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British Masters preview: Swedish ace to hit the right note

The British Masters heads to The Belfry this week for the third-straight year and there has been some extra sparkle added to the DP World Tour field with Justin Rose teeing it up.

Former world number one Rose landed his first victory for over four years at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour in February and he is the 9/1 favourite to claim the spoils in Warwickshire.

Joining the Englishman in the field is Australian Min Woo Lee, who has been making a name for himself on the US circuit and is priced at 12/1 to claim his third DP World Tour title.

Poland's Adrian Meronk triumphed for the third time on the DP circuit last month, winning the Italian Open by a stroke, and he can be backed at 12/1 to take another giant step forward in his burgeoning career.

Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen lifted the trophy last year after a spectacular finish and he is 33/1 to become the first player since Greg Norman in 1982 to successfully defend his crown.

WhatBritish Masters
 
WhereThe Belfry, Warwickshire
 
WhenThursday 29th June - Sunday 2nd July
 
How to watchbet365 Live Golf Tracker & Sky Sports Golf
 
OddsJustin Rose 9/1, Min Woo Lee 12/1, Adrian Meronk 12/1, Jordan Smith 18/1, Alexander Bjork 25/1, Robert MacIntyre 30/1

Given the amount of water that comes into play and the heavy bunkering on the back nine, a solid ball-striker is required to negotiate this tricky assignment.

Accuracy from tee-to-green is essential and any wayward shots, especially on the tighter front nine, could see some big numbers posted. Should a player get into any trouble on approach, they will need their short-game to be in fine fettle to avoid dropping shots.

Last year's champion Olesen was eighth in scrambling, third in strokes gained: putting and 11th in SG: approach, and these three areas could prove pivotal again this week.

British Masters course details

The Belfry has three 18-hole courses on site - the PGA National, Derby and the Brabazon - but it is the latter that is used for the major events with the Ryder Cup in 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002 staged on it.

Measuring 7,336 yards, the Brabazon is a par-72 that boasts three par-fives, 12 par-fours and three par-threes. There are some particularly bruising par-fours on this course, while two of the par-fives are over 560 yards in length.

Three to follow

Alexander Bjork

World number 106 Alexander Bjork has been in solid form of late, recording four top-10 finishes from his last five starts, and his game looks in great shape to deliver a second DP World Tour title.

The Swede has been hitting the ball true and straight off the tee, as he ranks eighth in driving accuracy, while a ranking of ninth in SG: approach and 17th in greens in regulation further enhances his claims.

It is not just the long game that has been on song this season, the 33-year-old is also third in scrambling and is in the top 10 for both putts per GIR and SG: putting.

Bjork, who is also fifth in par-four scoring, should be right in the thick of it come the final round on Sunday and is worth considering at a healthy 25/1.

Yannik Paul

At a slightly bigger price of 35/1 is Yannik Paul, who finished 16th in this event last year and doesn't appear far away from landing his second DP title after breaking his duck at the Mallorca Golf Open in October 2022.

The German heads into this event off the back of a third-place finish at the Scandinavian Mixed - his third top five of the season - and he has also been ranking highly in categories crucial to success at The Belfry.

Paul is fifth in SG: approach, 15th in GIR and eighth in scrambling, so this bodes well for his chances of claiming the spoils and also getting himself into the Ryder Cup conversation for the event at Marco Simone GC later this year.

JC Ritchie

At a juicy 125/1 JC Ritchie looks like a decent each-way punt, even if his season has largely been a disappointment with a T11 at the Magical Kenya Open his best finish amidst a raft of missed cuts.

Sometimes the form book can be thrown away and this was shown with both of last week's winners, with Thriston Lawrence winning on the DP Tour after back-to-back missed cuts and Keegan Bradley coming out on top on the PGA Tour despite having failed to record a top 10 finish since March.

Ritchie had missed three straight cuts before a T31 at the BMW International Open last week and that performance may just be the confidence boost he needs to get his campaign back on track.

The South African ace's long game has actually been in good shape. He is second in strokes gained: tee to green, 31st in approach and sixth in SG: around the green.

It is the putter that has been misbehaving, but if he can extract any improvement from the flat stick then he could have a big say in this event at huge odds.

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