This week’s Nordea Masters has moved to the Kyle Phillips designed PGA Sweden National just outside Malmö.
The resort took over ten years of planning and construction before the PGA National Links course opened for play in the summer of 2009.
Built on a site of nearly 700 acres in what has now become Kyle Phillips signature links style design based on a traditional Scottish links – and all complete with fine fescue greens. The second course at the PGA followed in 2010, which was a more parkland layout and known as the Lakes course.
The course was designed for weeks like this with tournament golf very much in mind, and the Links measures nearly 7,500 yards from the back tees.
Only one of the four short holes – the 5th hole measures less than 200 yards and at 120-yards from the back tees, has already been compared with Troon’s famous “Postage Stamp” hole.
Unfortunately the European Tour has decided the tournament should be played over the Lakes course, which has a uniquely Scandinavian feel to the course.
Located slightly more inland and again designed by Kyle Phillips - as the name of the course hints at, water is a major feature on this track. Several large lakes separate the holes making it a scenic course, but strategy is key here, and with large bunkering and water any wayward tee or approach shots will be punished.
Due to the late withdrawal of Marcel Siem who qualified for the US Open Championship on Monday, my replacement each-way tip will be Shane Lowry 33/1. Shane was last week’s runner-up at the BMW PGA Championship. The Irishman also qualified for the US Open Championship at Walton Heath on Monday, but has decided to stay and compete in Sweden this week before heading over to the States. I think this could turn out to be a wise decision and I wouldn’t be surprised if he teed it up at Pinehurst’s No2 course as the Nordia Master.
My tips to win:
After a solid Top 10 showing at Wentworth which helped him move back up the golf world rankings into second place Henrik Stenson 13/2 is rightly made favourite by the bookies here this week. Henrik was named Swedish Sportsman of the year and he will no doubt want to show his gratitude to the Swedish public by playing in front of a home crowd, and the cherry on the cake would be holding the trophy aloft come Sunday evening.
Francesco Molinari 14/1 has been in good form lately but hasn’t quite put everything together to get across the winners line. Francesco’s last three outings on the European tour have seen him finish inside the Top 10 twice and with another Top 25 finish. His Top 10 finish at the recent Players Championship, along with his showing last week at the BMW PGA Championship should see him teeing it up here in confident mood.
Jonas Blixt 18/1 runners-up finish at the Masters this year went slightly under the radar, especially coming off of two missed cuts. Jonas has also had three other missed cuts, but he has had 3 other Top 25 finishes on the PGA Tour. His Top 20 finish at last week’s BMW PGA Championship, and playing in front of a home crowd, which obviously spurred him on last year to a runners-up finish in this event – and yes although on a different course to this week’s event – don’t be surprised if you see the final pairing being all Swedish come Sunday.
My each-way tips
One player who will be coming into this week in very confident mood is Marcel Siem 66/1 whose final round of 68 at Wentworth saw him move into the Top 10 last Sunday. The talent of the German has never been in doubt and when his well-known temperament doesn’t get in the way he can produce some stunning golf. I must admit after a win and two other Top 10s last year, I was expecting more from Siem this year, hopefully his talent will be on show here this week and not his temperament.
Another player who stormed up the leaderboard on Sunday at the BMW PGA Championship was Yorkshireman Simon Dyson 50/1 with his final round 67. It’s taken a while for Simon to settle down after being found guilty of a rule breach and although it was a lapse in concentration I think the subsequent ruling hit him hard. I have always thought Simon could go on and compete for major championships and was surprised he didn’t kick on after winning two events in 2011, but hopefully he has put everything behind him now and last week’s Top 5 finish becomes a statement of intent. We shall find out come Sunday afternoon here.
My outside tip:
I did tip Eddie Pepperell 100/1 as my outside tip at last week’s BMW PGA Championship and although he didn’t make the money places he did make the Top 25, and anything in the 60s would have seen the lad from Oxfordshire challenging. But on the positive side it was another Top 25 finish, his second in his last two outings. Hopefully his final round this week will be in the 60s and if it is then I think Eddie will be challenging the leaders coming down the stretch on Sunday.
As always good luck