The European Tour has been on a mid-season siesta whilst the big guns have been fighting for major victory in the US. The players wake up and stretch their legs in Germany at the annual Paul Lawrie Matchplay. In keeping with the nameplate, 64 journeymen pros tee it up in a battle to find the least mediocre mid-ranking non-entity.
A gruelling week might be too much for some of the older bones on display, with market leaders Richard Bland (well named for this event) and Jamie Donaldson both vulnerable to the timetable. Richard Ramsey has the outright favouritism, but he can be a bit hit or miss for this event.
We prefer two younger contenders. Spaniard Adrian Otaegui is a protege of that archetypal match-player, Jose Maria Olazabal. The youngster hits it a mile, which should be useful on a rain-drenched layout. He also comes here in a rich vein of form with four consecutive top 20 finishes. That’s 13 sub-par rounds in the last 16, and nothing worse than 74. That’s just the form this event requires.
Our second pick is the slightly more experienced Matthew Southgate. He once again found his peak form in mid-summer, with a superb runner-up finish in Ireland, bettered by an excellent 6th at the Open. He is not a links-only golfer and was top 10 at this course in the European Open last year. He has missed cuts recently as well, so is not wholly reliable, but he should have been hugely boosted by that Open effort, and will not be scared of any of this field head-to-head.
Each way terms of 1/4 top 4 are frankly laughable, so its a win only strategy.
Adrain Otaegui, 1pt win, 28/1 generally available
Matthew Southgate, 1pt win, 25/1 generally available
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