The DP World Tour heads to the Netherlands this week for the KLM Open, one of the longest-standing events in the history of the Tour.
Defending champion Victor Perez makes his return to Bernardus Golf following his best ever Major finish alongside recent winner Adrian Meronk and a field of players vying for U.S. Open qualifying spots and Ryder Cup debuts.
If you have not done so already, you can sign up to play the official 2023 DP World Tour Fantasy game and submit your six-man team before round one gets under way on Thursday: https://fantasy.dpworldtour.com/
The 2023 season-long winner will win a trip to the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next year, enjoy a lesson with a DP World Tour professional and a round of golf on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. For more information on this amazing prize and others, read here.
Favourite - Victor Perez
The in-form Frenchman returns to defend the title he won last year fresh from his best ever Major finish – a tie for 12th at the US PGA Championship. Perez carded six birdies during a final round 69 that saw him play his part in a strong European performance at Oak Hill Country Club, finishing his week at level par alongside Shane Lowry and Canada’s Corey Conners.
Last year at Bernardus Golf, his putter provided several moments of magic over the final round as he edged out Ryan Fox in a four-hole play-off, and he will be hoping to emulate that success this week.
A proven winner already this season, the 30-year-old will now be attempting to build on his results so far, which also include a top ten at the DS Automobiles Italian Open two weeks ago, along with his first Rolex Series and third DP World Tour title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.
He not only leads the DP World Tour in birdies this season but also ranks inside the top 15 on Tour for Strokes Gained: Off the tee, Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, Greens in Regulation and Strokes Gained: Putting. Currently third in the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, the Ryder Cup’s European Points List and scoring average on the DP World Tour this season – behind only Takumi Kanaya and Thorbjørn Olesen – Perez will be a tough act to beat.
And that appears to be an opinion shared by many of you, with him being selected in just over 70 per cent of teams - making him the most popular player this week.
Form Horse – Adrian Meronk
Already a two-time winner this season, Meronk is the highest ranked player in the field and makes his return to the KLM Open following his third place last year – where he finished one stroke outside of the Perez-Fox play-off. And even if you were to disregard last year’s performance, Meronk’s consistency this season will most likely put him very much at the forefront of selection for many this week.
A five-stroke victory in Melbourne in December in one of the first events of the 2023 season was an indicator of form to come - which has seen him post four top tens in eight events this year. He followed up his second Tour win with a top ten in his next event - the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a tie for fourth at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and a tie for 17th at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. More recently, the Pole held his nerve to hold off French duo Romain Langasque and Julien Guerrier to win his third DP World Tour title at the 2023 DS Automobiles Italian Open, and last week he made the cut and finished in a more than respectable tie for 40th in his US PGA Championship debut.
While a good week on the greens seems to be key to Meronk’s success, he leads the way in Strokes Gained: Off the tee on the DP World Tour this season, and ranks inside the top ten for both Scoring Average (69.59) and Strokes Gained: Tee to green, making him a definite one to watch.
Chasing a fourth DP World Tour title in less than a year, he is the second most picked player featuring in more than 60 per cent of squads.
Wild Card - Jayden Schaper
Making his debut in this event, Schaper earned his way into this week's field thanks to a series of consistent performances that include a top ten at the Magical Kenya Open, a tie for 13th at the Hero Indian Open and two further top 20s at the Thailand Classic and Jonsson Workwear Open.
Schaper, who grew up playing in teams with Garrick Higo and Wilco Nienaber, is looking to make a similar impact on the DP World Tour after playing much of the past few years on the Sunshine Tour and more recently the European Challenge Tour, too.
Form alone should put him on a few radars, and if you dive into his consistency, it looks incredibly promising. In India, Kenya, Thailand and Johannesburg, Schaper was ranked inside the top six for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and also in the top ten for Strokes Gained: Around the Green – two stats he leads in on the DP World Tour this season. He also ranks second for Birdies. In summary: His game travels.
His putting seems to be the outlier in an otherwise solid all-round game that appears poised for a breakthrough, but an on-week with the flat stick could well see him play his way into contention.
Featuring in under one cent of squads, the 22-year-old could prove a great differential option.
Looking back - US PGA Championship
Brooks Koepka was selected by 12.5 per cent of Fantasy users and captained by just over two last week as he claimed his fifth Major and third US PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. Our Favourite and among the majority of Fantasy DP World Tour players - being selected by almost 50 per cent of you - finished in a tie for 50th after making the cut on the number. Max Homa, our Form Horse, was unable to mount a challenge to win his maiden Major and finished a shot further back on the leaderboard after being selected by just under 10 per cent of users. Readers of this column will also have seen that our Wild Card Thorbjørn Olesen missed the cut.
2023 DP World Tour Fantasy player rankings