European Tour Golf Betting: Former Champ Jimenez To Challenge In The Alps

It's time to unwind on the European Tour with Ryder Cup selections now done and dusted, and what better place than Crans-Sur-Sierre in the Swiss Alps - the favourite destination bar none of many a touring pro. Old timer Miguel Angel Jimenez - 23.00 - is a notable fan and the former champion - who has declared in the past that he's "in love with the place" - is always high up in the betting here at altitude. 

Jamie Donaldson - 15.00 - just edges favouritism over two-time Omega European Masters winner Thomas Bjorn - 17.00 - and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson - 17.00 -  all of whom will be representing Europe and teeing it up at Gleneagles.


The course - Crans-Sur-Sierre

A short and tight tree-lined track now playing 6,850 yards in length to a par of just 70 in the midst of ongoing renovations since 2012, distance and spin control at altitude will be the focus of the tour pros this week. Balls will fly that bit further through elevation changes up in the Alps, and approach shots into small 'upturned saucer - like' targets will be key. 

The track now comprises five difficult par threes and three drive-able par 4s (albeit no. 5 has been lengthened) and just three par fives, with hole no. 14 playing as a four-shotter this year. Additional water hazards on the back nine along with subtle changes to fairways and bunkering will stiffen the test and as always, scrambling around the small, hard-to-hold surfaces will be vital. Crans Montana has seen a wet summer though and conditions may be a little softer than usual. Scoring is usually low with plenty of eagle and birdie opportunities to be had.


Three from the pack

Mikko Ilonen - 36.00 or 8.00 - is a player with some sneaky form at Crans - Sur - Sierre. In 2010 he opened with a 65 and he really looked like he had the measure of the track en route to his 2nd top 10 finish here. Mikko tends to excel on courses requiring approach shot accuracy and scrambling around tricky greens - another example being at the Trophee Hassan in Morocco. Winner of the Irish Open a few months back, the last appearance for the Finn was a sneaky 7th at the PGA Championship. Mikko has the ability to dominate the short par 4s and 5s around Crans.

Former winner (2012) Richie Ramsay was back from a recent injury lay off with a vengeance last week, carding a top four finish in Italy and I can't leave him out around the type of track he excels on. As mentioned, Richie is a previous winner here and with standout performances around short fiddly tracks like Valderrama and in Hong Kong, Ramsay looks a decent price at 41.00 or 9.00 this week.

Matteo Manassero has a real affinity with the Crans course. The youngster claimed that performances here "kick-started his career" after carding a third place finish in 2010 and he's landed inside the top 35 on all five of his appearances on the Mountain. The tight tree-lined track with tricky green complexes suits the Italian's accurate and top scrambling game down to the ground. Matteo posted a top five in a birdie fest at the Scottish Open and followed with a top 20 at the Open Championship. He looked to be simmering last week in Italy and with the pressure off and in a place he has fond memories of, Manassero looks a good bet at 56.00 or 12.00 the place


Sleeper watch

Keep an eye on Darren Fichardt - 101.00 - who was in 2nd gear in Italy and closed 67-67 in Cran in 2012 but the column sleeper slot goes to Brett Rumford at 151.00 or 26.00 the place - five times his SP here last year. After a career year in 2013 the 2007 Crans champion hasn't got going yet but a return to a track where he's hit numerous low rounds since his victory -  including an opening 62 in 09 and a closing 64 in 2010 - may just ignite the Aussie, at a price. The short game specialist relishes the test on and around the small tricky greens of the Crans Montana, and having played here every year since 2002, he knows the course better than most.