The European Tour Fantasy Race returns to the stunning scenery of Crans-sur-Sierre this week for the Omega European Masters, and after last week’s near miss with pick George Coetzee, there must be a win just around the corner.
This week signifies the beginning of Ryder Cup qualification for Medinah in 2012, and there are plenty in the field looking to get their campaign off to the perfect start in Switzerland, including Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke to name just a few.
Our first recommendation, however, is a player who made his debut at Celtic Manor last year, after two Scottish successes, Edoardo Molinari. The Italian has had a steady season after a break-out 2010, but only one top ten and a tie for 11th at The Masters so far in 2011 is surprising. However, he put up a reasonable defence of his Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles last week, finishing in a tie for 22nd, and finished second here last year, so could well be worth a pick.
Another Italian falling into the ‘horses for courses’ cliché here is 19-year-old Matteo Manassero, who finished third in 2010 behind Molinari and the eventual champion Miguel Angel Jiménez. He has taken the golfing world by storm in the short time he has been on Tour, winning twice, and having not played since the US PGA Championship he could be recharged and ready for battle come Thursday.
One Ryder Cup outsider who could be suited to this week’s potentially chilly mountain topped venue is the almost always long sleeved Ignacio Garrido. It has been another steady season for the BMW PGA Champion of 2003, and he is coming off three top twenties in a row, including last week, where he held a share of the lead heading in to Sunday only to fall away to a tie for eighth with a 74. Couple that with the strong Spanish pedigree in this event with winners like Jiménez last year, Garcia (2005), Olazábal (1986) and the course redesigner, the late Seve Ballesteros (1977, 78 and 89,) and he could also challenge.
The European Tour also welcomes the best of the Asian Tour this week in the only co-sanctioned event between the two on European soil, so it only seems fair that we pick one of their stand out performers to watch out for in Crans. Noh Seung-Yul won the 2010 Maybank Malaysian Open and has played solidly since without really challenging for his second title, but five top tens in 18 events so far in 2011 for the Korean, and a fourth place finish here last year, make him one to watch this week.
Alternatively, if you're not sure of this week's picks and you want to check out the Form Guides and make up your own mind, then click here
Whoever you choose though, it is bound to be another exciting event surrounded by some of the most beautiful views on Tour – so log into My European Tour or register your team here