The Shot Clock Masters debuts in Austria at the Diamond Country Club on Thursday and fan favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez has everything required to win a 22nd European Tour title.
In another week of innovation on the European Tour, the event in Atzenbrugg will see each player timed on every shot whilst a one-stroke penalty will be enforced every time they go over the time limit, a format that should benefit the quicker players.
Jimenez may be one of the older statesmen in the field at 54 years of age but he heads into the tournament on the back of an impressive showing at the Italian Open, where he shot an eight-under-par 63 on the final day to finish in a tie for 14th.
The Spaniard’s relaxed approach to the sport should also stand him in good stead to triumph in Austria whilst his stats on the European Tour this year make for good reading. He currently tops the Putts per GIR and Stroke Average, whilst he is fourth in scrambling.
Another player that looks good value heading into the tournament is Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen. The 27-year-old won the Turkish Airlines Challenge in April before ending up in a tie for 12th at the Belgian Knockout.
The Dane is third in the Putts per GIR stats this season, fourth on Greens in Regulation whilst he is 14th on Stroke Average, further strengthening his claims for a maiden European Tour victory.
My final choice brings up the name of Nick Cullen. The Australian, who is 61/1 to win the tournament, has been in decent form this year, having finished tied-seventh at the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open before adding a couple of top-35 finishes to that.
The 34-year-old’s putting has been fantastic so far this season and he is fourth on the European Tour’s stats for strokes gained on putting, highlighting his talent with the flat stick.
Cullen is also 20th on Greens in Regulation but, with his driver sometimes going cold during a round, backing him to top the rest of the world category, which includes 27 other players, seems the best option.
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