PickGuru Golf: Cazoo Classic

PickGuru Golf: Cazoo Classic

This article is part of our PickGuru Golf series.

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Cazoo Classic

The DP World Tour heads to Hillside Golf Club in England for the second annual Cazoo Classic. This event represents a revival of the English Open, which was first hosted in 1988 and ran until 2002. Past winners of the English Open include Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, and Darren Clarke. None of these former champions are in the field this week, though.

Profiling the Winner

The Cazoo Classic is changing courses this year after being contested at the London Golf Club in 2021. The par-72 Hillside GC layout tips at just 7,029 yards and will be one of the shortest tracks players see in Europe all season. Hillside is a traditional links layout, so players who qualified for the Genesis Scottish Open and/or Open Championship will have a slight advantage with respect to strategy. The defending champion is Callum Hill, who won by one stroke over Alexander Levy last year with a four-day total of 16-under par. This year's field is headlined by Robert MacIntyre, Adrian Otaegui, Oliver Bekker, and Edoardo Molinari.

Weather conditions call for a mixture of sun and rain in the Merseyside area this week, and the wind isn't expected to be any more of a factor than usual. Firm turf conditions - similar to the ones St Andrews exhibited last week - are in play and will permit a short golf course to play even shorter. Any added moisture will likely lead to lower scores, as players become more aggressive in softer conditions. Given this combination, a winning score of 20-under par or better wouldn't be completely surprising. As with most links events, the weather will largely determine how difficult the course plays.

Category Picks

Premium Picks

Players Included: Robert MacIntyre, Adrian Otaegui, Oliver Bekker, Romain Langasque, Thriston Lawrence

Guru Verdict: Lawrence enters in excellent form and is fresh off a strong performance at the Open Championship. He carded a four-day total of 6-under par at St Andrews, good enough for a T42 finish. Prior to that, Lawrence finished T3 at the Irish Open and T24 at the Scottish Open. He now has two consecutive weeks of links golf under his belt, so he should be plenty comfortable in his surroundings. MacIntyre also fared well at St Andrews and will head to England with some confidence.

Front-Runners

Players Included: Richard Mansell, Richie Ramsay, Edoardo Molinari, Antoine Rozner, Thorbjorn Olesen

Guru Verdict: Mansell has been one of the more consistent players in Europe in recent months and will use his length to his advantage. He made the cut comfortably at the Open Championship and has not missed a cut on the DP World Tour this season. The  Englishman will try to channel some home-court advantage this week at Hillside and claim a third top-10 in five events. Rozner has played a relatively light European schedule but has also played well when he has teed it up.

Good Chances

Players Included: Jorge Campillo, Matthew Jordan, Jens Dantorp, Alexander Bjork, Marcus Armitage

Guru Verdict: Jordan is another Englishman who could challenge this week on his home turf. He will likely be familiar with the course and conditions, and he finished T47 at this event last year. The 26-year-old is one of the longer hitters on the DP World Tour, and if conditions are firm, he may be one of the players that goes very low this week. If looking for a player with better recent results, Armitage stands out in this group.

Challengers 

Players Included: Sami Valimaki, Ross Fisher, JC Ritchie, Takumi Kanaya, Sihwan Kim

Guru Verdict: Englishmen playing on their home soil looks to be the theme of the week, as Fisher gets the nod here. Although he missed his past two cuts in Europe, the 41-year-old has had a very respectable season and lays claim to three top-15 finishes on the year. Fisher is one of the best ball strikers on Tour, ranking sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Contenders

Players Included: Niall Kearney, Sean Crocker, Bio Kim, Marcus Kinhult, Darius van Driel

Guru Verdict: Crocker has really rounded into form lately after a tough start to his DP World Tour season. He missed his first five cuts but has since played the weekend in six straight starts. These results include a T13 at the Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour and a T7 at the Soudal Open. It would not be surprising to see Crocker post another strong finish this week in England. Kearney hasn't played all that often but has made four cuts in five attempts this season.

Outsiders

Players Included: Jamie Lovemark, Matthew Southgate, Stuart Manley, Josh Geary, Wilco Nienaber

Guru Verdict: Nienaber has played some quality golf this season and feels like a player who could score well in England. He currently ranks fifth on the DP World Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee and can utilize his length and creativity to navigate a tricky links layout. He is also one of the best scramblers in Europe, which can be extremely helpful in firm, fast conditions. Southgate has played relatively well recently and has the experience and game to contend here.

Wild Cards

Players Included: Lukas Nemecz, Jack Senior, Masahiro Kawamura, Julien Guerrier, Daniel Hillier

Guru Verdict: Senior experienced a heart-wrenching finish a few weeks ago at the Horizon Irish Open, as he started the final round in the final group but carded a disastrous 79 on Sunday to finish T37. The nerves of a 54-hole lead clearly affected Senior quite a bit, as he looked to be in complete control of his game from Thursday through Saturday. He should learn from the experience and try to wind up in the winner's circle close to home. Kawamura has had some nice showings lately and could make some noise in England.

Joe's Selections

Premium Picks: Thriston Lawrence
Front Runners: Richard Mansell
Good Chances: Matthew Jordan
Challengers: Ross Fisher
Contenders: Sean Crocker
Outsiders: Wilco Nienaber
Wild Cards: Jack Senior

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joseph Szmadzinski
Joseph Szmadzinski is a golf and soccer contributor. He played golf at Bucknell University (2013). When not at the office, he enjoys spending time on the golf course, playing tennis and watching whatever games are on.
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