It's a new venue on the European Tour and it's the Lakes course at PGA Sweden National that lies in wait for some of Europe's elite golfers. This includes home superstars such as Peter Hanson (41.00), who inaugurated the course back in 2010, and honorary member Henrik Stenson (7.50) who is giving chase to Adam Scott for the title of world number one golfer.
There's a newcomer on the scene though on these shores and Jonas Blixt - 21.00 - is certainly one to watch out for this week on the back of some recent top form. Swedish golf may be in good shape but the game is evolving strongly elsewhere in countries such as France and Germany in particular, and I fancy two guys from the latter region to go well this week.
The course - PGA Sweden National (Lakes Course)
A Kyle Phillips design (the man behind Kingsbarns), the Lakes at PGA Sweden National is a links style, exposed track with wide undulating fairways, though lined by thick fescues. Greens are small and slopey, protected by some penal bunkering, and expected to run around 11 on the stimp. Water is in play on four holes and wind is likely to be a factor this week.
Three from the pack
Stephen Gallacher is a links specialist who has really moved up a level over the past two years and signs are there he's just about to explode into top form again. Already a winner this year and now a three-time winner in all on the main Tour, the Scot closed out with a weekend 68-66 for a top five at Wentworth. This was after some noteworthy exploits Stateside with a T6 at Doral, followed by a T34 at The Masters where he bounced back from a third round 81. Gallacher's putting stats have dramatically improved this year and he could challenge the market leaders at 33.00 or 7.50.
Marcel Siem was my big fancy here from the afore-mentioned potential German assault but I've just heard he's withdrawn after qualifying for the US Open. It may be worth looking instead to either of two links specialists in Simon Dyson - 56.00 - or Paul Lawrie - 67.00. Both look nice prices but are just re-finding form after off field problems. Dyson hit a top five at Wentworth while Lawrie's form after injury reads 15-21 and he tweeted that he's just about there form wise.
Max Kieffer at 126.00 or 23.00 the place is the other German I have in mind. An excellent all round performance saw him card a top five at PGA Catalunya. Kieffer missed the cut at Wentworth but rebounded with a -5 total to qualify for Pinehurst no. 2. The Germans have been strong of late with Langer dominating on the Seniors tour and Kaymer's return to form and the winners enclosure at the Players. Young Moritz Lampert secured a maiden Challenge Tour win then last week and it may be Kieffer's turn at a big price.
One of the up and coming French stars, Julien Quesne (81.00), is on the radar here. His form has tailed off slightly in the last week but he had some progressive showings in the previous month and he has good vibes from playing in this area on the Challenge Tour a few years back where he recorded a top five finish.