The KLM Open of the European Tour takes place at The Dutch near Gorinchem for the third time and Romain Wattel returns to defend his title after his shock victory last year. It was the Frenchman’s only top 10 finish of 2017. He has managed only one this year when he was fifth at the recent Porsche European Open. Colin Montgomerie designed the par 71, 6,981-yard Stadium Course. It makes maximum use of the streams that criss-cross the plot, bringing water into play on almost every hole.
Once the players have avoided the water hazards, they will need to get to grips with the contoured greens. It provides a further test of their positional play. Joost Luiten won the first edition to be staged here in 2016. While other recent winners of this event include Thomas Pieters, Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer. England’s Simon Dyson won three times between 2006 and 2011.
The KLM Open Favourites
Lee Westwood shared third place here last year and after finishing second in Denmark last time out he leads the betting alongside Eddie Pepperell, with both men available at best odds of 20/1* with Betfred. Matt Wallace, who picked up his third winner’s cheque of the year in Denmark, is at 22/1* with Betfred. Chris Wood can be backed at 28/1*, again with the same firm. Andy Sullivan is a 33/1* chance with Ladbrokes, while a wide variety of firms are offering Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Ryan Fox at the same price. Defending champion Wattel is a 75/1* chance with Bet365.
The KLM Open Tips
Fox hasn’t missed a cut since the Open de Espana back in April. Since then he has bagged three top 10 finishes and played well at both The Open and the PGA Championship. The world number 79 from New Zealand was runner-up at the Irish Open and sixth at the Scottish Open in the last few months and is a credible contender for this title in what is not the strongest of fields. Ladbrokes, Coral and BetVictor are all offering 33/1*.
Joakim Lagergren earned his first European Tour title at the Sicilian Open in May and his previous results at The Dutch mark him out as a strong candidate at a generous each-way price. The 26-year-old Swede tied for 20th place here in 2016 and returned last September to claim a share of ninth place. He’s shown a liking for this course and deserves to be shorter than Betvictor’s quote of 66/1*.
Hideto Tanihara doesn’t enjoy the same profile in Europe as he does in his native Japan. But that could change if he continues his current run of form. The 39-year-old has won 14 times on the Japanese Tour. He briefly entered the world’s top 50 when he reached the semi-finals of the World Match Play last year. He was sixth in Switzerland at the weekend, his fourth top 10 finish on the European Tour in 2018. This includes a tie for fifth at the European Open at the end of July. He’s available at 66/1* across the board.
*(all odds subject to change)