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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Power-packed Frittelli may provide the Lyoness roar

Plenty of alternatives to short-priced favourite Wiesberger

Dylan Frittelli plays a shot at the 2017 Volvo China Open
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Sky Sports 4 from 10am Thursday

Palmer's top tip
Dylan Frittelli 50-1
Henrik Stenson was a flopping favourite on home ground in the Nordea Masters last week, the Swede finishing in 26th place, and punters are wondering whether Bernd Wiesberger will go the same way in the Lyoness Open.

Wiesberger is an even shorter price than Stenson was for victory in front of patriotic galleries – the Austrian is 9-2 to triumph at Diamond Country Club – and the odds are skinny enough to be left alone.

Big Bernd has an obvious chance and won this title in 2012, but he can suffer long spells of poor putting. He may not be able to afford any in what looks set to be a low-scoring week.

Such is the quality of Wiesberger's ball-striking that the four-time European Tour champion is by far the most likely Lyoness winner, but better value each-way alternatives are preferred for the staking plan. Dylan Frittelli is particularly appealing.

Frittelli produced some of the best golf seen on the circuit this year in rounds two and three of the China Open at the end of April.

The South African, who turned 27 on Monday, followed a nine-under-par Friday 63 with an eight-under Saturday 64. It was spellbinding stuff. A frustrating Sunday followed before a playoff loss to Alexander Levy, but Frittelli had advertised his great potential.

Frittelli has made the each-way places three times on the European Tour and looks ready to claim some silverware. He has failed to sparkle since that near-miss in China, but Austria could be the perfect place to reignite this former University of Texas star.

His maiden Challenge Tour success came in Austria in the Karnten Open in June 2013 and his second CT trophy came across the border in Switzerland in the 2016 Rolex Trophy.

Frittelli was world number 241 when he missed the cut on his Diamond CC debut 12 months ago, but he returns as a wealthier, more confident character, and he possesses the power to destroy this long, flat layout.

Next best
Nacho Elvira 80-1
Another Lyoness hopeful with fond memories of Austria is Nacho Elvira, who won the Karnten Open in 2015, one of his four Challenge Tour victories. His last one came in Switzerland. The 30-year-old Spaniard, like Frittelli, looks good enough to make a European Tour breakthrough soon.

Elvira was dreadfully unlucky to lose in a playoff to Jeunghun Wang in last year's Hassan Trophy, then he tied for third behind Francesco Molinari and Danny Willett in the Italian Open. This year, Elvira was up with the pace throughout the Qatar Masters, before finishing sixth.

A missed cut in his only previous Diamond CC appearance (2014) is easily forgiven – he was world number 309 at the time – and this course sets up well for the aggressive Madrileno.

Other selections
Matt Wallace 66-1
Paul Waring 66-1
Julien Guerrier 150-1
Matthias Schwab 110-1
Matt Wallace is used to hoovering up titles in this part of the world. The 27-year-old Londoner has won six times on the Alps Tour, including the 2016 Gosser Open in Austria. He has since made the step up to European Tour champion with a wire-to-wire victory in the Portugal Open last month, then he qualified for the US Open through the Walton Heath qualifier.

Paul Waring has been making the most of a medical exemption this season, banking some juicy cheques in Hong Kong (seventh place), Joburg (second) and Morocco (third). There has been a lot to like about the way the 32-year-old Wirral man has been going about his business and only nine players bettered his final-round 70 in Sweden on Sunday. His last crack at Diamond CC resulted in fifth place (2013).

Julien Guerrier, the 2006 amateur champion, has only two professional victories to his name, both of which came on the Alps Tour. It is about time the big-hitting Frenchman started realising his potential at the age of 31.

The combination of a suitable track and encouraging recent form makes him of interest. Guerrier was third in the CT Grand Final in November, third in the Turkish Airlines Challenge in April, eighth in the Rocco Forte Open last month and carded four rounds of par or better for 26th spot in Sweden last week.

Complete your each-way attack with Matthias Schwab, a 22-year-old Austrian who has just finished a glorious amateur career in the States. His final world amateur ranking was fifth and he makes his pro debut at Diamond CC. Schwab is renowned for being a ridiculously cool customer and he was one under par through 17 holes of an impressive Arnold Palmer Invitational debut in March, before missing the cut by only three shots.

This will be Schwab's fifth appearance in the Lyoness Open and he has missed the cut only once. He shared 14th place with Wiesberger in 2013. He is course-proven, oozing potential and worth chancing at a three-figure price in a weak field.

Others to note
Benjamin Hebert
The Frenchman, a six-time Challenge Tour winner, contended for the Nordea Masters last week before sharing eighth. Finished sixth in the 2012 Lyoness Open. Dangerous.

Ryan Fox
The powerful New Zealander found some excellent form with a strong final three rounds for 21st spot in Sweden on Sunday.

Lucas Bjerregaard
The big-hitting Danish youngster won the GolfSixes alongside Thorbjorn Olesen last month. Diamond CC suits him.

Hadyn Porteous
The ultra-aggressive South African could get on a roll to become a 150-1 threat.

Joost Luiten
The Dutchman was Lyoness champion in 2013. Has been in solid but unspectacular form.

Phachara Khongwatmai
The talented Thai teenager, runner-up in the Perth Super 6 in February, has quickly forced his name on to the radar of most golf punters.

Staking plan
D Frittelli
2pts each-way 50-1 Coral
N Elvira
1pt each-way 80-1 Coral
M Wallace
1pt each-way 66-1 Coral
P Waring
1pt each-way 66-1 Coral
J Guerrier
0.5pt each-way 150-1 general
M Schwab
0.5pt each-way 110-1 bet365

Lyoness Open
Course Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria
Prize money €1m (€166,660 to the winner)
Length 7,417 yards Par 72 Field 156

Course records – 72 holes 269 Bernd Wiesberger (2012) 18 holes 63 Tom Lewis (2013)

Course winners taking part Jose Manuel Lara, Bernd Wiesberger, Joost Luiten, Chris Wood, Ashun Wu

When to bet By 6.30am on Thursday
Where to watch Live on Sky Sports from 10am on Thursday
Time difference Austria is one hour ahead of the UK and Ireland

Last week – Nordea Masters 1 R Paratore (150-1), T2 M Fitzpatrick (22-1), C Wood (33-1), T4 G Coetzee (55-1), T Olesen (55-1)

Course overview The Jeremy Pern-designed Diamond Country Club hosts this tournament for the eighth year in succession. This flat, exposed track has water hazards on nine of the 18 holes and becomes much tougher when the wind blows.

The back nine, which has two long par-fours (the 504-yard tenth and the 490-yard 17th), two long par-fives (the 600-yard 15th and the 591-yard 16th) and a long par-three (the 225-yard 14th), is more difficult than the front nine, where two easy par-fives (the 506-yard first and the 556-yard fourth) present eagle opportunities.

The two par-threes on the front (two and six) both have island greens surrounded by water.

The story of last year Chinaman Ashun Wu fended off Adrian Otaegui to triumph by a shot.

Weather forecast A Tuesday storm drenched the track. Sunshine is expected for the most part with light breezes and sporadic light showers.

Type of player suited to challenge This long, flat course is excellent terrain for big-hitters to enjoy themselves. Plenty of birdies are likely on a soft layout.

Key attribute Power

Frittelli has made the each-way places three times on the European Tour and looks ready to claim some silverware
E.W. Terms
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