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European Masters preview: 28/1 shot Antoine Rozner can shine in Switzerland

The final DP World Tour event before the end of the Ryder Cup qualification process starts in Switzerland on Thursday - the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre.

The Ryder Cup will dominate conversation at the European Masters in the beautiful Swiss Alps this week. This is the final chance for Cup hopefuls to earn an automatic spot on Luke Donald's team.

WhatEuropean Masters
WhereCrans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, Crans Montana, Switzerland
When06:40, Thursday, 31st August, 2023
How to watch          bet365 Live Golf Tracker, Sky Sports Main Event and Golf
OddsMatt Fitzpatrick 8/1, Ludvig Aberg 16/1, Nicolai Hojgaard 18/1, Adrian Meronk 20/1, Alexander Bjork 20/1, Matt Wallace 22/1, Robert MacIntyre 28/1, Antoine Rozner 28/1, Jordan Smith 30/1

The American Ryder Cup team was finalised on Tuesday, with Zach Johnson naming his six wildcard selections - Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Sam Burns. Attention has now switched to the European line-up.

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton are already assured of places on Team Europe. Robert MacIntyre and Tommy Fleetwood are also automatic qualifiers as things stand, but other players can knock them out of the qualifying spots.

Yannik Paul, Adrian Meronk, Victor Perez, Rasmus Hojgaard and Adrian Otaegui are all capable of catching MacIntyre in the European points list, while Matt Fitzpatrick can overtake Fleetwood in the European 'world list'.

The likes of Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg know they need to impress in Crans and hope for a wildcard pick - they are unable to qualify automatically - while Shane Lowry and Justin Rose are not in Switzerland. Those two experienced campaigners are also relying on a pick.

Fitzpatrick is 8/1 European Masters favourite. The Sheffield golfer will be hoping to win the tournament for a third time and secure a Ryder Cup berth in the process. Last year's US Open champion loves Crans, but may be suffering from some mental fatigue in the wake of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard are also prominent in the betting - 16/1 and 18/1 respectively - but they may find it difficult to show off their best form on a tight course.

Balls fly forever in the thin mountain air of Crans and it is easy to find trouble either side of the tree-lined fairways. It is a test of precision, patience and course-management; so aggressive youngsters like Aberg and Hojgaard may come unstuck.

Hojgaard finished third in the Czech Masters on Sunday - and Aberg was fourth - but they face a different style of golf course this week.

Course details

Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club is a 6,808-yard, par-70, with only three par-fives. 

There are seven course winners taking part this week - Miguel Angel Jimenez, Richie Ramsay, Danny Willett, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sebastian Soderberg, Rasmus Hojgaard and defending champion Thriston Lawrence. 

There has been a Tour event staged at Crans every year since 1972 (apart from 2020). The sixth and seventh are driveable par-fours. Small, firm, unreceptive greens are the main problem for the competitors. Sunny and calm weather is forecast all week.

Three to follow

Antoine Rozner

The 28/1 about consistent Frenchman Antoine Rozner has been proving understandably popular. This greens-in-regulation machine fell in love with Crans on his debut in 2021, closing with a 62 for 13th place, then he was fourth last year after another late gallop.

Rozner, 20th in the Open last month and 22nd in the Czech Masters last week, may set up the opportunity of a fourth DP World Tour title on Sunday.

Alexander Bjork

Accurate Swede Alexander Bjork has posted seven top-ten finishes on the DP World Tour this year, including second place in the Ras al Khaimah Championship, and the 20/1 chance may land an overdue victory on Sunday.

Bjork has form figures of 16-28-13-16 from his four completed tournaments at Crans and is ideally suited to the layout. He finished 14th in the Czech Masters last week.

Marcus Kinhult

The 60/1 about Marcus Kinhult may catch the eye of some punters, given how solid he has been in his last three tournaments. The Swede finished 14th in the Barbasol Championship, 20th in the Barracuda Championship, then 12th in the ISPS Handa World Invitational.

With equally solid European Masters form figures of 10-56-12-47-23, Kinhult has the makings of a serious Crans contender. The course sets up well for his style of play.

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

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