BMW International Open betting preview tips from Ben Coley

Last Updated June 19 2018, 08:00Golf
Adrian Otaegui with the Belgian Knockout trophy
Adrian Otaegui with the Belgian Knockout trophy

Adrian Otaegui landed Ben Coley a 45/1 winner earlier this season and the Spaniard is backed to come good again in this week's BMW International Open.

Recommended bets

1.5pts e.w. Adrian Otaegui at 60/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)

1pt e.w. David Horsey at 100/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)

1pt e.w. Scott Hend at 100/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Lorenzo Gagli at 90/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

0.5pt e.w. Robert Karlsson at 250/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

  • For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, click here

The BMW International Open continues in its now traditional post-US Open slot, and the first question punters have to answer is whether they're with or against favourite Tommy Fleetwood at 8/1.

Sunday's sensational round of 63 saw Fleetwood push Brooks Koepka all the way at Shinnecock and he was a little unfortunate to bump into a defending champion with ice in his veins. The Englishman briefly traded as favourite as he sat in the clubhouse hoping for a mistake which would never come, but despite the disappointment of finishing second it was an enormous effort, one which confirms his elite status.

Last year, Fleetwood flew into Germany having finished a disappointing fourth at Erin Hills, in as much as he failed to live with playing partner Koepka on the final day. He still managed to dust himself down and finish sixth in this event albeit at a different course, despite suffering with fatigue on Friday and feeling that he simply didn't make anything at the weekend.

Twelve months on and he can only take positives from his performance in New York, and given that second-favourite Sergio Garcia is in dire form and third in the market, Andy Sullivan, hasn't won since 2015, this tournament is in some respects his for the taking.

The case for Fleetwood is further strengthened by the fact that the BMW International Open has been won by US Open nearly-men twice since it moved to this slot in 2007. Back then, Niclas Fasth finished in the top-five at Oakmont and took this title by two, while in 2013 Ernie Els followed a similar result at Merion by outpointing Thomas Bjorn.

As such, Fleetwood is very tempting and a healthy each-way bet with firms paying six or seven places will do for many. However, as well as the potential for some kind of hangover there are two other factors to consider: first and foremost, Fleetwood's course form (MC-33-MC) is poor and secondly, his father Pete is on the bag rather than Ian Finnis, who has played a key part in his rise.

Those question marks are significant enough to look elsewhere and Sullivan, who has played the back-nine here beautifully in the past, isn't dismissed lightly despite the fact that it's an age since he won. The Nuneaton man is clearly at the top of his game after two top-five finishes in Italy of late and bar Fleetwood, looks the man most likely to deliver.

Tommy Fleetwood and caddie Ian Finnis
Tommy Fleetwood is without caddie Ian Finnis this week

That said, Adrian Otaegui rates a better option at 50/1 and upwards as he looks for a third European Tour title in less than a year, the first having come in Germany at the Paul Lawrie Match Play last August.

Otaegui is gaining a reputation as something of a head-to-head king, having also won the Belgian Knockout three starts ago, but he's been knocking on the door in regulation events too and is more than capable in this sort of company.

Granted, his course form makes for ugly reading but three missed cuts all come with caveats. The first came when he was an out-of-form Challenge Tour player in the field on an invite, the second in his rookie year when similarly out of sorts and the third, in 2016, by a single shot after an encouraging start.

Two years on, he returns with Germany form figures of 1-5 having also hit the frame in the Porsche European Open last year, and what I particularly like is that his straight-shooting game should be ideal for a course which has seen the likes of Marcus Fraser, Fabrizio Zanotti, Darren Fichardt and Henrik Stenson either win or go close, all find fairways with remarkable consistency.

This parkland par-72 does offer a quartet of par-fives but they're all short, reachable in two for every player in the field, and length here isn't much of an advantage. Even when the course was saturated in 2016, the last time the European Tour paid Gut Larchenhof a visit, Stenson and Fichardt demonstrated that hitting the ball straight off the tee and finding greens was the formula.

Otaegui ranks third among this field for strokes-gained tee-to-green this season, 19th in total, and his long-game precision should open up plenty of opportunities on a lush golf course with similarities to those he's won on so far.

The only blot on the copybook of late came at Wentworth, days after a fairly gruelling success in Belgium, and he's since put it behind him with a solid effort in a Rolex Series event in Italy. This is a significant downgrade with only Fleetwood and Garcia boasting genuinely world-class credentials right now and Otaegui can get back into contention.

Former Ryder Cup players Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters are easy enough to make a case for having both shown up well in Italy, but Kaymer has struggled at this course for some time now and hasn't really demonstrated that he can deal with the demands of an event on home soil right on the heels of a US Open, the latest of which went very badly for him.

Kaymer did win the title in 2008 but that was at Eichenried and his record here is far less impressive, so with doubts surrounding his overall form and confidence levels not even 40/1 appears big enough.

Chris Wood is more tempting owing to an outstanding course record, which includes third in 2012 and 12th way back in 2009, but he's been unconvincing for most of the year and there's simply not enough juice in the odds to take on board the obvious risks.

Instead, at more than twice the price I'd rather take a chance on Wood's compatriot David Horsey.

While he's not among the European Tour's elite, Horsey has long been capable of getting the job done when an opportunity arises and four victories at this level, including his first in this event some eight years ago, stack up well in a weak field.

It's fair to say that 2018 hasn't seen him seriously threaten to add to that tally, but seventh place in the Shot Clock Masters represented a big step in the right direction and it's one he could build on, having been seventh at Gut Larchenhof in 2016.

Horsey is accurate off the tee, a good starting point here, and it's also encouraging that he has won at another Jack Nicklaus-designed course, having picked up the 2014 Russian Open title at Tseleevo.

Returning to the event which saw him get off the mark is a boost for a player who was third on his very first start in Germany and this golf course gives him an opportunity to build on his performance over the border in Austria last time.

Eddie Pepperell struck the ball well in Italy and has bits and has bits and pieces of course form, comments which also apply to Matteo Manassero, while Lucas Bjerregaard will be fancied by many to get back on the horse after his hot sequence came to an end last time, but it's another big-hitter next in the shape of Scott Hend.

Despite having enormous power at his disposal, this entertaining Australian is no one-dimensional slugger as he confirmed with victory in Hong Kong four years ago, and what draws me to him here is in fact a pair of play-off defeats at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.

Gut Larchenhof doesn't look particularly similar and it's certainly less scenic, but leaderboards across the two venues often correlate and since winning here, Fabrizio Zanotti has gone on to finish on the podium at Crans, while Fichardt was sixth there last year.

Hend also happens to have found form lately, finishing 14th in Italy where he was right in the mix heading into the final round before sixth place in Thailand a fortnight ago when unable to get anything going on Sunday.

His scoring has improved courtesy of strong iron play, which suggests he can keep on moving forward, and a missed cut in 2016 here can be forgiven as it came days after this emotional character won on the Asian Tour.

Hend is better judged on his fifth place in the 2015 European Open and with a scoring average of 67.6 over his last couple of starts, this multiple winner is in the sort of form which makes him appear a big threat - especially given three-figure prices.

Oliver Fisher has rounds of 65 and 66 to his name at the course and played well in Italy last time - he's one to consider for the first-round lead - but the last of my strongest outright selections is Lorenzo Gagli.

The Italian just about started favourite last time and, given that this doesn't look the deepest event in terms of tangible recent form, he's got to be worth another chance having finished a respectable 23rd in Austria.

Granted, he's done little in Germany and nothing at this course, but Gagli has taken his game to new heights this year and overcame an accuracy-based challenge to win in Kenya in the spring.

Since then, he's been relentlessly finding fairways on the European Tour and form such as his 14th place on home soil two starts back has to make him an each-way player.

Finally, Robert Karlsson's outstanding record in Germany is enough for a very speculative wager at 250/1.

The tall Swede has struggled for a while now but popped up out of nowhere for third at last year's British Masters and his recent play, which does include 15th in Belgium, has not been disastrous.

Almost two years ago, he found something for a return to Germany with third place in the European Open and all told it's three wins, two seconds and a whole host of other big performances since he made his Deutschland debut over two decades ago.

One of those wins came here at Gut Larchenhof in 2008 and he was second at this course in 1998. It's not out of the question that he could produce something similar with even his recent form at the track - 22nd in 2014, 28th in 2016 - offering some hope.

Posted at 2055 BST on 18/06/18.

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