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Soudal Open 2024 Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 20 May 2024

And finally, after a break of three weeks the DP World Tour arrives in Europe with the Soudal Open at Rinkven International GC in Antwerp, Belgium, and the good news is that it boasts a pretty strong field. It starts a run of tournaments in Europe that will take us through until the Andalucia Masters in October - and there are some big-money events to be played.

With the second major of the year behind us, this is an opportunity for golfers to grab valuable ranking points and climb the world rankings.

Among those in action in Antwerp are Thriston Lawrence, Adrian Otaegui, Pablo Larrazabal, Marcel Siem, Jordan Smith, Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Zander Lombard and home hopes Thomas Pielers and Nicolas Colsaerts.

These events represent wonderful opportunities for somebody to claim a maiden DP World Tour title and change their lives forever. And that is precisely what happened 12 months ago.

Sweden's Simon Forsstrom claimed his maiden DP World Tour title as he continued his love affair with Belgium by holding off countryman Jens Dantorp to win by a single shot. Forsstrom had looked on course for a straightforward victory when he made two front-nine birdies to extend his one-shot overnight lead to three at the turn.

But things began to unravel on the back nine as the 34-year-old followed up a double bogey at the 10th with a bogey on the 12th to surrender the outright lead. Dantorp then hit the front on his own after a birdie at the 13th but Forsstrom bounced back with birdies of his own at the 14th, 16th and 17th to edge back ahead.

And despite missing the fairway on the last, Forsstrom gave himself another birdie chance there before settling for a par which was good enough to bring him a first win at this level.

It secured him his playing rights for two years, although it is fair to say that he has struggled since.

There will be a huge focus on home star Pieters, who makes a rare DP World Tour appearance after defecting to LIV. 

Thomas Pieters

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

He said: "Playing in front of friends and family, the Rinkven members, young people in general, that is what excites me most about the Soudal Open. I am definitely hungry. I have never before won in Belgium, so I would obviously like to add that to my track record."

Apart from Pieters and Colsaerts, the field will include a number of young Belgian golfers, including Matthis Besard and Adrien Dumont de Chassart and Pieters is excited to see what they can do. 

He said: "I think it is wonderful that those two young talented Belgians will be there. You must not underestimate the incredible journey they have already been on. We can be proud of the Belgians performing at high level. I try to be as accessible to young players as possible, when they want tips or help. If I can contribute to adding more good Belgian players, then I’m happy to do it."

Keep an eye on Otaegui. Winner of the recent Volvo China Open, the 31-year-old Spaniard now has five DP World Tour titles to his name.

He won 11 titles in a glittering amateur career, including the 2010 British Boys Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club in Scotland, emulating his hero, Jose Maria Olazabal, whose name was etched onto the same trophy in 1983.

He played a mixture of Challenge Tour and DP World Tour events during his first few years as a professional before finishing 69th in the 2016 Race to Dubai after jointly winning the Q-School to regain his playing privileges in 2015. Otaegui enjoyed his breakthrough maiden victory at the 2017 Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play, before securing his second title when he triumphed at the inaugural Belgian Knockout at Rinkven International Golf Club in May 2018. 

The Spaniard defeated Benjamin Hebert by two shots in the final of the innovative tournament. He then stormed to victory at the 2020 Scottish Championship with a final round nine under par 63, winning his third title by four strokes and earned his fourth DP World Tour title at the 2022 Andalucia Masters. And he recently claimed the Volvo China Open.

I also fancy the chances this week of the big-hitting South African Dylan Frittelli. He turned professional in 2012, shortly after making the winning putt for The University of Texas at the NCAA Championships played at Riviera CC. He was a top 10 ranked amateur in the world when turning professional. 

He quickly gained status on the European Challenge and Sunshine Tours, winning twice on the Challenge Tour (Karnten Open & Rolex Trophy) before graduating to the DP World Tour in 2017. Frittelli claimed his first European Tour victory in 2017 at the Lyoness Open powered by ORGANIC+, after losing in a playoff weeks earlier at the Volvo China Open. Shortly after celebrating being named 2017 Graduate of the Year, he notched another win at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. After joining the PGA Tour in 2018 he won the John Deere Classic his rookie season, and managed to make the FedEx Cup five years in a row. In 2020 Frittelli finished fifth at the Masters, and the next year finished fifth at the Open Championship. Upon his return to the DP World Tour in 2024 he won the Bahrain Championship presented by Bapco Energies, his third success on the Tour. And in February 2024 he added the Bahrain Championship.

Tournament Winners:

It was won in 2022 by Sam Horsfield and in 2023 by Simon Forsstrom.

The Course:

Rinkven Golf Club is a par 71 that measures just 6,700 yards. It was designed by Paul Rolin and opened in 1981. A tree-lined layout, it features plenty of bunkers and water comes into play on several holes.

Form Guide:

Adrian Otaegui is full of confidence after his excellent performance in winning the Volvo China Open, and this is a course that will suit his game. But the player to beat is surely 2024 Bahrain Championship winner Dylan Frittelli, who hits the ball miles and is a wonderful putter.

To Win:

Dylan Frittelli. Class act

Each Way:

Adrian Otaegui. Impressive Spaniard

Five to Follow:

Dylan Frittelli. Big hitter

Adrian Otaegui. Full of confidence

Thomas Pieters. Brilliant ball striker

Zander Lombard. Underrated South African

Luke Donald. Wants to show he can still play a bit

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Tags: Golf Previews european tour dp world tour

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