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Can the KLM spark Luiten?


In the absence of recent winners Thomas Pieters (2015) and Paul Casey (2014), local favourite and defending champion Joost Luiten is the strong favourite to win this year's KLM Open.

Luiten won by three shots last year after blazing home with a 63 on the first occasion that this Netherlands-based event was played at The Dutch, a newish Colin Montgomerie course opened in 2011 in Spijk, some 45 minutes from Amsterdam.

Luiten will clearly be hoping that his good memories of that triumph, his second in the KLM Open, and the strong support he always gets from his home supporters will help ignite the spark that has been missing from his game in recent months when he has been unable to pick up a single Top-25 finish in his last six starts.

The British bookmakers seem to think it will - much in the same way as they feel it will help Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, last year's runner up to Luiten at The Dutch, climb out of the mini slump he also seems to have fallen into.

As things were on Tuesday morning the bookies had the two sharing the No 1 spot on their list of favourites at 18/1 followed by Ryan Fox, the highly promising son of former All Black rugby fly-half Grant Fox, at 20/1, Lee Westwood and fellow Brit David Horsey at 22/1 and a 3rd Englishman, Ross Fisher, and a Scot, Richie Ramsay, at 28/1.

If Fox, still a European Tour rookie, is as high up as third on the bookie's list of odds, just a little way behind the joint leaders. it might be because, as a citizen of wet-weather New Zealand, he might be better equipped than most to handle the three days of rain and possible thunderstorms expected at The Dutch this week.

According to our forecast, only Sunday will be dry.

Besides, Fox, 30, is having a good, solid first season on the European Tour with four Top 10s in seven starts and a 9th last week at Crans-sur-Sierre.

Mind you, in an event like this when a good few of Europe's best are tied up in the USA in the FedEx Cup race, there are any numbers of golfers, driven perhaps, by the knowledge that Race To Dubai and Ryder Cup points are at stake, who could win this week, not the least of them being former winner Westwood, Fisher, Ramsay and Fabrizio Zanotti, the Paraguayan who finished third in the Swiss mountains last week and can also claim to have finished second in the KLM is 2010, 4th in 2015 and tied for 16th in his debut at The Dutch last year.

If his busy Tour schedule has left him with enough energy, another overseas raider to watch might be American rookie Julian Suri, a former US College star who has chosen to begin his professional career in Europe and can already boast a win at the Made in Denmark last month.

(Tuesday am, Sept 12, 2017)

Joost Luiten 18/1
Bernd Wiesberger 18/1
Ryan Fox 20/1
Lee Westwood 22/1
David Horsey 22/1
Andy Sullivan 25/1
Ross Fisher 28/1
Richie Ramsay 28/1
Julian Suri 30/1
Adrian Otaegui 33/1
Paul Dunne 35/1
Fabrizio Zanotti 35/1
Thongchai Jaidee 40/1
Chris Wood 45/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 50/1
Eddie Pepperell 50/1
Tom Lewis 50/1
Aaron Rai 50/1
Dylan Frittelli 50/1
Mikko Ilonen 55/1.

NOTE: For all the latest odds go to

Neville Leck

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