Preview and best bets for this week's Lyoness Open tournament in Austria
The European Tour heads to Austria this week for what is a fairly low-key renewal of the Lyoness Open.
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK
Last Updated: 04/06/14 5:05pm
Generally there is a dearth of star-quality in the field outside of the three markets leaders; defending champion Joost Luiten, home hero Bernd Wiesberger and the evergreen Miguel Angel Jimenez.
That said there is a former world No 1 in the field, although do not expect him to pull up any trees this week given that it is Russia's Yevgeni Kafelnikov (750/1) who topped the tennis rankings in his heyday but has proved rather less successful in his tournament golf outings.
The event, which was first held back in 1990, takes place at the Diamond Country Club in Aztenbrugg (30 miles north-west of Vienna) for the fifth consecutive year.
The 'Diamond Course' - designed by English architect Jeremy Pern - opened in 2002 and was built on a former chemical industrial site that was flattened by allied bombing raids in World War II, with many of the craters created by those attacks now transformed into grass bunkers.
Measuring in at 7,410 yards, the par 72 features plenty of hazards with water coming into play on nine holes, while the majority of greens offer relatively small targets.
With the fairways by no means expansive, driving accuracy and greens in regulation are often two of the most significant statistics to consider.
In three of the four events to be held at Diamond CC scoring has gone pretty deep with Jose Manuel Lara (2010) and Joost Luiten (2013) both finishing on -17 when they won and Bernd Wiesberger reaching -19 in his popular victory on home soil in 2012. In 2011 Kennie Ferrie needed only -12 as he, like Lara, triumphed in a play-off.
Round 1 tee-times
Starting at hole 1
0740 Jake Roos (Rsa), Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe)
0750 Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Dodge Kemmer (USA)
0800 Tyrrell Hatton, Kevin Phelan (USA), Tjaart Van Der Walt (Rsa)
0810 Nacho Elvira (Spa), Damien McGrane, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg)
0820 Scott Henry, Jason Knutzon (USA), Keith Horne (Rsa)
0830 Stuart Manley, Brinson Paolini (USA), Francois Calmels (Fra)
0840 Peter Lawrie, Gary Stal (Fra), Fabrizio Zanotti (Par)
0850 AdrianOtaegui (Spa), Victor Riu (Fra), Richard Bland
0900 Johan Carlsson (Swe), Mark Foster, Andreas Harto (Den)
0910 Daniel Im (USA), Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind), Jack Wilson (Aus)
0920 James Kingston (Rsa), Mark Tullo (Chi), Charles Davies (Spa)
0930 Markus Habeler (Aut), Javier Colomo (Spa), (x) Garrick Porteous
1230 Alastair Forsyth, Cyril Bouniol (Fra), Alex Haindl (Rsa)
1240 John Parry, Patrik Sjoland (Swe), Sihwan Kim (Nor)
1250 Thomas Levet (Fra), Brett Rumford (Aus), Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa)
1300 Anders Hansen (Den), Joost Luiten (Ned), Thomas Pieters (Bel)
1310 Soren Hansen (Den), Robert Rock, Soren Kjeldsen (Den)
1320 Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Tain Lee (USA), Rhys Davies
1330 Matthew Baldwin, Joachim B Hansen (Den), Brian Davis
1340 Lukas Tintera (Cze), Thomas Norret (Den), Phillip Archer
1350 Anthony Wall, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
1400 Stephen Dodd, Lloyd Kennedy, Mathias Gronberg (Swe)
1410 Lukas Lipold (Aut), Yevgeni Kafelnikov (Rus), Oliver Bekker (Rsa)
Starting at hole 10
0750 Peter Whiteford, Kenneth Ferrie, Adrien Saddier (Fra)
0800 James Morrison, Jamie McLeary, Ricardo Santos (Por)
0810 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), David Horsey, Romain Wattel (Fra)
0820 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Michael Hoey
0840 Craig Lee, Eduardo De La Riva (Spa), Florian Praegant (Aut)
0850 Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Lukas Nemecz (Aut), Johan Edfors (Swe)
0900 Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), James Heath)
0910 Georg Schultes (Ger), Jack Doherty, Gerold Folk (Aut)
0920 Alexander Kleszcz (Aut), Bernard Reiter (Aut), Rene Gruber (Aut)
0930 Andrey Pavlov (Rus), Leonhard Astl (Aut), Ross McGowan)
1230 Simon Wakefield, David Drysdale, Jens Dantorp (Swe)
1240 Petr Gal (Cze), Alexandre Kaleka (Fra), Bradley Dredge
1250 Uli Weinhandl (Aut), Andrew McArthur, Daniel Gaunt (Aus)
1300 Estanislao Goya (Arg), Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Andrew Marshall
1310 Chris Hanson, Phillip Price, Edouard Dubois (Fra)
1320 Richard Finch, Sam Walker, David Higgins
1330 Ruaidhri McGee, Florian Fritsch (Ger), Adam Gee
1340 Simon Thornton, Matthew Nixon, Robert Dinwiddie
1350 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Lee Slattery, Roope Kakko (Fin)
1400 Jordan L Smith, Moritz Mayrhauser (Aut), Peter Hedblom (Swe)
1410 Daniel Vancsik (Arg), Sam Straka (Aut), Berry Henson (USA)
Given their pedigree, it is little surprise that Luiten, Wiesberger and Jimenez (all of whom have multiple wins on Tour) start as such strong fancies at the head of the market.
The Dutchman has established himself as a top-quality performer in the past couple of seasons and has really kicked on since winning this title 12 months ago.
Having won on home soil in Holland last September, coming back to defend should not faze him and, given he still harbours realistic ambitions of making Europe's Ryder Cup team, he should have plenty of motivation in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, Wiesberger and Jimenez can expect plenty of support given the tournament is now a 'home' fixture for both.
The Austrian skipped the Nordea Masters in Sweden last week to ensure he could put in some extra practice at the venue and will fancy his chances of landing the title for the second time in three years.
For his part, Jimenez now resides in Vienna having married Austrian Susanna Styblo in May and had a hand in the design of one of the other courses at the Diamond Country Club.
You could make a convincing case for any of three, but we'll delve a little deeper in search of some value, with the first pick another multiple winner on the European circuit.
Michael Hoey has five wins in his last five years on Tour and thrives in this kind of company as witnessed by his wins in Morocco and Russia over the past couple of seasons.
A top 10 in China at the end of April and a top 20 in Sweden last week (which would have been much better were it not for a second round 75) show he is in good nick and, despite being his first visit to the course, he has the game to adapt.
Also at 33/1 is Sweden's Rikard Karlberg who has very progressive and consistent form figures of fifth, 11th, and 15th on his last three starts and a fourth-placed finish here two years ago. The improving Swede looks decent value to go well again.
Bradley Dredge has started popping up on leaderboards again after a nightmare spell with illness and injury and looks an interesting proposition at 50/1.
The Welshman - who is playing on a medical extension at present - finished top 10 in Cadiz in April and top 25 in Sweden last week, but was let down by one poor round on each occasion.
Having been sidelined for so long he has acknowledged that he still has work to do on his consistency, but this two-time winner looks to be heading in the right direction and could be worth chancing.
Another at 50/1, Scotland's Craig Lee makes appeal in this grade having left a lasting impression when battling Thomas Bjorn down the stretch at Crans last year only to come up short in a play-off.
The 37-year-old was 14th here last year and arrives in decent form following a top-20 in Sweden, he should see this as a decent chance to land a first title.
Best bets (All prices with Sky Bet)
1.5pts e.w. Michael Hoey at 33/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1.5pts e.w. Rikard Karlberg at 33/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Bradley Dredge at 50/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Craig Lee at 50/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)