The US Open provided a brief hiatus in the top level golf being played in Europe but it is straight back to action this week with the BMW International Open. The strength of the field for this well-supported event is evident by the presence of 17 players who competed at Pebble Beach last week including defending champion and bookies’ favourite Matt Wallace.
Wallace is a danger wherever he plays and will get a lot of respect from the fans in Munich. That will be nothing compared to the backing that Martin Kaymer gets though and there is a real chance that he can reward the home fans for their support with a hugely popular win.
Hosting duties for the BMW International Open are shared by two courses. After Matt Wallace saw off a strong challenge at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof last year, the tournament switches from Cologne to Munich and Golfclub München Eichenried. This course is used to hosting the best European golfers and those who turn up this week know they’ll find the course in tip top condition as ever but they will have to get used to newly laid Bentgrass greens.
The new greens may take away the advantage that some of those with previous experience of München Eichenried would otherwise have had. The real advantage, however, should lie with those who pull off an aggressive game plan as the par fives are relatively easy to reach in two shots and many of the par fours will play under par for the week.
|Golfclub München Eichenried||Munich, Germany||7,181 Yards||€2,000,000|
The nature of the split hosting duties for the BMW International Open makes it even tougher for defending champions to retain their crown at this event. Matt Wallace has shown he has the ability to contend whenever he competes but he would be the first man to defend his title in the history of this tournament. Multiple champions are far from rare though as both Henrik Stenson in 2016 and Pablo Larrazabal in 2015 were winning the BMW International Open for the second time.
|Year||Winner||Course||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2018||Matt Wallace||Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof||-10||1 Stroke|
|2017||Andres Romero||Golfclub München Eichenried||-17||1 Stroke|
|2016||Henrik Stenson||Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof||-17||3 Strokes|
|2015||Pablo Larrazabal||Golfclub München Eichenried||-17||1 Stroke|
|2014||Fabrizio Zanotti||Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof||-19||Playoff|
Analysis: Conditions to Help Lower Scoring
Last year’s winning score of -10 was the worst ever in the BMW International Open. This is traditionally a tournament at which players need a huge number of birdies and even the odd eagle to win and we should see a return to low scoring this week. Not only is this a high calibre field but there’s rain in the forecast for the first three days of play. If the new greens do get receptive this class of player will have no problem firing in the birdies so expect another low winning total.
Kaymer Can Go Low Enough
Martin Kaymer’s return to form over the last few months has been especially well received in Germany as you might expect. German golf fans are very proud of Kaymer and his achievements and the galleries this week will be keen to do all they can to get their man over the line in what would be his first win since the 2014 US Open.
There were times at which it looked as though Kaymer was losing his ability to compete at this level but he never pressed the panic button and instead did all he could to get back to where he belongs. That approach nearly bore fruit at the Memorial but he was just unable to keep up the pace on the final day. He’ll be in no doubt that it takes relentless good scoring to win have any chance of winning the BMW International Open which could actually reduce the pressure on his shoulders so back Kaymer to return to winning ways in front of his adoring German fans at 16/1 with bet365.
Paisley to Enjoy Himself Again
Chris Paisley has very much enjoyed the European Tour’s return to European shores. The Englishman didn’t have his best stuff at the British Masters but went close to victory at the Made In Denmark then topped the stroke play element of the Belgian Knockout. These strong recent showings are the result of a lot of hard work over the last few months which could end up with a second European Tour win sooner rather than later.
Paisley is certainly feeling better about his game then when he last made the trip to Golfclub München Eichenried. He missed the cut but showed his suitability to the course three years earlier with a third place finish. With his game in very good shape, Paisley should be able to use his happy memories of this course to claim at least an each way play at 50/1 with Betfair.
Final Verdict: Martin Kaymer to Win
Chris Paisley represents very good each way value in the betting for the BMW International Open but it’s Martin Kaymer who looks the most likely tournament winner at 16/1 with bet365. He is finally happy about the levels of his game so can maximise the support of the German crowds to win this title just like he did in 2008.
About the BMW International Open
The BMW International Open has been around since 1989. For a time, it was the only German event played on the European Tour. The competition is also the longest running professional golf tournament in Germany.
The BMW International Open has been won by several big names over the years. The first event back in 1989 was won by Northern Ireland’s David Feherty, who beat American Fred Couples by five strokes. The likes of Paul Azinger, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson have all won this event. Up to and including the 2019 tournament, this had only been won by a German player one: Martin Kaymer in 2008.
Four Tied with Two Wins Each
Four players have won the BMW International Open on multiple occasions. The first to do it was American Paul Azinger, who won two of the opening four tournaments on German grass. Since Azinger’s double, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, Pablo Larrazabal from Spain and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson have each secured two titles apiece.
After Northern Irishman David Feherty kicked things off with a five-stroke victory in 1989, it was a lot tighter a year later; in 1990 Azinger sealed his first win with a playoff success over Feherty, denying the man from Bangor back-to-back victories. Azinger also needed a playoff to win the trophy for a second time, seeing off Glen Day, Anders Forsbrand, Mark James and home favourite Bernhard Langer in 1992.
Germany Finally Gets a Home Winner
Bernhard Langer is second on the all-time list of European Tour winners with 42 titles to his name, with only the great Seve Ballesteros ahead of him. But the German two-time US Masters winner had terrible luck in this tournament, finishing as the runner-up (or joint runner-up) in 1992, 1995, 2000, 2002 and 2007.
When Czech/German Alex Cejka finished three strokes behind Lee Westwood to take the silver medal in 2003, the German faithful must have thought they’ve never get a home winner to cheer. But they finally got what they wanted when Martin Kaymer from Dusseldorf lifted the trophy in 2008. In the process, Kaymer became the youngest ever BMW International Open winner. It went to the wire in Munich, but Kaymer kept his head to get the better of Dane Anders Hansen in a playoff. He has since gone on to win the US PGA Championship (in 2010) and the US Open (in 2014).
Monty Prevails in ’99
Colin Montgomerie has won a significant number of tournaments during his illustrious career, and is fourth on the all-time list of European Tour winners with 31 to his name… including the BMW International Open. Monty’s one and only victory in this event came in 1999, as the Scot hit 268 to beat Ireland’s Padraig Harrington by three strokes.
Monty had an outstanding year in 1999, winning five European Tour competitions along with the Cisco World Match Play Championship. Before his BMW International Open success in Germany in August 1999, Montgomerie had picked up the Benson & Hedges International Open, the Volvo PGA Championship, the Standard Life Loch Lomond and the Volvo Scandinavian Masters.
British Winners of the BMW International Open
Aside from Montgomerie, there have been nine other British winners of this tournament, up to and including the 2019 event. The most impressive from a score point of view was David Howell’s win in 2005 when the man from Swindon shot a fantastic score of 265 over the four rounds, an impressive 23 shots below par.
|Year||British Winners||Score (To Par)|
|2018||Matt Wallace (England)||278 (-10)|
|2012||Danny Willett (England)||277 (-11)|
|2010||David Horsey (England)||270 (-18)|
|2009||Nick Dougherty (England)||266 (-22)|
|2005||David Howell (England)||265 (-23)|
|2003||Lee Westwood (England)||269 (-19)|
|1999||Colin Montgomerie (Scotland)||268 (-20)|
|1998||Russell Claydon (England)||270 (-18)|
|1991||Sandy Lyle (Scotland)||268 (-20)|
|1989||David Feherty (Northern Ireland)||269 (-19)|
Daly’s Sensational 27 Under Par
The aforementioned score of 23 under par by David Howell was impressive, but it is not the best that has been achieved in this tournament (as of the 2019 edition). Even the 24 under par scores achieved by Thomas Bjorn in 2002 and Robert Karlsson in 1997 are not the best seen here.
That honour goes to the inimitable John Daly, whose astounding score of 261 in 2001 remains the tournament record (as of the 2019 event). Despite his stunning score, Daly finished just a single stroke ahead of Padraig Harrington in what was a truly memorable BMW International Open.
Daly was superb at Munchen Eichenried, securing the last of his three European Tour victories in style. Daly finished a phenomenal 27 under par to win his one and only BMW International Open. Incidentally, Harrington finished runner-up in this event on three occasions, to Daly in 2001, two years earlier to Colin Montgomerie, and to Henrik Stenson in 2006.
Stenson’s Second Victory Ten Years On
As mentioned, Swedish star Henrik Stenson is one of only four men to have won the BMW International Open on more than one occasion. However, after his first win in 2006, it took Stenson 10 years to reclaim his crown on German soil.
Henrik is a crowd favourite at the BMW International Open, and the superb Swede has certainly given the German spectators plenty to shout about over the years. Stenson’s first victory in 2006 was a playoff triumph over Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen and though the final score of 15 under par was not one of the most outstanding we’ve seen, it was a very exciting tournament for the spectators.
Leading up to his second win in 2016, the man from Gothenburg finished runner-up in 2014 and 2015. Stenson was not to be denied in 2016, though, sealing his second BMW International Open title by finishing three shots ahead of Darren Fichardt and Thorbjorn Olesen posting a score of 271 in the process (17 under par).