Diminutive Dutchman Joost Luiten has six European Tour titles to his name, which is more than most in the Hero Open field, meaning he is being given great respect by the bookmaking community this week.
Luiten was market leader for the first two post-lockdown tournaments – the Austrian Open and the Euram Bank Open – and he finished 18th and sixth. A final-round 75 cost him dear in the first event, then he carded a ten at a par five during round three of the Euram Bank Open.
Luiten Should be Fresh For the West Midlands
Luiten, who is
14/1 to win the tournament, has at least got himself into a groove, though, and he skipped last week’s British Masters to freshen up for the Hero, which takes place at the Forest of Arden, near Birmingham, starting on Thursday morning.
The Forest of Arden has not been used on the European Tour since the 2005 British Masters, which was won by Thomas Bjorn. The Dane is in the field this week, seeing if he can still tame the track 15 years later.
Thomas Detry Eager to Land Overdue Breakthrough
Arguably the best European Tour maiden in the Hero Open line-up is Thomas Detry, who has been knocking loudly at the door of the winner’s enclosure ever since graduating from the Challenge Tour at the end of 2016.
18/1 this week and was second in the 2017 BMW International Open and he has finished third four times. His lone victory on the Challenge Tour came in the 2016 Bridgestone Challenge – a tournament in Oxfordshire which he won by an incredible margin of 12 shots.
The Belgian seems to like England and set up base in Cornwall for lockdown. His caddie – Michael Burrows – is a Geordie. Detry won a one-round pro-am against a decent field just before the European Tour resumed, then he finished eighth in the Austrian Open.
A missed cut in the British Masters at Close House last week was unexpected, but this sweet swinger should enjoy the more straightforward dimensions of the Forest of Arden and go close to claiming the Hero trophy.
Hojgaard Brothers can Advertise their Potential
If Detry falls short again, maybe the Hojgaard brothers will take control of the tournament. The Danish twins are blessed with enormous talent and seem set to become European Tour superstars over the years to come.
Rasmus Hojgaard is already off the mark, having won the Mauritius Open at the end of last year with a magnificent eagle in a playoff, while Nicolai ran Sergio Garcia extremely close in the KLM Open a few months earlier.
Rasmus, who finished runner-up in the British Masters last week, had a good record competing in the UK and Ireland as an amateur and seems to enjoy the tracks there. Forest of Arden has four par-fives and relatively generous fairways, so the power-packed 19-year-old can attack with freedom.
*All odds correct at time of writing