It is one of the most popular stops on the European Tour schedule every year for players, fans and spectators alike. Here is everything you need to know about the Omega European Masters and the stunning surroundings of Crans-Montana...
Alex Noren overcame Scott Hend on the first play-off hole to win the Omega European Masters for the second time at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
The Swede won his maiden title in the Alps in 2009 and his victory on was his sixth overall on the European Tour and second of the season after his triumph at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July.
A run of four birdies from the sixth handed him a two-shot lead at the turn but Hend fought back on the back nine and the duo had to go back up the last to decide a winner after finishing at 17 under.
Noren hit a wonderful tee-shot and an approach to 30 feet as Hend saw his first bounce out of the trees on the left and then only just cleared the water with his second. The Australian chipped to eight feet but Noren holed his putt for the birdie and the win.
England's Andrew Johnston was third at 14 under, two shots clear of Lee Westwood and three ahead of a third Englishman in Richard Bland and Frenchman Julien Quesne.
Quesne enjoyed a rollercoaster of a 65, with eight birdies and three bogeys leaving him a shot clear of England's Matthew Fitzpatrick, Italian Renato Paratore, Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares, Frenchman Romain Langasque and Germany's Florian Fritsch.
Crans-sur-Sierre has certainly proved happy hunting ground for Noren, having won twice here in 2012 and 2016. The defending champion’s victory here last year was the second of four in the 2017, before he went on to win the British Masters supported by Sky Sports and the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player. The World Number 11 will has already tasted victory this year, having won the BMW PGA Championship in May, and will be looking to take his European Tour wins tally to ten come Sunday this week.
Two former World Number Ones, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, will both return to a venue on which they have both emerged victorious – the former in 2004 and the latter in 1999. It will be a big week for Westwood as he prepares to mark his 500th appearance on the European Tour.
Since making his first start at the 1994 Madeira Island Open, he has since gone on to become one of the greatest European Tour players of his generation, with 23 wins on the tour and is currently tied eighth on the all-time list of official victories alongside José María Olazábal.
Westwood becomes the 35th player to reach this milestone, following closely after Thomas Bjørn who celebrated the achievement two weeks ago at Made in Denmark, Stephen Gallacher and Anthony Wall - all of whom will be in the field this week.
The Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood returns to European Tour action for the first time since the US PGA Championship as the Englishman chases a third victory of the season at an event in which he has already claimed two top ten finishes.
His compatriots Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Danny Willett - a winner of the event in 2015 - join him, along with World Number 33 Bernd Wiesberger, as he targets a second win the 2017 campaign following his triumph at the Shenzhen International earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Miguel Ángel Jiménez will make his 38th appearance at the historic event, having won here in in 2010.
The most stunning venue on the European Tour with views up to the Pleine Morte Glacier and across the mountain ranges and valley below the seventh tee, Crans-sur Sierre Golf Club sits perched amongst the snow-capped Swiss Alps at almost 5,000ft above sea level.
The picturesque surroundings of Switzerland provide some of the most incredible views for golfers and fans alike on the European Tour, with the tournament staged for the 71st time at the Alpine venue, with only Augusta National (81 times for the Masters Tournament), having held the same event more times than the Swiss venue.
Its signature hole is the 13th, which provides an amphitheatre for spectators as they take in all the action on the par 70, 6,848-yard golf course. Famous in the winter months for its ski fields, Crans-sur Sierre closes under several feet of snow, however summer provides perfect playing conditions for some of the world’s best golfers.
DID YOU KNOW?
- If Alex Noren were to successfully defend his Omega European Masters title this week, he would be the first person to do so since Seve Ballesteros (1977-78).
- Noren is also chasing a third victory in this tournament, having also won in 2009 , and he would join Ballesteros (1977, 1978 and 1989) as the only other three-time winner of the historic event.
- The Omega European Masters, staged at Crans-sur-Sierre, has the distinction of being the only venue to hold a European Tour event in every season since 1972. The 2017 edition will be the 46th. The venue has hosted the tournament every year it has been played since 1939.
- Crans-sur-Sierre will be staging the tournament for the 71st successive time. Only Augusta National (81 times for the Masters Tournament), has held the same event more times than the Swiss venue.
- The Omega European Masters is the only European Tour event staged in Europe which is jointly-sanctioned. The tournament has been part of the Asian Tour schedule since 2009.
- In 2010 Miguel Angel Jiménez won his first Omega European Masters title at the 22nd attempt in 2010. This was a then European Tour record for a player competing in the same event the most times before winning it for the first time. He then broke his own record, winning the Open de España at the 27th time of asking in 2014.
- One of the 17 different players to shoot an official 60 since the European Tour’s first season in 1972, was Jamie Spence, in winning the 1992 European Masters. Beginning the final round ten shots behind the third round leader, Colin Montgomerie, Spence compiled a 12 under par score of 60, to tie Anders Forsbrand after 72 holes, before winning at the second extra play-off hole. This represents the largest final round winning comeback in European Tour history. This was since equalled by Paul Lawrie at The 1999 Open Championship.
- Spence in 1992 is one of only three players to win a European Tour event, while shooting 60 in the final 18 holes. The other two were Ian Woosnam (1990 Torras Monte Carlo Open) and Rafa Cabrera Bello (2009 Austrian Golf Open).
- Mads Vibe-Hastrup’s albatross in the 2008 Omega European Masters was the fifth in the event since The European Tour’s first season in 1972. This tournament jointly holds the record for most albatrosses with five, along with The Open Championship.