PickGuru Golf: Soudal Open

PickGuru Golf: Soudal Open

This article is part of our PickGuru Golf series.

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Soudal Open

The DP World Tour returns to Rinkven International for the first time since 2019, when the course hosted the Belgian Knockout for a second straight year. This week's event in Antwerp – now known as the Soudal Open – will utilize a traditional stroke play format, and this will be the last chance for a number of players to get in one final tune-up before next week's PGA Championship.

Profiling the Winner

Guido Migliozzi and Adrian Otaegui were the two champions when the Belgian Knockout – a match play event – was held at Rinkven International. This course is a tactical challenge, as it features just two par-5s and three par-3s. There are several short par-4s that will afford numerous wedge opportunities to the players. Several holes are squeezed by trees and water hazards, which will emphasize driving accuracy over distance. Most of the greens are raised above their surroundings, which will make it even more important to control distances with short irons and wedges.

Overall, we should expect some low scores at Rinkven. The weather forecast is absolutely perfect, and when you give players of this caliber a lot of wedge opportunities they will make a lot of birdies. While there are two years of course history to look back on, I'm not sure how helpful that will actually be considering the difference in format. Recent form should reign supreme this week.

Category Picks

Premium Picks

Players Included: Bernd Wiesberger, Sam Horsfield, Thomas Pieters, Ryan Fox, Thomas Detry

Guru Verdict: Pieters and Detry should know the course as well as anyone, but this isn't the type of track that matches their respective skill sets. The man I'm going with out of this category has scuffled a bit this year after a strong 2021 season, but he remains one of the higher ranked regulars on the DP World Tour. That is Wiesberger, who is fourth in SG: Approach, seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green and 13th in GIR percentage. The Austrian is accurate off the tee and has been solid around the greens. If he can get his putter to cooperate, he could be lined up for a big week at Rinkven.

Front-Runners

Players Included: Adrian Meronk, Adrian Otaegui, John Catlin, George Coetzee, Thriston Lawrence

Guru Verdict: Lawrence has been the most consistent player in this category all the way through the bag. He ranks top-50 on the DP World Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee, GIR percentage, scrambling and SG: Putting. That all adds up to his sixth-place position in stroke average. Otaegui isn't quite as good a ball striker as Lawrence, but he should have good vibes after his win here in 2018 and he has been lights out on the greens this season.

South African Elite

Players Included: Justin Harding, Oliver Bekker, Hennie Du Plessis, Daniel van Tonder, Wilco Nienaber

Guru Verdict: There are a number of players I really like in this category, but Harding is the one who stands out. He is the most accurate player off the tee in this group and is also top-25 in SG: Tee-to-Green, SG: Around-the-Green, scrambling and putts per GIR. A course with 13 par-4s should do wonders for Harding, who is sixth in par-4 scoring average on the DP World Tour. He has a whopping eight top-25s in just 10 starts in 2022.

Franglais

Players Included: Callum Shinkwin, Victor Perez, Richard Mansell, Matthew Jordan, Antoine Rozner

Guru Verdict: This category features some players who have been scuffling, but I like what I have seen this season from Mansell, who is coming off a T8 finish at the British Masters. The Englishman ranks second in SG: Off-the-Tee, 10th in GIR percentage and 38th in SG: Tee-to-Green. Perez isn't a bad choice either due to his usually consistent iron play.

Contenders

Players Included: Ashun Wu, Haotong Li, Joachim Hansen, Richie Ramsay, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Alexander Bjork

Guru Verdict: Consistent results have been hard to come by this season for the players in this group. From a statistical perspective, Wu is the best choice. He ranks top-25 in stroke average, par-4 scoring average, SG: Approach and SG: Putting. Ashun has totaled seven top-30 finishes this season, including his win at the Magical Kenya Open.

Outsiders

Players Included: Edoardo Molinari, Fabrizio Zanotti, JC Ritchie, Jazz Janewattananond, Hurly Long, Guido Migliozzi

Guru Verdict: Migliozzi was the winner of the last DP World Tour event held at Rinkven International, but he has struggled mightily in 2022. A player who is on the rise is Ritchie, who finished outside the top 26 just once in his last 10 starts. The South African ranks top-15 on Tour in stroke average, birdie average, SG: Approach, SG: Around-the-Green, SG: Tee-to-Green and putts per GIR. Those are all very encouraging numbers for Ritchie's prospects.

Ryan's Selections

Premium Picks: Bernd Wiesberger
Front-Runners: Thriston Lawrence
South African Elite: Justin Harding
Franglais: Richard Mansell
Contenders: Ashun Wu
Outsiders: JC Ritchie

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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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