Porsche European Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
Paul Casey returns to Germany to defend the Porsche European Open title he won in 2019. It was his first European Tour win for five years. Casey shot a six-under 66 in Hamburg to finish ahead of Scotland's Bob MacIntyre, German Bernd Ritthammer and Matthias Schwab of Austria.
It was a second victory of 2019 for the Englishman after success at the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour. For MacIntyre it represented a third runner-up place as he sought his maiden victory - something he has, of course, now put right.
Casey began the final round one shot behind joint leaders MacIntyre and Ritthammer, but he produced a flawless round of six birdies and not a single bogey.
Schwab had finished at 13 under, but was overtaken by Casey's birdies at 16 and 17, although the English golfer left the door open as he could only three-putt for a par five at the last. His target of 14 under turned out to be too good for MacIntyre and Ritthammer, who both left putts short on the final green to force a play-off.
The Englishman, a four-time Ryder Cup player, celebrated his first win in Europe since the 2014 KLM Open in the Netherlands.
He will be joined this time by major champions Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson and Mexico's Abraham Ancer at Green Eagle Golf Courses.
It will be Kaymer’s first appearance on the testing Porsche Nord Course on the outskirts of Hamburg, while Ancer and Stenson will make their tournament debuts.
Kaymer, who won the 2010 US PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Open, will be making his first appearance at the Porsche European Open since 2016, where he finished sixth at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach. The German hasn’t won for seven years but he has been showing some good form. You may remember that this is a former world No1, and he still knows how to play.
Stenson, the 2016 Open champion, will make his debut at this event ahead of hosting the Scandinavian Mixed the following week alongside Annika Sorenstam, while Ancer, who became the first Mexican golfer to play for the International Team at the 2019 Presidents Cup, will make his first appearance on Continental Europe.
“To say I’m thrilled is an understatement,” said Ancer, currently ranked 26th in the World. “I’m looking forward to many new experiences, a challenging golf course and, as a car lover, to many spectacular Porsche sports cars.”
Casey said: “A strong field is always a good thing. Having won so many titles, Martin is a superstar, especially in Germany. Contesting the last holes with him on Sunday, they’re the moments we play for. The boys are my friends, but I’ll obviously want to beat them.”
Because of Covid restrictions, the tournament will not start until Saturday and will be restricted to 54 holes.
The North Course was opened in 1997 and was extensively redesigned when it was first awarded the European Open in 2017. This included a number of new greens. It is a brute, measuring just over 7,800 yards from the back tees.
It was won in 2015 by Thongchai Jaidee, in 2016 by Alex Levy, in 2017 by Jordan Smith, in 2018 by Richard McEvoy and in 2019 by Paul Casey.
Martin Kaymer missed the cut at the British Masters and again at Kiawah Island but he was third in Austria and 18th at the Saudi International. He was in good position at the Dubai Desert Classic before a disappointing weekend left him in 44th position. The German has always been a streaky player and he is due a decent run again. Casey won the Dubai Desert Classic, finished 12th at the Saudi International and was tied fourth at Kiawah Island. He may be almost 44 but he remains a genuine contender.
Abraham Ancer. Hasn’t come all this way to make up the numbers.
Paul Casey. Just a glorious ball striker.
Players to Follow:
Abraham Ancer. As consistent as they come.
Paul Casey. Looking for more Ryder Cup points.
Matthias Schwab. MUST win soon.
Martin Kaymer. Keeps knocking on the door, and loves playing on home soil.
Alex Levy. With a win and a runner-up finish he has good memories of this tournament.
Jordan Smith. It’s about time he lived up to his early promise.
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