There is no PGA Tour event this week so the eyes of the golf world will be on the Omega European Masters at the beautiful Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club where Brett Rumford is the top tournament pick at odds of 41.00 with 888sport.
Rumford is not only one of the form golfers in the Omega European Masters but also one of the competitors with an outstanding record in the Swiss Alps event that is one of the favourites of professionals because of its setting.
While Rumford did not threaten to win the ISPS Handa Wales Open last week, the Australian produced four solid rounds of 72, 69, 72 and 70 respectively to end up eighth, seven shots behind impressive winner Gregory Bourdy. And the week before that, Rumford was in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles mix from start to finish, shooting four sub-70 rounds to miss the title play-off by just two strokes.
Clearly Rumford is in fine fettle and his career results at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club are superb as well. Rumford has played 10 tournaments at the Swiss venue for one win, three more top-25 finishes and no missed cuts. Rumford won the 2005 Omega European Masters, beating Phillip Archer at the first play-off hole after shooting 16 under par over 72 holes. Rumford is a winner – he has seven professional wins under his belt – and he is 2-0 in European Tour play-offs so he is a proven performer under the most intense pressure.
Jamie Donaldson is worth an Omega European Masters ticket as well, with the Welshman available at odds of 29.99 with 888sport. Donaldson would be shorter odds if he were not returning from the back injury that led, in part, to his withdrawal from the PGA Championship. But, without wishing to be unkind to Donaldson, perhaps his opening round of 80 had something to do with his exit from the final major championship of the year. Donaldson’s sore back may not have been the primary reason that he chose to pull the pin.
Donaldson has not finished lower than 23rd in his last three Omega European Masters appearances, including placing third in 2011 and ninth in 2012. Donaldson’s pre-PGA Championship form was more than decent so he deserves to be anyone’s Omega European Masters. It is not the greatest field ever assembled and Donaldson has the course form to be a player.
Richie Ramsay is the third and final golfer whose Omega European Masters title odds are sufficiently large to warrant a bet. Ramsay is trading at odds of 46.00 with 888sport again despite being the champion and arriving in Switzerland having placed 10th on his last start. Ramsay did not take to the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club course right away, missing the cut on his first two visits. But Ramsay was a respectable 34th in 2011 before running away with the 2012 edition, beating everyone by four or more shots.
With regards to appealing Omega European Masters match bets, bookmakers have paired Rumford, Donaldson and Ramsay with golfers whom one should not oppose lightly. However, there are some attractive plays featuring golfers who did not quite make the final cut in terms of winner wagers.
Bourdy was magnificent in winning the ISPS Handa Wales Open but the Frenchman’s Omega European Masters numbers are not all that good and most golfers find it difficult to contend in back-to-back tournaments. Bourdy has missed the cut in three of his five Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club cracks and not finished above 19th. Stan James has paired Bourdy with Paul Lawrie and invited punters to take their pick at odds of 1.91. Lawrie’s recent form is close to that of Bourdy and the Scot’s course form is much better. Lawrie was sixth in last year’s renewal and he was second behind Robert Karlsson in 2002. Lawrie is good match-bet material versus Bourdy.
Lawrie is the pick of the Omega European Masters match bets but also worth checking out are Anders Hansen against Francesco Molinari and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano versus Simon Dyson. Hansen is 1.91 with Stan James to beat Molinari, while Fernandez-Castano is 1.80 with Betfred to defeat Dyson. There is little to choose between Hansen and Molinari on course form but the Dane has played better than the Italian in recent weeks. The same analysis applies to the mythical encounter between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson.