Porsche European Open golf betting tips from Ben Coley

Check out Ben Coley's tips for the European Open
Check out Ben Coley's tips for the European Open

Golf expert Ben Coley expects the very longest hitters on the European Tour to enjoy the challenge of Green Eagle in this week's European Open.

Recommended bets

2pts e.w. Lucas Bjerregaard at 28/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Alex Levy at 40/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Ross Fisher at 66/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

1pt e.w. Renato Paratore at 66/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)

0.5pt e.w. Kristoffer Reitan at 300/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

There's a heavy PGA Tour presence at the top of the market for the Porsche European Open, and it's little wonder these proven travellers are being given so much respect ahead of the third renewal of this event to be played at the massive Green Eagle in Hamburg.

Paul Casey and Patrick Reed have both had chances to win here and arrive in form, while Matt Kuchar has enjoyed another fruitful year, but it's Xander Schauffele whose name stands out - not least because it has more than a Germanic twang.

Schauffele's great grandad, Richard, played football for Stuttgart just after the first World War, and his uncle Johann was capped at international level by Austria. His dad, meanwhile, was hoping to add to the family's sporting heritage by competing in the Olympics as a decathlete representing Germany, only for a car crash with a drunk driver to rob him of that opportunity.

After that, Stefan Schauffele decided to abandon Germany and make California home, where he met Ping Yi, overcame an almighty language barrier and, eventually, became father to a boy named Alexander. That boy has quickly established himself as a particularly tough competitor, one who prides himself on winning, and the in-form world number nine could well make the journey to his father's homeland worthwhile with the fifth title of his professional career.

It's little wonder the opening 10/1 has long gone, particularly as Schauffele has a win in China and near-misses in places like Scotland and Japan to add to the evidence that he can win anywhere on earth. Green Eagle, a big, parkland, American-style course which can play as long as 7,836 yards, is an ideal venue for one of the most complete players in the sport and he'd have been a bet at just a little bigger than the revised 13/2.

Xander Schauffele shares the lead at the Tour Championship after the first round
Xander Schauffele: The man to beat in Germany

Alas, the price has gone and we don't need to look far for a reminder that any bet in this sport is far more likely to lose than it is to win. Rory McIlroy got stung in a play-off in Switzerland by an unheralded Swede making his European Tour breakthrough on Sunday, while in this event last summer Bryson DeChambeau collapsed as Richard McEvoy - playing in something like his 50,000th event - finally won at the highest level when his birdie putt at the final hole found its target.

McEvoy also provides a warning to those, like me, who want to make this all about the bombers. He plotted his way to victory here as one of the shortest but most accurate players in the field, capping a summer in which he'd downed a world-class field to win an off-the-grid pro-am, then won on the Challenge Tour before arriving in Germany. This is a big golf course, one you'd think McEvoy would hate, but he was far from the only short hitter in the mix.

That being said, there's been rain around over the last few months and we could be in for a renewal more in line with 2017, when Jordan Smith put his power and precision to use to win a play-off after Alex Levy had gifted him that opportunity by missing a short putt for the title.

Both these aggressive types took apart the five par-fives on this difficult course, one both are suited to, but with Smith going through another lull perhaps Levy can make up for what happened then and win this title for a second time.

The Frenchman triumphed at Bad Griesbach in 2016, this time coming out best in a play-off, and that's one of several form lines which tell us he loves the very European, parkland courses the Tour visits across the country.

Levy first came onto the radar with third place in the BMW International Open at Eichenried and followed that with 12th at Gut Larchenhof, before making his second visit to Bad Griesbach a winning one with rounds of 62, 63 and 69 on a rain-softened layout.

Since then, he's been second and 13th here at Green Eagle, both times driving the ball exceptionally well, and that means the only real blemish on his German CV came with a missed cut back at Eichenried earlier this summer when badly out of form.

Gladly, his game looks to be in much better shape now. First, he showed the benefits of the post-Open break with 18th in Prague, slipping down the leaderboard after a strong start, before sticking around better to take fifth place in the Scandinavian Invitation.

Last week's missed cut in Switzerland is just no concern whatsoever, because Levy has simply never played well there. In fact, he's missed the cut in five of his seven visits, with finishes of 18th and 56th in the other two, and there may be no course on the European Tour where he's less comfortable.

Back in Germany and back under the conditions we know he loves, having also won a rain-affected Portugal Masters and overcome a long, tough course to triumph in Morocco, this proven winner can keep pounding greens and give himself enough chances to go very close.

Moving back up the market slightly and youngsters Matthias Schwab and Adri Arnaus deserve maximum respect. Schwab has the course form having contended here last year, but it's Arnaus who is hardest to leave out as he closes in on his European Tour breakthrough.

This hugely impressive Spaniard hits it long and makes mincemeat of par-fives, so Green Eagle should suit, and the only blots on the copybook since an excellent Valderrama effort in May have been at the Open and then just days after finishing runner-up in Prague. He's been contending on a regular basis and nobody would be surprised were he to win very soon.

Arnaus took Thomas Pieters the distance in the Czech Republic and both are obvious options on another beast of a layout, but preference this time is for the equally explosive Lucas Bjerregaard, who splits them in the betting.

It's been an odd year for the young Dane, with little in the way of winning opportunities but a series of excellent efforts at the very highest level, including when taking the scalp of Tiger Woods at the WGC-Match Play in Texas.

However, if there's one thing we can rely on when it comes to Bjerregaard it's that he will end the campaign strongly. He did it in 2013 with a runner-up finish to get his card, he did it in 2014 with a brace of top-fives to keep it, and it was at the back-end of 2015 that he demonstrated the sort of high-level consistency which marked him out as a player with an extremely bright future.

It was therefore not surprising that when his first European Tour win came, it was in September, nor that his second was last October, and now that he's back from an educational spell in the US we can expect this Ryder Cup hopeful to step on the gas.

Bjerregaard has looked to freshen things up with a new caddie, which shouldn't alarm us as he's one who likes to keep things moving in that department. He had Bo Martin - Shane Lowry's Open bagman - alongside him when winning in Portugal, but by the time the following autumn came around had reverted to Jonathan Smart, he of Danny Willett fame, with the pair landing the Dunhill Links.

Now it's the turn of Sean McDonagh, who started his new job in Switzerland last week, and given that Bjerregaard's form figures when Smart first took the reins read MC-6-5-3, an early boost on a suitable course can be expected.

Perhaps it'll come in Scotland or Portugal in those events we know he loves, but Green Eagle - where he contended as a 19-year-old in just his third Challenge Tour event back in 2010 - is an ideal venue for the best par-five performer in the field on recent evidence.

Bjerregaard ranked eighth for greens in regulation here last year and a similar display should see him get into contention, particularly after he played the par-fives so well in Switzerland with just three players in the field faring better. Despite his play-off defeat there a year earlier, surely Green Eagle is a more suitable place for a third trophy in as many years.

Similar comments when it comes to course suitability apply to Ross Fisher, who matched Bjerregaard's nine-under total across the 12 par-fives in Crans, and the Englishman goes in the staking plan at around the 66/1 mark.

When Levy won this event three years ago at a different venue, his play-off victim was Fisher, whose love for a long, soft, parkland course makes perfect sense given that he's consistently been among the best drivers on the circuit over the last decade.

In fact, if there's a player who is built in the mould of Fisher it's 2017 Green Eagle champion Smith, another long and straight driver of the ball, and I expect the former Ryder Cup man to take to this venue at the first time of asking.

Like Levy, Fisher's wider record in Germany is outstanding - prior to the BMW International Open this year, he'd been on a run of 15 cuts made spanning more than a decade, and as well as being runner-up in this has been second, third and fifth in other events.

At 124th in the Race To Dubai, he knows he needs to finish the season strongly to avoid calling on a career money exemption, and he'll be desperately keen to do so having been no worse than 66th in the year-long standings since his debut campaign in 2006.

That record speaks to his consistency, and there was plenty to like about a rust-shedding 35th in Switzerland, where he made 21 birdies, including nine across the par-fives, to set himself up for the coming months.

Fisher isn't always one to trust in the heat of battle despite five European Tour wins, but at a generous each-way price and on the sort of long, soft course he adores, he's a solid each-way contender.

I'm not surprised there have been nibbles for Minwoo Lee, the European Tour's leader in driving distance and par-five scoring and a player of immense talent who was fifth in Saudi Arabia earlier in the year.

Along with fellow Australian Lucas Herbert, Lee has that sort of aggressive, big-hitting game I wanted to side with here and he's better than he's shown on a couple of more fiddly tracks of late, while I was also drawn to Sam Horsfield.

He's playing some excellent golf right now and will relish the return to an expansive course, but there's a similar profile in the shape of Renato Paratore who makes more appeal at a slightly bigger price.

This talented young Italian, a European Tour winner at the age of 20 just two seasons ago, has produced one of his most consistent spells as a professional of late and should build on 12th place in Switzerland.

Paratore's blend of big-hitting and magic hands around the greens works anywhere, but the extra space afforded by Green Eagle is particularly beneficial and he was unfortunate not to be in a play-off here last summer, when McEvoy made that closing birdie despite finding trouble off the tee.

It was still an important week for Paratore, one which helped him to finish a solid 81st on the Race To Dubai, and at 102nd this time around he's in a similar spot with the end-of-season battle now commencing.

Paratore has carded 16 consecutive rounds of 72 or better since the Scottish Open, producing form figures of 28-38-20-12 in the process, and he's clearly in much better form than when producing that out-of-the-blue effort last July.

Renato Paratore
Renato Paratore

Nacho Elvira has the right game for this and could improve bundles for a return missed cut in Switzerland, where he was on many radars at a big price. The Spaniard has ranked inside the top 10 for greens hit on both starts here and remains capable of winning in this sort of company.

Others of note include Sean Crocker, Victor Dubuisson and Dean Burmester, all for similar reasons, but the final name on my list is Kristoffer Reitan at 300/1.

The first Norwegian man to qualify for the US Open, beating his friend Viktor Hovland to that landmark, Reitan is a big talent and he's also a big-hitter, something which has been in evidence throughout his rookie campaign on the European Tour.

Having turned down a place at the University of Texas, he earned his card while still an amateur with a gutsy effort at Qualifying School, and while understandably taking a while to find his feet he's not far away from keeping his playing rights at 135th in the R2D.

Reitan should have this and the Portugal Masters down as good opportunities to bag that one big cheque he needs and it's perhaps significant that his best efforts outside the Super 6 in Perth having come in Morocco and Prague, two courses which tend to favour those with a little more power in the locker.

The Czech Masters was just three weeks ago and he was in the mix all week, and over the last three months of European Tour golf the only players in this field to have played the par-fives better have been Bjerregaard and Bernd Wiesberger.

There's a chance this is similar to the event won by Pieters at the expense of Arnaus and gives a big edge to the big-hitters. If that's the case, having this youngster on side at massive prices might just pay off.

Posted at 2020 BST on 02/09/19.

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