The European Masters returns to the schedule after a six year hiatus and Porsche have taken over the reigns as the sponsor. The prestigious event is back with a bang too as the Golf Resort Bad Griesbach and the Beckenbauer course play host In Bavaria. The Hartl Resort Bad Griesbach is home to the largest golf and spa resort in Europe and the Beckenbauer track will be in pristine condition for the tournament.
The resort has hosted the Aegean Airlines Challenge from 2013 - 2015 on the Challenge Tour and the Beckenbaur course was the track in question. Resort CEO Volker Schwartz had this to say: “For us the Challenge Tour event has been a big success because once a year European golf is coming to Bad Griesbach and Bavaria, and we can show off the facilities of our resort,” “It’s a small event but from the organisation and from the playing side it’s almost a European Tour event so we’ve learned a lot ahead of our big tournament in September. All of the best golfers in Europe will come to Bad Griesbach so that is very big for us."
We're expecting a top class tournament and great set up at a magnificent golfing complex and as such - along with the prize fund - a strong lineup has assembled. Bernd Wiesberger - 17.00 - is a rising star in the golfing world and comes in as favourite along with South African Charl Schwartzel - 19.00. Marquee name Graeme McDowell - 29.00 - returns to Europe to tee it up while Hunter Mahan - 21.00 - and Morgan Hoffmann - 67.00 - travel over from the States. Max Kieffer - 34.00 - will spearhead the home challenge.
The course - Bad Griesbach Resort (Beckenbauer Course)
The Beckenbauer course was reduced to a par 71 for the Challenge Tour event a few months back due to safety concerns and the 2nd played as a par 3. The course is down as a par 71 playing 7,188 yards from the tips. We will see a mix of parkland and exposed terrain with numerous water hazards featuring throughout. The aggregate winning total for the three Challenge Tour instalments is -47 and we can expect to see birdies with -20 being threatened if not eclipsed. Four guys in the top 5 of the Aegean Airlines 2015 all hit a round of 63 during the event. Greens ran at only 10.3 on the stimp that week. Twisty fairways are of varied widths and flat in most parts. Surfaces look true and par breakers will be the brief.
Three from the pack
Byeong Hun An - 29.00 or 6.50 - made an appearance at the Hartl Resort back in 2013 and carded all four rounds under par that week and finished in 12th position. 'Benny' flew in yesterday from Korea where he pipped compatriot and best friend Sul Yeung Noh to the Shinhan Donghae Open on the Korean Tour. He says he's hitting the ball great, and he averages over 300 yards with an accuracy of 59.15% and a GIR clip of 72.61%. He will have an advantage over the main contenders having played here before.
“I won twice here in a tournament held over two rounds, one on the Mercedes Course and one here on the Beckenbauer. I haven’t played it under these conditions, so I can’t be sure what it will play like, but from what I’ve heard it is alright.” were the words of home man Florian Fritsch - 126.0 or 26.00 - regarding the Bavarian State PGA Championships. Fritsch grew up just 2 hours away from the resort and he has been simmering with 4 top 30s in his last five, culminating with a round of 65 in Italy last Sunday. Fritsch was T7 back in Cran. The German was 11th here at the Aegean Airlines in 2014.
Alex Levy - 61.00 or 13.00 - is another aggressive birdie maker that I always like at resort courses. Alex opened 70-70-70 last week in Italy at a track I thought may be a little too tight for the Frenchman but he seemed to find something after a short spell out of form. Levy blitzed the field last year at the Oceanico resort and loves this type of test. He fires at pins and makes birdies in bunches when the putter is on and I fancy him to get back to form this week.
Keep an eye this week on Andrew Johnston - 176.0 or 36.00 - who went 66-68-65-70 at the KLM Open the other week for a top 25 finish. He seems to be getting relaxed on the main tour now and went low often last year on the CT. "Beef" was 7th in driving accuracy, 17th in driving distance and an eye catching 2nd in Greens in regulation in Holland. He owns progressive 28-6 form at the Bad Griesbach Resort in 2013-14. One to watch in the subsidiary markets.