By: Alan Payton
The 144th Open Championship is in the rear-view mirror for golfers on the European Tour as they move on to the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Course in Crans Montana, Switzerland, this weekend. And the heavy favorite at Bet365 to win is Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who yet again came away disappointed at a major tournament on Monday.
Sergio Has Good Track Record At European Masters
Garcia remains the best active player in the world yet to win a major championship. He closed Monday’s final round of the British Open in a tie for sixth at the Old Course. Sometimes Sergio is a bit short with reporters following a disappointing result, but that wasn’t case at St. Andrews. Garcia had a front-nine 32 and added another birdie at No. 10 to move to within one stroke of the lead, but then he fell apart a bit. He still had his ninth top-10 finish at The Open.
“I love it. I love this tournament. I love these crowds. I love these courses,” said Garcia, who closed with a 70 to finish at 11 under, four strokes out of the playoff won by Zach Johnson. “I’m just going to keep giving myself chances until things happen, and then hopefully I manage to win at least one of these.”
Garcia is 8.00 this week despite a nine-year absence from the tournament. But Garcia has finished in the top four in each of his past three trips to Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club. In 2005 he closed with a 68 to beat Sweden’s Peter Gustafsson by a shot. Garcia last played in the tournament in 2006 when he finished tied fourth. Wales’ Bradley Dredge was the champion that year. Garcia is looking for his first European Tour win since the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Garcia is one of four members of Europe’s victorious 2014 Ryder Cup team in attendance, with Wales’ Jamie Donaldson, France’s Victor Dubuisson and England’s Lee Westwood also entered in Switzerland. Westwood won here way back in 1999.
Can Willett Contend Again?
Bernd Wiesberger and Danny Willett are the 17.0 second-favorites. Wiesberger was tied for 68th at The Open Championship, never breaking 70 He won the stop before that, the Alstom Open de France. The Austrian finished on 13-under-par after a closing 65 to win by three strokes over James Morrison. It was Wiesberger’s first title since 2012. Willett finished tied for sixth last week at St. Andrews to tie with Justin Rose for the top finish by a Briton. Willett played the final round with Open Championship winner Zach Johnson. Willett is looking for his third European Tour win. He tied for fifth here last year.
American Patrick Reed rounds out the favorites at 19.0. An American is the defending champion. Relative unknown David Lipsky won in 2014 in a playoff thanks to getting a par 4 on the first extra hole to beat Graeme Storm of England. Lipsky got into the playoff off a final-round 65. Storm, the third-round leader, sliced his tee shot wide right and made a bogey-5 on that first extra playoff hole. The last American to win a regular European Tour event in back-to-back years was Tiger Woods in 2001-02. Lipsky is a 126.0 long shot to repeat. No player has in this tournament since Seve Ballesteros in 1977-78.
Aussie Jason Day One To Beat At PGA Tour Canadian Open
The fields in tournaments on the PGA Tour and European Tour are always rather watered-down the week after a major championship and that’s the case for this week’s PGA Tour stop, the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.
Day Short Again In Major
Five of the Top 15 in the world golf rankings are set to play and Australian Jason Day is the 9.00 favorite. How focused will Day be this week considering he had yet another near-miss at his first major championship win on Monday at The Open Championship at St. Andrews? It turned out that Day needed just one more birdie over his last 12 holes at St. Andrews to join a playoff, but he couldn’t get one. He missed the playoff, won by American Zach Johnson, by a shot. Day, who had a share of the 54-hole lead, had a 25-foot putt on the 72nd hole to get into the playoff but left it short. It was his ninth Top-10 finish all time at a major.
Day had a share of the lead late on Sunday at the Masters in 2013 until he missed out on the playoff between Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera, and he finished tied for second at the U.S. Open later that year. Day, despite battling a severe case of vertigo, held a share of the lead entering the final round of this year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay but finished tied for ninth. One positive for Day at The Open Championship was a bogey-free final two rounds, the first time Day has managed that feat at a major since the 2011 U.S. Open, where he was second to Rory McIlroy.
Furyk Looks For Third Canadian Win
The 17.0 second-favorites are Americans Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk. The latter won this tournament in 2006 and ’07 but those were both at different courses than Glen Abbey. Watson comes off a disappointing missed cut at The Open Championship after also missing the cut at the U.S. Open. Watson was tied for 21st when this tournament was last held at Glen Abbey in 2013. Kuchar was a co-runner-up that year.
The winner two years ago at this course was American Brandt Snedeker, but he’s not playing this week. Snedeker closed with 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. Last year, South African Tim Clark won at Royal Montreal for his second PGA Tour win. He birdied five of the final eight holes for a one-shot victory over Furyk. On No. 18, Clark left a 45-foot birdie putt about 6 feet short, and Furyk missed left on a 12-footer. Clark finished at 17-under 263 to tie the tournament record for total score. Clark is struggling this year and is at 81.0 to repeat.
Around 30 players who teed it up at the Open Championship are set to play here. Don’t expect a Canadian golfer to win his national championship. Pat Fletcher, born in England, was the last Canadian winner, taking the 1954 event in Vancouver. Graham DeLaet is the favored Canadian at 31.0