Lawrie and Hanson head European Masters
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 Omega European Masters | Preview | 29 Aug 2012
With the European Ryder Cup selections now firmly locked away, the European Tour now plays the last three events before the Ryder Cup with the only focus being on the event itself.
Those three events begin this week at the Omega European Masters in Crans Sur Sierre in Switzerland, the venue for this event or its equivalent since 1939.
The Severiano Ballesteros redesigned layout provides one of the great spectacles in all of golf, the views over the Swiss Alps and down the Rhone Valley arguably the best in the game.
This year’s event has two Ryder Cup members in the field namely Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson. Both are playing well at present, Lawrie a comfortable winner last week at the Johnnie Walker Championship and Hanson recording his second top ten of the season in majors when 7th at the PGA Championship at his last start.
Lawrie also won in Qatar and finished runner-up at the BMW PGA Championship.
Both deserve their place as the favourites for the event although defending champion Thomas Bjorn finished 10th last week when defending yet another title at Gleneagles and has played solidly for much of the season. Bjorn won this event by four shots last year over a considerably stronger field than he faces this week.
Thorbjorn Olesen missed the cut in this event last year but he is such a rapidly improving player he might well contend this week. Earlier this season he won in Italy and his 9th place finish at the Open Championship gave the golfing world a chance to see the quality of his game. The Dane finished 15th last week and was 5th in Austria two starts earlier.
Alexander Noren won this event in 2009 and has played well enough in recent weeks for him to be a serious consideration.
David Lynn finished a remarkable runner-up at the PGA Championship behind McIlroy and finished 6th in this event last year. He is the second highest ranked player in this field and a win here would be no surprise.
The event is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and opens up the opportunity for an Asian Tour player to play his way onto the European Tour.
Brett Rumford is an interesting entrant. He finished second last week at the Johnnie Walker Classic on a golf course where he had finished runner-up two years earlier and importantly for his chances this week he did win at Crans Sur Sierre in 2007 before heading to play the USPGA Tour.
Rumford’s effort last week suggests he has turned the corner after what had been a poor run in recent starts and if he was to again contend it would be of little surprise.
Other Australians in the field include Marcus Fraser, Richard Green, Scott Hend, Scott Barr, Marcus Both, Andrew Dodt, Kieran Pratt, golfing great Greg Norman and New Zealander Michael Campell.
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