THE fourth renewal of the Czech Masters returns to the 7467 yards, par 72, Albatross Course, near Prague.
It opened in 2010 and has been the host course since. It’s a long track with average fairways and bentgrass greens which usually run around 12 on the stimpmeter. Driving distance and putting average stats are worth looking at.
This week is the start of the race for automatic qualification to the Ryder Cup team so with a weak field now is the time for some of guys to start accumulating their points.
I expect to see a lot of Englishman Jordan Smith over the next year at the top end of the leaderboard. He was the Challenge Tour rankings winner last year and came storming out of the blocks this year, finishing third at the BMW SA Open in only his third event on Tour.
He already has claimed his first European Tour win this season, beating my tip Alexander Levy in a play-off for the Porsche European Open at the end of July. The 24-year-old also shared ninth place with Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Chris Stroud in the US PGA. Not bad for your first start in a Major. Driving Distance: 298.60 yards (56th), Average Putts Per Round: 29.68 (131st).
I was only going to pick one selection here this week but I have to give a mention to Callum Shinkwin. The 24-year-old set the heather alight at Dundonald in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July.
He only needed a par at the last to win but instead of laying up went for it with his second shot to the par five and pulled his approach. Playing the same hole in the play-off his second shot landed in roughly the same area with the same bogey result and Rafa Cabrera Bello walked away with the win.
Mr Fixit and Desmond had walked round with the Englishman on day two and were impressed enough that Desmond backed him at silly odds. Don’t think Desmond has got over it yet even if Callum is attached to his old golf club. I think a small wager might be fruitful.
Driving Distance: 301.8 yards (31st) Average Putts Per Round: 29.6 (110th)
- 1.5pts ew Jordan Smith (Ladbrokes, 14-1)
- 1pt ew Callum Shinkwin (Coral, 50-1)