We return to one of the most scenic venues on the European tour this week as The Omega European Masters takes centre stage. Crans-Sur-Sierre is the destination and altitude is something we have to factor in - balls will fly that little bit further in the mountains of Crans
The Crans course winds through mountainous terrain with fascinating views to add to the event. Predominantly tree-lined, the short course measuring under 7,000 yards requires straight hitting from the tee, and most importantly at the Omega European Masters, approach shot accuracy and finesse around the greens is essential. Said greens are small and "upturned saucer" like so missing them will leave you tricky up and downs.
The course is a par 71 with five par threes, so strong long iron players will have an advantage on the field. There are a handful of reachable par fours and par fives so distance (with control) will be an added weapon at the Omega European Masters.
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Omega European Masters Picks
Pick #1: Alex Noren ew @ 28/1 (Bet365) A previous winner here, Noren has a distinct advantage due to his "moon ball" flight with approaches to these small targets. He generates a lot of spin with his short irons so he can access pins and hold greens with relative ease. Noren comes into the event off the back of a 26th place finish in Scotland where he struggled to hole a lot of putts, meaning the tee to green game must be on for the multiple tour winner.
Pick #2: Matteo Manassero ew @ 28/1 (Bet365) Short and tight tracks are the young Italian's specialty and if you add the necessity of good scrambling skills (10th in scrambling) into the equation, it's no wonder Matteo has placed 3rd and T18 in his last two starts at the Omega European Masters. Form is only so-so this year but if he gets his putter going as he can, on these greens, he will contend.
Pick #3: Gonzalo Fdez Castano ew @ 55/1 (PP) is another course specialist on the radar at overly generous odds this week for the Omega European Masters. Flying under the bookmaker radar despite regularly featuring on leaderboards at Crans, the Spaniard's tee to green game sets up ideally to take advantage of this track. Gonzalo has clocked up numerous rounds in the mid sixties in recent years on the mountain.
Pick #4: Joost Luiten ew @ 50/1 (Ladbrokes) has been off sunning himself after his fantastic exploits over at the PGA Championship, where at one stage during day one he reached an extrordinary eight under par. Eventually he posted a 21st place finish and according to his Twitter, he's been working hard on his short game and putting over the last week or so - essential for the Omega European Masters. Joost placed Top fifteen here last year and can make a lot of birdies around this track.
Pick #5: Brett Rumford ew @ 60/1 (Bet365) Unfortunately former Omega European Masters winner Rumford posted a good final round Sunday at the Johnny Walker to finish second which leaves us with a best price of only 60s but that seems fair enough on a player who loves Cran-Sur-Sierre. Besides his win, Rumford placed in the top 25 in 08, opened with a low round 62 in 09 and recorded a top 15 in 2010. Brett ranks 17th in scrambling and being a short game expert is the reason behind his great play around Crans.
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