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:
As I tweeted during the final round of the Open there isn’t a golf fan on the planet who wouldn’t love to see Sergio Garcia 8/1 – with Coral – win a major, but he always seems to have a habit of making bad decisions at important times in major championships. Thankfully he always seems to do well the week after being in contention and he has finished in the top four in each of his last three visits to Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club – this includes his win in 2005 – so I am sure he will be challenging again this week.
I was surprised Jamie Donaldson 25/1 – with Ladbrokes – didn’t do that well in the Open Championship, he did make the Top 50 but I expected him to do a bit more than that over the Old Course. With a solid performance and coming back to a venue where he has had three Top 10s over the last four years, and now with the added experience of competing on the PGA Tour I expect the Welshman to be in the thick of it come Sunday afternoon.
One of my tips from last week who I was surprised to see not even make the cut after getting off to a great start was Tommy Fleetwood 22/1 – with BetVictor – his second round 76 saw him miss the cut by a shot. Before last week’s Open Championship Tommy had only been outside the Top 25 three times from ten starts, with four Top 10s in that run and I expect him to be back challenging again this week and in a tournament he has had two Top 10 finishes in the last two years.
My each-way tips:
Richie Ramsay 35/1 – with Coral – is a past champion here winning the event back in 2012, firing final rounds of 64 and 66 consecutively. Richie’s defence of the title didn’t go so well but he came back last year and made the Top 10 opening up with a round of 62, showing the lad from Edinburgh knows how to score around this track. Ramsay has already won this year taking the Trophee Hassan ll title and played steady golf at last week’s Open Championship. I think he is a good bet at these odds this week.
Another player I was surprised to see miss the cut at last week’s Open Championship was Tyrrell Hatton 55/1 – with BetFred. Tyrrell came into last week on the back of two Top 25 finishes, having also had three Top 10s finishes earlier in the season. He really did look to be coming into form but then maybe it is too early to expect someone who is in their second season on the European Tour to be challenging for major titles. The lad has all the attributes to become a great player and his final three rounds of 66, 65, 65 here last year to make the Top 5 shows he enjoys playing this course.
My outside tip:
Coral are offering two great outside tips at the moment Romain Wattel 125/1 with Coral and Alejandro Canizares 125/1 with Coral. Romain has had two Top 10s here in the last three years, finishing with a pair of 65s last year, while Alejandro has several Top 10 finishes here and has shot several 65s and a final round 64 in 2011 that saw him storm up the leaderboard. At these odds I think they are worth a quid each-way.
For a full updated list of betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com