The KLM Open keeps the current run of high quality tournaments on the European Tour going this week. As with last week’s Porsche European Open, some big names from the PGA Tour are teeing it up amongst a selection of up and coming talent and household names from the European Tour.
We have a brand new venue this week in the form of The International. Set next to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, The International could provide the most experienced players with a chance to shine as they work out the new venue quicker than their less experienced rivals. Sergio Garcia is as experienced as anybody in the field and could find that his game is well suited to the test ahead so a win could well be on the cards for the Spaniard.
The addition of a new course to the European Tour is always exciting. That happens quite often art the KLM Open which visits many of the very best courses that Holland has to offer. Time will tell whether The International deserves a place alongside The Dutch, Kennemer and Hilversumsche which between them have hosted the last 17 editions of the KLM Open.
A new course does make things that bit tougher for the players (and those looking to have a bet on the tournament). Whilst much will become clear about The International as the tournament progresses we do know that it is a rather unique layout in that it measures just under 7,000 yards and plays to a par of 73. With that short yardage coming on a course with five par fives golf fans should be expecting some low scoring this week.
|The International||Amsterdam, The Netherlands||6,966 Yards||€2,000,000|
An event which changes host venue regularly will always produce different winners but it’s interesting to note the number of established European Tour stars who have played well at recent editions of the KLM Open. Joost Luiten, Thomas Pieters, Paul Casey and Wu Ashun were all European Tour winners before landing this title. They pipped other players with bags of experience to the title so Romain Wattel’s 2017 win stands out a little as it was his first European Tour title and he largely beat others looking to break their duck.
|Year||Winner||Course||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2018||Wu Ashun||The Dutch||-16||1 Stroke|
|2017||Romain Wattel||The Dutch||-15||1 Stroke|
|2016||Joost Luiten||The Dutch||-19||3 Strokes|
|2015||Thomas Pieters||Kennemer||-19||1 Stroke|
|2014||Paul Casey||Kennemer||-14||1 Stroke|
Analysis: Technique and Accuraccy to be Key
As stated above, this is the first edition of the KLM Open at The International which makes it tough to profile a winner. The two senior Dutch Opens which were held at this venue were badly affected by the weather so it’s unlikely to be quite as tough for those in the field this week, especially as there’s little wind in the forecast.
The nature of this course suggests that accuracy off the tee and into the greens is going to be keen. Distance is clearly not the number one defence so it’s what players do with their approach shots and on the greens that will have most impact. With that said, the five par fives give longer hitters a chance to boost their scores by picking up birdies and eagles.
Garcia to Give Dubai Hopes a Chance
2019 has not been a vintage year for Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard has made headlines for the wrong reasons with his behaviour on the golf course at times whilst results have not been where he would have hoped at the start of the season. Garcia still has the chance to end on a high though with the huge upcoming tournaments and the culmination of the Race to Dubai.
Garcia’s best performances this year have come at courses which allow him to make the most of his iron play brilliance. He is one of the greatest ball strikers of his generation and should be able to find the right part of the fairways off the tee at The International before following up with world class approach shots. If his putter behaves, Garcia can add a 16th European Tour title to his resume at 16/1 with bet365.
Donaldson Can Continue Working His Way Back Up the Rankings
Jamie Donaldson famously hit the shot that won the 2014 Ryder Cup for Europe. That was just one of a number of highlights for the Welshman but he has found life on the golf course much tougher in recent years. Donaldson headed into the Scottish Open well outside of the world’s top 1,000 players having reached a career high ranking of 23.
Thankfully for his many fans, Donaldson has started to right the ship. He almost halved his world ranking by finishing in the top 10 at Scotland and has since followed that up with a fifth place finish at the Scandinavian Invitation. Following another good display of ball striking and all round play in Crans Montana, Donaldson is feeling good about his game and could have what it takes to contend for the KLM Open at 80/1 with BetVictor.
Final Verdict: Sergio Garcia to Win
Sergio Garcia and Jamie Donaldson were teammates in the 2014 Ryder Cup and both have amassed a huge amount of experience all around the world during their careers. They’ll need to lean into that experience as the tackle The International for the first time but both will be expecting to be in contention come Sunday. Garcia gets the nod for a straight win bet at 16/1 with bet365 whilst there’s plenty of juice in Donaldson’s price of 80/1 for each way punters.
About the KLM Open
The KLM Open, which was previously known as the Dutch Open, is played annually on the European Tour in the Netherlands. The tournament was founded in 1912 and has been a European Tour event since the tour was created in 1972. It has been played at various venues around the country and has seen winners from all around the globe.
The competition has had various sponsors over the years, with Dutch airline company KLM sponsoring the event from 2004. TNT, Sun Microsystems and Heineken have also sponsored this European Tour tournament in the past.
The Various Homes of the KLM Open
As mentioned, the KLM Open has taken place at a whole host of venues throughout its existence. Hilversumsche Golf Club in North Holland has hosted the most Dutch Opens, with 30 to its name. It was also held at Royal Haagsche Golf and Country Club 20 times in the country’s governmental home The Hague, with the last of those being in 1981.
Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Zandvoort has been the tournament’s home on 23 occasions. The event has also been held in Utrecht, Amsterdam and Eindhoven, among other places in the Netherlands.
|Times Held at Venue||Tournament Locations|
|30||Hilversumsche Golf Club (Hilversum)|
|23||Kennemer Golf & Country Club (Zandvoort)|
|20||Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club (The Hague)|
|9||Noordwijkse Golf Club (Noordwijk)|
|6||Eindhovensche Golf (Eindhoven)|
|3||Utrechtse Golf Club (Utrecht), The Dutch (Spijk)|
|2||Golfclub Toxandria (Breda)|
|1||Doornsche Golf Club (Utrecht), Domburgsche Golfclub (Domburg), Rosendaelsche Golfclub (Arnhem), The International (Amsterdam)|
Lafeber Wins on Home Turf in 2003
The first Dutchman to win the Dutch Open was Gerry del Court van Krimpen way back in 1915, which was the second ever event. However, since the tournament became a European Tour event, the Dutch supporters have not seen many home winners.
No players from Holland won this Open until Eindhoven man Maarten Lafeber prevailed in 2003. Lafeber beat Swede Mathias Gronberg and Dane Soren Hansen by a stroke to win his one and only European Tour competition. He wasn’t the last man from the Netherlands to win the even though.
Luiten’s Two Victories
Ten years after Lafeber became the first Dutch winner since Joop Ruhl’s victory in 1947, the Netherlands fans celebrated another home winner in 2013. This time, Joost Luiten ran out as the winner in a playoff at Kennemer. He was pushed all the way by Miguel Angel Jimenez, but Luiten held his nerve in the playoff to come out on top.
Three years after his victory at Kennemer, Luiten was KLM Open champion once again. It was less stressful for Joost this time, as the Dutchman posted an impressive score of 265 (19 under par) to secure a three-stroke success over Austrian Bernd Wiesberger. At the time of writing, Luiten remains the last player from Holland to win this tournament.
Dyson Wins Three of Six
York-born Simon Dyson won six European Tour events during his career, with three of those victories coming on Dutch soil. Since 1972, Dyson has the joint best record in the KLM Open, with greats of the game Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer also picking up three wins each.
Dyson’s first two wins were at Kennemer, beating Richard Green in a playoff in 2006 before needing another playoff to see off Peter Hedblom and Peter Lawrie in 2009. Dyson’s third victory was a single-stroke triumph over fellow English player David Lynn at Hilversumsche in 2011. To date, Dyson’s three KLM victories represent half of his European Tour win, with the Indonesian Open (2006), the Alfred Dunhill Link Championship (2009) and the Irish Open (2011) being the other three.
Garcia Wins the 100th Open
The 100th version of the KLM Open was won by the great Sergio Garcia in 2019. In the first Open to be held at The International course in the capital, Garcia picked up his first KLM Open win.
Sergio held his nerve at the end of a thrilling tournament to beat Danish man Nicolai Hojgaard by a stroke in Amsterdam. It was his first European Tour victory since winning the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in October 2018.
The man from Borriol, Castellón has won plenty of tournaments over the years but at the time of writing he still, surprisingly given his immense talent, only has one major to his name: the Masters from 2017.
Winners From Far and Wide
As with many European Tour events, the KLM Open has seen winners from many countries around the world. One of the more far flung destinations from which a winner has originated is China, with Wu Ashun winning here in 2019. That victory made him the first Chinese player to have won three tournaments on the European Tour (having already won the China Open and the Lyoness Open in 2016).
Argentina might not be a country exactly renowned for its golfing prowess, but it has produced three winners of this tournament over the years: Roberto De Vincenzo in 1950, Antonio Cerda in 1956, and Vincente Fernandez in 1970.