was a overwhelmed semi-finalist when Migliozzi received right here in 2019 And Migliozzi endorses type in Kenya too.
The Italian received his Kenya Open at Karen, whereas Wu received his at Muthaiga however each programs are brief, tight, tree-lined layouts.
Last week’s venue, the Belfry, and Valderrama, may additionally correlate properly with this venue however the occasion that saved cropping up once I was digging round was the Austrian Open, although the host course, the Jeremy Pern designed Diamond Course, is not a decent tree-lined venue.
The 2018 winner, Otaegui, completed second on the Diamond Course in 2016 (to Ashun Wu), the 2019 runner-up, Darius van Driel, completed fourth in Austria a 12 months later, the 2018 runner-up, Benjamin Hebert, was sixth in Austria ten years in the past and the 2010 winner right here, Lee Slattery, completed fourth in Austria in 2014 and ninth the 12 months earlier than.
That’s fairly a correlation given the calibre of these gamers and how seldomly all of them place.
Assuming it is the identical format as utilized in 2018 and 2019, the beginning is simple and the par 5 fifth is a straightforward gap (averaged 4.46 in 2019) however there’s a troublesome stretch after that with holes six, seven, eight, 9 and ten rating because the fourth, fifth, eleventh, third and first when it comes to toughness three years in the past.
With so many unknowns this week, one technique to play the occasion is to attend till Sunday and to put anybody that goes odds-on.
Obviously, there’s an opportunity that whoever goes odds-on simply kicks on and wins and it will show a expensive train however, as highlighted in yesterday’s De-brief, we have seen three gamers commerce at lengthy odds-on in every of the final two occasions and it is typically a superb technique to undertake on this Tour.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters is enjoying right here for a 3rd time however he appears opposable. He missed the lower right here on the Challenge Tour in 2010, bought knocked out early within the 2018 Belgian Knockout, and he missed the lower once more a 12 months later.
Thomas is enjoying within the US PGA Championship subsequent week in Oklahoma so it is a probability to search out his recreation forward of the 12 months’s second main however with type figures studying 12-24-MC-32-MC-26-MC since he received in Abu Dhabi in January, I’m glad to depart him out.
Bernd Wiesberger makes extra attraction given he shot 64 in spherical two in 2019 to make the knock section, the place he ultimately misplaced within the quarter-finals however he wants to enhance his placing significantly to contend.
He’s put up destructive strokes gained figures in each occasion this 12 months to this point and he is ranked 77th, 78th, 71st, 72nd and 66th for Strokes gained Putting on the final 5 events he is made the lower.
I’ve checked out type in Kenya and Austria and I’m going with two modest wagers earlier than the off. And I’ll have another for the Find Me a 100 Winner column later right this moment or tomorrow.
I’m following Matt in with Ashun Wu, who’s a juicy value at 80.079/1 on the alternate and I’ve backed final week’s runner-up, Sebastian Soderberg.
Soderberg may very simply endure from a little bit of psychological let-down after final week’s disappointment, however he received the 2016 Kenya Open at Karen Country Club and he completed tied for eleventh after the stroke play aspect of the 2019 Belgian Knockout, taking pictures rounds of 67 and 69 when badly off form on the time.
*You can observe me on Twitter @SteveThePunter