George Coetzee is my wild card pick. In a talented field he’s buried behind a lot of big names. Given his recent form, though, he’s trending to be right alongside them on the leaderboard.
If Coetzee can regroup from a disappointing last week Sunday at the Portugal Masters, he should be in good shape.
Coetzee was the only player in the top 11 in Portugal to not break par in the final round. Nonetheless, he still finished tied for seventh for his second top 10 in as many weeks (T3 at the KLM Open). His average score in that span is 67.75.
For the year, the 31-year-old owns seven top-10 finishes on the European Tour. One concern is his game has diminished against strong fields: He missed the cut in all four Rolex Series starts and at the U.S. Open. Coetzee did take T7 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February that features a similar field strength to this week.
His stats on the European Tour this year are well rounded with high marks in driving distance (No. 8, 304.6) and putts per round (No. 10, 28.8).
Coetzee is playing for the third week in a row. His results on such weeks this year read: MC, T8, MC. The hills and weather could pose an issue, but he’s played seven and six events in a row this season so this isn’t uncharted territory. Besides, you want to play as much as you can when you’re playing like Coetzee has.
If you’re looking for another dark horse, Scott Hend is also a name to consider. He doesn’t make my top 10, but he’ll be a good value play and has four top-25s in his last six starts.