The history of golf at Crans-sur-Sierra where this week’s Omega European Open is to be played can be traced back to 1905. Arnold Lunn, who owned the Palace Hotel, was persuaded that the pastureland to the west of the hotel was ideal for a golf course. Two Englishmen Freemantle and Gedge were commissioned and the first nine holes were opened in 1906 to be followed by the second nine in 1908.
The golf course was abandoned during World War I but was reopened in 1921 thanks to hoteliers, Elysée Bonvin (Hotel du Golf) and Albert Bonvin (Beauséjour). In 1924 the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club was founded, with René Payot as its first President. Shortly after the opening, architect Harry Nicholson was commissioned to add improvements. A large number of greens were remodelled and additional bunkering, thus creating the overall layout at Plan-Bramois which remained unchanged until 1997.
In 1995 Severiano Ballesteros was commissioned to make it more challenging to the professionals on the European Tour and even more attractive for the many golfers that visit this resort. After two redesigns, the course opened with new greens with various contours and slopes, new tee boxes installed and obstacles added or modified.
Past winners at Crans-sur-Sierra reads like a who’s who list of major champions, Ballesteros (1977, 1978 and 1989) José Maria Olazábal (1986), Craig Stadler (1985), Nick Price (1980) Nick Faldo (1983) Ian Woosnam and Ernie Els.
My tips to Win:
I did pick Thomas Bjorn 22/1 last week because he had won at Gleneagles the year before and this week sees Thomas back at the course that saw him complete his back-to-back wins last year on the European Tour. Thomas finished well last week and his final round of 70 secured a Top 10 finish but I think he will fair better here this week.
Another tip from last week is Jamie Donaldson 25/1 but because of the delay at the Wyndham Championship he had to pull out of the Johnnie Walker, I still feel after equipping himself well in his first PGA event he will come into this tournament full of confidence.
I do feel Alexander Noren 25/1 hasn’t fulfilled his undoubted potential but he is back on a track where he won his first European Tour event and after picking up two wins last year I did expect to see the Swed kick on. Noren has five Top 10 finishes this year and another three inside the Top 25 but is still waiting for a win this term.
My each-way tips:
Another player who has done well here is the German player Marcel Siem 33/1 who finished inside the Top 15 last year, he’s also had a 2nd place finish six years ago. Marcel is starting to come back into form after his second European Tour win last month at the French Open and made the Top 20 last week at Gleneagles.
Brett Rumford 40/1 seems to be coming back into form at just the right time, a four under par final round saw the Australian secure second place at Gleneagles and will be teeing it up this week in an event he won in 2007. Brett has also had a couple of other Top 25 finishes here since his Win. On current form and on a track Brett enjoys, these seem like good odds to me.
My outside tip:
A good outside bet this week is Jaco Van Zyl 80/1. Jaco sits in forth place on the Sunshine order of merit this year and has four Top 10 finishes from six events. Van Zyl finished in tied for third place here last year and I think he will do well again this year.
For updated betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com