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:
It’s a bit hard to ignore someone who has won this event twice in the last three years and Thomas Bjorn 16/1 with BetVictor is the defending champion this week and currently sits in third place on the Race To Dubai. Thomas made the Top 5 in his home event –The Made in Denmark and the last tournament he played in, two weeks ago and I expect the Dane to be in the thick of it again come Sunday afternoon.
Another past winner and someone who enjoys playing in this event – and is one of the Senior Tours newest members –Miguel Angel Jimenez 25/1 with StanJames. Miguel has only been outside the Top 10 once since 2008 and has four Top 5 finishes in that run and I don’t think that run will come to an end this week -I know the big man would love to win a regular European Tour event just to show he still has it.
I am going to stick with Bernd Wiesberger 28/1 with StanJames as I stated last week, I think the Austrain isn’t that far from winning again and he is playing some great golf. I am sure now the disappointment of falling away at the US PGA Championship has been analysed in the cold light of day, what it did show was how far Bernd has come, being in the thick of the battle on the final day at Valhalla.
My each-way tips:
Someone who has been in great form recently is Bradley Dredge 45/1 with BetFred and after two successive runners-up finishes the Welshman had a week off last week. The break will obviously go one of two ways, he will come back refreshed and ready to take that next step and win or he will have broken a great run of form. I am banking on it being the former and expect to see the Dredge challenging again this week.
I am going to stick with Roman Wattel 55/1 with ToteSport this week. The Frenchman got off to a bad start at last week’s Open D’Italia, but has recovered well to be sitting just outside the Top 10 going into the final round tomorrow. Roman had a run of four Top 25 finishes up until the BMW International Open and I think he is going to be challenging again this week.
My outside tip:
I am writing this guide on Saturday before the final round of the Open D’Italia and David Howell 70/1 with Bet365 has just moved into the top 10 with two successive rounds of 67. David has had a bit of a love hate relationship with the Crans-Sur-Sierre GC with a Top 10 finish back in 2009, but also coming third from last in 2011. I think David may go on a little late season run and follow up with a solid Open D’Italia with another good finish here.
For updated betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com