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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Aphibarnrat can make a fast start in the BMW

Chunky Thai heads to Germany in fine form

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat
1 of 1

Sky Sports 4, 10.30am Thursday

Wilkerson's top tip
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 40-1
After a week's absence to accommodate the US Open, the European Tour is back in action and it would be no surprise to see Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat fly out of the blocks at the BMW International Open in Germany.

This is a tournament that alternates between two venues and after last year's rain-affected test in Cologne, this week's assignment at Nord Eichenried in Munich should be one where the big hitters afford themselves the opportunity to relax a little, particularly those who were wary of the thick rough at Erin Hills last week.

The rotund Aphibarnrat has already found this track to his liking as he finished fourth the last time the tournament was held at the venue two years ago, and while his fifth place last year came at the other venue, it should still be a cause for encouragement.

Only a couple of wayward shots prevented him from getting closer to winner Pablo Larrazabal two years ago and he heads to Germany in decent form having missed three cuts in his last nine tournaments.

His 41st at the Nordea Masters last time was the worst result in those completions as he claimed a top-22 finish in each of the other five, while he has made the top ten in Abu Dhabi and Qatar this season in arguably stronger fields than this.

Aphibarnrat could have done better at Wentworth had he built on an impressive opening round of 67 but with some decent course form in the book and a week off after not playing in Wisconsin, it is possible he could have slipped under the radar.

Next best
Tommy Fleetwood 20-1
One European Tour regular who performed superbly at Erin Hills was Southport's Tommy Fleetwood, who was straight as an arrow for most of the four days without losing a great deal of distance off the tee.

While the hyper-critical could argue that his level-par 72 saw his chances slip through his fingers while Brooks Koepka stormed to glory, that would be a harsh assessment as the Southport lad did not throw his chance away.

He should surely come on for that performance and after displaying great maturity and an easy-going attitude in America, there is no reason to suggest he will get carried away and he could put up a bold show at a course where he finished 11th two years ago.

Having won in Abu Dhabi and finished second at the WGC-Mexico and the Shenzhen International, this greens-in-regulation machine can continue to develop into an excellent player.

Other selections
Bernd Wiesberger 16-1
David Horsey 55-1
Scott Jamieson 90-1
Another player who should take confidence from his Stateside performance is Austrian big-hitter Bernd Wiesberger.

He claimed a tie for 16th at the US Open and that should give him a lift after three successive missed cuts at the second Major of the season.

Wiesberger should be able to tame Nord Eichenried, where he finished 27th two years ago and fourth in 2015. The Shenzhen International winner has finished in the top 30 in each of his last six tournaments and could be in for a big week.

David Horsey, who won the tournament in 2010, heads into this week in decent form having finished tied for second at the Lyoness Open last time. 

That was his third top-ten finish in his last five tournaments and he was 11th at this venue two years ago.

Scott Jamieson has found some decent form lately, having missed just one cut in his last nine events, so he could make a big impression.

He led after the first round at the PGA Championship at Wentworth and although he went on to finish 14th, that showed he can flourish among illustrious company even if he did not see the job through.

He won the Nelson Mandela Championship in 2012 and has some course form, having finished tied for third in 2011.

Others to note
Martin Kaymer
The home favourite has missed the cut in three of his last four attempts in this tournament. He was tied for 35th at the US Open but has not triumphed since winning that title in 2014. He looks a bit short.

Henrik Stenson
The defending champion has an excellent record in the competition and finished second the last time the event was in Munich. However, he has gone off the boil, missing the cut last week and in four of his last seven events.

Sergio Garcia
He looks the rightful favourite. Garcia has finished out of the top 30 in just one of his last 14 events and has finished second and seventh at the venue.

Pablo Larrazabal
The Spaniard has been a winner twice at the venue and was third in 2010. Wth four top-25 finishes in his last five events, it would be foolish to dismiss him.

Rafa Cabrera Bello
Cabrera Bello finished third in 2010 and 11th in 2015 and has flourished on both sides of the Atlantic this year, but he is still a little inconsistent.

Staking plan
K Aphibarnrat
1.5pts each-way 40-1 Sky Bet
T Fleetwood
1.5pts each-way 20-1 Sky Bet
B Wiesberger
1.5pts each-way 16-1 Betfred
D Horsey
1pt each-way 55-1 bet365
S Jamieson
1pt each-way 90-1 Betfair, BoyleSports, Paddy Power

The lowdown

Course Golfclub Munchen Nord Eichenried, Munich, Germany
Prize money €2m (€333,330 to the winner)
Length 7,181 yards Par 72 Field 156

Course records – 72 holes 261 John Daly (2001) 18 holes 62 David Feherty (1989 & 1990), Steen Tinning (1992), Darren Clarke (1992), David Park (1999), Jose Maria Olazabal (2001), Raphael Jacquelin (2003), Simon Dyson (2005), Rafa Echenique (2009).

Course winners taking part Robert Karlsson, Thomas Bjorn (2), David Howell, Henrik Stenson, Niclas Fasth, Martin Kaymer, David Horsey, Ernie Els, Pablo Larrazabal (2).

When to bet By 6am Thursday
Where to watch Live on Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am Thursday
Time difference Munich is one hour ahead of the UK and Ireland
Last week – US Open 1 B Koepka 50-1, T2 H Matsuyama 35-1, T2 B Harman 250-1, 4 T Fleetwood 160-1, T5 R Fowler 25-1, T5 X Schauffele 500-1, T5 B Haas 150-1, 8 C Hoffman 160-1

Course overview Although the course now shares this event with the Gut Larchenhof in Cologne, Eichenried is the natural home of the International Open, a event staged at the venue from 1989 to 1993, then from 1997 to 2013 and two years ago.

The straightforward layout with wide fairways provides plenty of birdie opportunities. The course was lengthened by 84 yards before the 2013 tournament and this year the 13th has been boosted to 431 yards, but the four par-fives, including the dogleg 18th, provide eagle chances.

However, water guards greens on the sixth and the 11th so there is still damage that can be done for those looking to hit them in two. The 331-yard par-four fifth is driveable, as is the 319-yard par-four 16th, where the green is protected by water on three sides. 

The story of last year Rain washed out the third day at Gut Larchenhof so 36 holes were required on the Sunday. Henrik Stenson secured a three-shot victory over Darren Fichardt and Thorbjorn Olesen.

Weather forecast Light rain is expected on Wednesday and there could be some more on Friday, but otherwise it looks set to be dry. Temperatures should be in the low 30s, but winds could get up to 15mph.

Type of player suited to challenge Wide fairways give big hitters the opportunity to open their shoulders and this is traditionally a tournament that sees plenty of birdies. Taking advantage of the four par-fives and a couple of short par fours could prove vital.

Key attribute Power

Only a couple of wayward shots prevented him from getting closer to winner Pablo Larrazabal two years ago
E.W. Terms
Sky bet