Austrian Open 2020 European Tour - Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Tapio Pulkkanen can ride the wave of European Tour Finnish success on a course where he made a swift start in his only previous start – he’s a tasty +4000.
- Joel Stalter has good stats from his only previous course start, throw in a clue from a course in the Netherlands and he’s a big top 20 price at +900.
- Gregory Bourdy has made four top 20s in his five visits to this week’s track and some good golf on home soil makes him worth following at +300.
|Where||Diamond CC, Vienna, Austria|
|When||Thursday, 9 July – Sunday, 12 July|
The European Tour returns to action with two events in Austria ahead of a six week UK Swing – and the first of those is this week’s Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club. Following a four-month break in the action there will be plenty of variables at play, but the course itself is not one of them.
The track has been a regular stop on the European Tour over the last decade and has witnessed plenty of quality winners. It has also become the unlikely “home” event for Vienna-based cult hero Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Austrian Open 2020 Odds
|Miguel Angel Jimenez||+3300|
Odds taken from DraftKings
Dutchman Joost Luiten heads the market and absolutely no-one would doubt why. The six-time European Tour winner has never finished outside the top seven in five visits to the course and he lifted the trophy in 2013.
Whilst his favoritism is without question, the long lay off adds plenty of doubt into the equation, as does the worry that, however fine a player he is, his price of +600 is very tight, allowing little margin for error.
Similar uncertainty arises for those who admire the chances of Thomas Detry. On talent and weight of high-quality finishes at the European Tour level, he’s clearly ahead of the field, but it’s also a fact that +800 is a short price for a performer looking for his first win in his 92nd start.
Spain’s Adri Arnaus completes the top three at +1400 and he is looking to lift the first trophy after finishing the second three times in 2019.
Tapio Can Find the Finnish
At the start of the 21st century the presence of Mikko Ilonen in European Tour fields was still something of a surprise, Finland having, until then, little in the way of heritage in the game. But his successful European career proved inspirational to his countrymen and they have flourished in recent years. Indeed, Mikko Korhonen was the last man to win on this week’s course in 2018, Sami Valimaki was a first-time winner in the Oman Open earlier this year and Kalle Samooja very nearly joined him in the Qatar Masters.
The forgotten man is Tapio Pulkkanen, the big-hitting winner of the 2017 Challenge Tour rankings, who kicked off his 2020 campaign by leading the South African Open at the halfway stage before losing form.
Lockdown, for Pulkkanen, came at the right time, giving him the opportunity to right the ship and hopefully emerge more like the golfer who had impressed in his Rookie and Sophomore years. One example of his promise actually came when Korhonen won on this course in 2018 – he carded a first-round 67 that had him tied second on Thursday evening before he eventually finished T38th.
When Korhonen won again at Genzon GC in the China Open last year Pulkkanen was once more in the hunt, this time maintaining his challenge all week until a late push for the win saw him instead lose shots and collect T14th. His record when competing after a lay off is decent, too. He opened his 2017 Challenge Tour campaign with a near-miss second and has twice emerged from a Christmas break to contend in South Africa on the main tour.
At +4000 each way with Bet365 we’re getting juicier odds than those at the head of the market and there is potential for a decent return on the place too.
Go Dutch on Stalter
Winners at Diamond CC also have exceptional records at two other European Tour venues. The first is Genzon in China, where two Diamond winners have doubled up and another two collected top fives – with his close chase of Korhonen there, first pick Pulkannen ticks that particular box.
The second track is The Dutch, one-time host of the KLM Open, where yet again two Diamond champions have claimed success and another two have finished second.
That draws the eye toward Frenchman Joel Stalter who turned professional with at least one highly lucrative contract, but who has failed to live up to the lofty expectations. However, his European Tour best performance was when he finished third at The Dutch in 2017, a week when he led the field through 36 holes.
He also impressed, albeit briefly, on his only start at this week’s course, opening with a lap of 68 in 2017 that had him tied fifth on the leaderboard. He may have slipped back to T34th by Sunday evening, but he ranked second in the field for Greens in Regulation so the layout appears to have suited his eye.
The clincher is his price of +900 for a top 20. In all he has six top 20s in 39 European Tour starts so that price, factored in with the suggestion that the course suits him better than most, is well worth taking.
Diamond Is Bourdy’s Best Friend
Final selection is another Frenchman, one whose career record makes for an intriguing battle between course and current form this week. In his favor is a superb logbook on the track that reads: 18-8-6-6-MC.
Moreover, in 2015 he led the field through the first 54 holes and in 2016 he was tied for the halfway lead.
The flipside is his form. The four-time European Tour winner hasn’t made a top-five since late 2017 and a top 20 since the beginning of last year. With nothing more to go on it would be easy to pass on that clear affinity for the test that faces him in Vienna. But a couple of weeks ago he showed some decent form in a French event which possessed plenty of quality.
He opened with rounds of 68-67 and, whilst he stalled in the final round with a 73 for T11th, that boost to the confidence, the good course vibes and the fact that the field should hold no fears makes him worth following for a top 20.
In the outright market, take Tapio Pulkkanen at +4000. Joel Stalter is worth a bet at +900 to make the top 20 at DraftKings Sportsbook while the same firm’s +300 in the same for Gregory Bourdy is a solid proposition.
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics.