European Golf: Austin Austrian Ace

The European Tour hits one of it’s traditional low-key affairs this week. Not that the Austrian Lyoness Open is not a worthy affair – more┬áthe proximity in time but not in geography to next week’s U.S. Open means that almost all the European elite will be warming up in more suitable climes.

The one big exception (he is very big) is man/Alp Bernd Weisberger, who brings a long record of success in his home event, and a world ranking far ahead of the rest of this field. He is priced accordingly at around 5/1. That seems only fair – for all his obvious talents, he can still be a little hit-or-miss.

This looks ripe for an upset – either outright or in the places, and we will look to Canadian/Texan wonderkid Austin Connelly.

He grew up in Texas and counts Jordan Speith amongst his mentors. It was Speith who helped advise this amateur prodigy to bypass the traditional U.S. collegiate system and head straight for the pro ranks aged 18.

He failed in his bid for membership of the pro tour (the level below the PGA), but was generously offered a visitor slot on the European Tour.

His adventure at first looked a bit too much with a couple of poor missed cuts, but he bounced back after a spell at home by first taking a share of 31st in Sicily, and then an excellent 8th in last week’s Nordea Masters. That was a fine first taste of the top of the leaderboard, and four birdies on the back nine on Sunday spoke well for his nerve.

This course is a different test, and at such a young age he is no guarantee to repeat the form. That said, he could also be on a burgeoning confidence roll, and who is to say this isn’t the chance to catch a future star at an early stage. The bookies are happy to disregard his chances, so we will invest where others fear to tread.

Recommendation, Austin Connelly, 0.5pts each way, 125/1, 1/5th the odds 1st 7 places, Coral.

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