Omega European Masters preview and picks - Crans 2013

One of my favourite tour stops this week for the Omega European Masters in Crans-Sur-Sierre. Picks and staking plan are now up on the P&L spreadsheet with full Omega European Masters preview below (prices from time of spreadsheet entry)

Extra place alert: Stanjames and Bet Victor are going places 1-6 once again for the Omega European Masters and make sure to follow me on Twitter: @Nicspicks for more tips and insight

Crans has undergone plenty of changes since last year's Omega European Masters with remodelling and reshaping of targeted holes and fairways. Water Hazards / lakes have been added throughout the back nine placing emphasis even more so on approaches. Many of you will know Crans sur Sierre is in the mountainous terrain of Switzerland and therefore plays at 10% altitude. Distance and spin control to small, firm "upturned saucer" like greens is the premium at the Omega European Masters and those with a high ball flight are at an advantage. The course consists of five par 3s which play a big part in the Crans Montana and scores can be made through holes 5,6 & 7 - all drive-able par 4s. Scrambling stats vital...

40/1 Brett Rumford is a man I've had on the Omega European Masters shortlist for a while. The 2007 champion has hit numerous low rounds here since taking that trophy - including an opening 62 in 09 and a closing 64 in 2010 - and has a real affinity with the track. The short game specialist relishes the test on and around the small tricky greens of Cran and has turned it up a notch this season, already closing out for two victories. He comes here off the back of two top tens.

Simon Dyson had to get the nod once more at 40/1 six places with BetVic at time of spreadsheet entry. Again last week Dyson started poorly and finished strongly to record another top 20 so If he can open well this week he should contend at a venue he hasn't missed in ten years, averaging around the 30th spot in the process. Dyson excels with his irons, ranking 18th on tour in GIR% in 2013 - key around Crans.

Another winner for us this year gets the vote at 66s having had his clubs returned and despite undergoing swing changes (thanks Ben). I remember watching Mikko Ilonen intently at the Omega European Masters in 2010 as he opened with a 65 (I must have had a FRL bet on someone else!) and he really looked like he had the skill set for the track. 65-67-75-66 were his totals - only a poor Saturday costing him a chance at victory but he recorded what was then a second top ten in four Omega Masters appearances. I may be imaging things but a trend I've noticed with Ilonen this year is his ability to perform on courses requiring approaches into elevated greens.

Now onto two perceived outsiders, the first of which came onto my radar as I followed him live at the Irish Open. Felipe Aguilar, who opened 80/1 six places with BetVic was striking the ball beautifully with his irons and I immediately marked him down for upcoming events and Crans Sur Sierre may be a course where he can excel. Aguilar ranks 14th on tour in GIR% and returned to action last week with a top 40. He shows progressive form of 44-25-6 at the Omega European masters and looks great value this week.

Thomas Levet at 200/1 six places with Stanjames caught the attention last week with a Fri/Sat 67-67 in Wales and posted a top 30 here last year despite not having much course experience. It's close to home for the Frenchman in Switzerland and, albeit a speculative play, he knows how to win when in contention and looks vastly overpriced in this field.

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