The European Tour heads to the Albatross Golf Resort for the D+D Real Czech Masters this week as the Ryder Cup automatic qualification deadline looms closer
Thomas Pieters is the bookies favourite to win on the European Tour this week, but there's a lot more at stake for him than just a title.
2015 Czech Masters champion Pieters, who was Europe's top point scorer in 2016 at the Ryder Cup with four wins out of five, is hoping to secure one of Captain Thomas Bjorn's picks for the contest in September. However, despite two top 6s in his last three starts he's got a lot of big names and former teammates to contend with, and is in need of a few more solid results.
Thorbjorn Olesen, who finished in the top five at last week's Nordea Masters, succeeded in pushing out Ian Poulter for the final European qualifying spot but isn't playing this week, so there's an opportunity for those playing in both European and USA to make their move.
But who should you back this week?
Czech Masters: How to watch
Sky Sports Golf (10:00), Sky Sports Main Event (10:20), Sky Sports Golf (14:00), Sky Sports Main Event (14:00)
Sky Sports Golf (10:00), Sky Sports Golf (14:00), Sky Sports Main Event (15:50)
Sky Sports Golf (13:00)
Sky Sports Golf (12:00)
Betting Tips: Czech Masters
Thomas Pieters: 6/1
Honestly, it's hard to look past Thomas Pieters in the current form he's in as he searches for a Ryder Cup wildcard pick. He's turned his season around and not only has he gone T6-T28-T6 in his last three starts but he was the 2015 Champion here and 2nd in 2016.
Eddie Pepperell: 16/1
A really good chance to do well here. Two top five finishes (in 2014 and 2017) at the Czech Masters are sandwiched between a T22 ('15) and MC ('16). Pepperell finished T59 at the PGA Championship but was T6 at The Open and 2nd at the Scottish Open in his previous two starts, his best results since claiming his first European Tour title at the Qatar Masters in February.
Dean Burmester: 22/1
Returning for his first start on Tour since a T9 at the Scottish Open (one of three top 10s this year), and while that signifies around 5 weeks away Paul Waring hadn't teed up since Scotland either before he won last week. Finished T14 here last year and T35 on his debut in 2016.
It's been a difficult road for Willett after winning the Masters in 2016, but having navigated his way through injury seems to be playing well again. Despite a missed cut at the PGA Championship he'd gone T6-T19-T24 in his previous three starts, and was T13 the last time he teed up here in 2014.
Lucas Herbert: 35/1
Herbert hasn't finished worse than T29 in his last three starts, the most recent being a 5th place finish at last week's Nordea Masters. This is his debut at the Czech Masters but he's had three other top 10s this year, and ranks inside the top 20 on the European Tour for birdie average.
Hadyn Porteous: 35/1
The defending champion might just be hitting form at the right time. He'd had a year of disappointing results with just one top 20 in 2018 until a T6 at last week's Nordea Masters.
Lee Slattery: 45/1
Slattery finished T10 at the Nordea Masters last week after a run of missed cuts, which was just his second top 10 of the year. However, given he finished second here last year his recent result makes him a good outside bet.
David Lipsky: 55/1
Lipsky is second to Pieters in birdies made around this course over the last four years, finishing T19 in 2014, T22 in 2015 and 6th in 2016 before a DQ last year. Ended a run of missed cuts with a T18 in his last start at the Porsche European Open, so could well be another good week here for the American.