2023 Porsche European Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
THERE are genuinely high hopes of a home winner at the Porsche European Open in Germany this week.
The tournament, which will once again be played on the Porsche Nord Course on the outskirts of Hamburg, boasts a number of recent DP World Tour winners from Germany as the country has seen four champions emerge in recent months.
Maximilian Kieffer ended an eight-year wait for a German champion as he won his first DP World Tour title at the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
“To see my name on the Porsche European Open trophy with all the legends of golf is a dream,” said Kieffer. “Expectations at a home tournament are different, but it’s a great atmosphere that I’m really looking forward to.”
Yannik Paul secured his maiden title at the Mallorca Golf Open as he finished one stroke ahead of compatriot Nicolai von Dellingshausen and Englishman Paul Waring at Golf San Muntaner.
Paul said: “I’m really looking forward to playing in Germany again and to the seeing the many German fans. The support there is always strong, and to win a DP World Tour event at home would be very special.”
Marcel Siem, who was the last German winner on Tour before Kieffer’s victory in Czechia, put an end to his near nine-year title drought as he won the Hero Indian Open.
“Playing on a fantastic golf course in front of German fans is great,” said Siem. “When friends and family are there, it’s just like having the 12th man in football. When it’s going well, it’s awesome, but the pressure is also greater.
“The people involved in the tournament do a great job and an incredible amount of heart and soul goes into it, you can tell. It’s a perfect event for spectators and I’m looking forward to a great week.”
Nick Bachem became the latest first-time winner from Germany when he won by four strokes at the Jonsson Workwear Open in South Africa, in just his 12th start on the DP World Tour.
“My victory will make my first start as a member of the Tour at the Porsche European Open even more special,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the event, the fans and the atmosphere. The Porsche Nord Course is a big challenge, but I think we German golfers have recently shown that we are always a force to be reckoned with. The spectators can look forward to four great days.”
Tournament Director Dirk Glittenberg said: “It is great for the development of German golf, and for us as a tournament, that German players are increasingly at the forefront of the top fields of the DP World Tour and winning titles again.
“This is in line with the positive development of the Porsche European Open, which has recently established itself as an absolute live experience on a spectacular course which offers optimal conditions for spectators with its natural grandstands. The international field, in particular the German golfers, will receive terrific support again in June.”
Green Eagle is a brutal test. The tournament was won 12 month ago by Kalle Samooja but seven players withdrew and four others decided to retire, with Sebastian Garcia-Rodrigues doing so after an opening round of 88.
If you are looking for lots of birdies then you may want to give this event a miss. In 2022 the cut fell at five over par, with some big names missing the weekend.
But at the end of it all, Samooja produced a stunning final round of 64 to win and show everybody else how it should be done.
Starting the day seven shots off the lead, Samooja fired eight birdies, saving the best until last as he made back-to-back birdies at the 17th and 18th.
Samooja’s winning total, 282, was the highest on the DP World Tour last season. His final round of 64 was his only sub-par score of the week. Defending champion Marcus Armitage finished the week on 10 over par after final rounds of 78 and 77.
Victor Perez will be looking to go one better than he did 12 months ago and a win will go a long way towards securing his Ryder Cup berth. He currently sits third in the Race to Dubai and has demonstrated some consistently good form, finishing tied 28th at the Dubai Desert Classic, tied 13th at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship, tied ninth at the Italian Open and a highly impressive tied 12th at the PGA Championship.
The Frenchman is a class act with a great short game an an unflappable temperament - precisely the sort of golfer Luke Donald will want in his European team later this year.
It was won in 2015 by Thongchai Jaidee, in 2016 by Alex Levy, in 2017 by Jordan Smith, in 2018 by Richard McEvoy, in 2019 by Paul Casey, in 2021 by Marcus Armitage and last year by Kalle Samooja. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Green Eagle is a monster. It measures 7,603 yards and is a par 73. The back nine measures 4,359 yards and features four par fives. The 16th is a whopping 705 yards and is that rarest of beasts - a genuine three-shooter. Only the straights of hitters will score well here.
Victor Perez is the man to beat in Germany. He is a three-time winner on the DP World Tour who claimed the Abu Dhabi Championship in January and narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish at the PGA Championship. Look out too for a big week from Yannik Paul, who already has two runner-up finishes to his name this season.
Victor Perez. Great ball striker
Yannik Paul. Would love to do it for the home fans
Five to Follow:
Victor Perez. Can be a magician on the greens
Yannik Paul. Having a terrific season
Marcel Siem. Won the Indian Open in February
Eddie Pepperell. Finally sparked into life at the Italian Open
Wilco Nienaber. Hits the ball into the middle of next week
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