PickGuru Golf: British Masters

PickGuru Golf: British Masters

This article is part of our PickGuru Golf series.

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British Masters

For the second consecutive year Danny Willett will host the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry. The course is steeped in history, having hosted four Ryder Cups and 18 DP World Tour events over the years. After finally breaking through for his first DP World Tour win in last year's edition, Richard Bland is back to defend his title. He will be making his 500th career start this week.

Profiling the Winner

The Belfry is a par-72 that features three par-5s and three par- 3s. It is on the average end in length at just over 7,300 yards. The Belfry is a challenging course off the tee. A number of the tee shots contend with water on either side, and those without water are well-bunkered near the landing areas. Accuracy should take precedence over distance this week.

It's a visual challenge coming into the greens, which often sit at a weird angle from attack spots in the fairways. That makes the greens play a bit smaller than they actually are, putting more of an emphasis on iron play. With a lack of closely-mown areas around the greens, it may take away some of the advantage for those who typically gain strokes in the short game. The putting surfaces usually always roll quite smoothly and are relatively flat. 

This sets up to be predominately a ball striker's course due to the trouble both off the tees and into the greens. Unlike the last few weeks on the DP World Tour, we finally have a bit of course history to look back on. Players who performed well at the Belfry in last year's edition of the British Masters should be given a bit of a boost.

Category Picks

British Masters

Players Included: Laurie Canter, Lee Westwood, Richard Bland, Robert MacIntyre, Sam Horsfield

Guru Verdict: This is an interesting category considering a number of these players have been playing predominately on the PGA Tour over the last couple months. There is also a pretty clear fade in Horsfield, who has not played since Dubai due to injury. I think MacIntyre makes the most sense here considering he has run off six straight top-35 finishes. The Scot should be rested, as he will be making his first start since the Masters, where he scored a top-25 result. MacIntrye notched a T8 at the Belfry last year. 

DPWT Masters

Players Included: Adrian Meronk, Adri Arnaus, Ryan Fox, Rasmus Hojgaard, Thomas Detry

Guru Verdict: A number of players in this group are a bit too wild off the tee for my liking, and I'm pretty locked in on Meronk. He is trending up after top-3 finishes in each of his last two starts. Overall he made his last 11 cuts and tallied five top-10s over that stretch. Meronk is top-5 on the DP World Tour in birdies per round, SG: Off-the-Tee, and putts per hole. He posted a T3 at the Belfry last year. 

South African Aces

Players Included: Dean Burmester, George Coetzee, Hennie Du Plessis, Justin Harding, Oliver Bekker, Thriston Lawrence

Guru Verdict: This is an absolutely stacked group that features three of the top five players on the DP World Tour in terms of stroke average. I'm again going to go with Du Plessis, who has been crushing it through the bag this season. Du Plessis is second in stroke average, 15th in SG: Off-the-Tee, fifth in SG: Around-the-Green, 11th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 41st in putts per GIR. The South African did not finish outside the top six in his last three starts and hasn't missed a cut in his last 19 appearances. 

Euro Elite

Players Included: Adrian Otaegui, Danny Willett, Jordan Smith, Mikko Korhonen, Nicolai Hojgaard

Guru Verdict: Smith has developed into one of the best ball strikers the DP World Tour has to offer. The Englishman ranks seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee, 17th in driving accuracy, 15th in SG: Tee-to-Green and first in GIR percentage. Smith will have no issues navigating the obstacles the Belfry puts in his way from tee to green. He finished top-25 in seven of his last nine starts. 

Big Hitters

Players Included: Haotong Li, Marcus Armitage, Jason Scrivener, Romain Langasque, Victor Perez, Antoine Rozner

Guru Verdict: Interesting enough, four of the players in this group are coming off a missed cut at last week's Catalunya Championship. One of those was Armitage, who I feel confident will bounce back. The Englishman is the best ball striker in this category, ranking top-20 on Tour in SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green and GIR percentage. Armitage put together a 10-start stretch prior to last week that saw him notch seven top-20 finishes. 

Tour Legends

Players Included: Edoardo Molinari, Joost Luiten, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ross Fisher, Victor Dubuisson, Thorbjorn Olesen

Guru Verdict: I think this this category is a two-horse race between Molinari and Fisher due to their ball-striking prowess. I'm going to give the edge to Molinari, who is coming off a T6 finish last week and also was T8 at the Belfry a season ago. The Italian ranks 11th in SG: Approach, 26th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 16th in GIR percentage.

Best of British

Players Included: Andy Sullivan, Callum Shinkwin, David Horsey, James Morrison, Richie Ramsay, Matthew Jordan

Guru Verdict: There are a number of players in this category who have struggled to find consistent form in 2022. Jordan, on the other hand, has missed just one cut this year and has recorded three top-15 finishes. The Englishman is 27th this season in SG: Off-the-Tee and 32nd in sand save percentage, something that might be an underrated stat on a course with quite a few bunkers lurking around the greens. 

Ryan's Selections

British Masters: Robert MacIntyre
DPWT Masters: Adrian Meronk
South African Aces: Hennie Du Plessis
Euro Elite: Jordan Smith
Big Hitters: Marcus Armitage
Tour Legends: Edoardo Molinari
Best of British: Matthew Jordan

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf and college basketball for RotoWire since 2016. He has also written articles for ProGolfNow.com.
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