Soudal Open - DP World Tour: Preview

01 June 2022 22:18:05 GMTPlus10
Belgian ace Thomas Pieters will be hoping for success on home soil

The DP World Tour returns to Belgium for the first time since 2019 to contest the Soudal Open and there is a strong field gathering for the event at Rinkven International in Antwerp.

No less than 156 players will be teeing it up over the first two days of action before the top 65 and ties then head into the weekend, and you can follow all the action on our Live Golf Tracker.

A return to Belgium also sees the tournament revert back to the traditional 72-hole stroke play format, having introduced 36 holes of stroke play before nine-hole medal match play over the weekend in the 2018 and 2019 Belgian Knockout.

Pieters has home advantage

Ranked 36th in the world, home favourite Thomas Pieters - priced at 16/1 to win the event - is the highest ranked player in the field and he is one of 11 Ryder Cup players participating this week.

Fellow Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (125/1), Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (18/1), Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello (70/1), Englishman Andy Sullivan (125/1) and victorious 2018 captain Thomas Bjorn (500/1) are also taking part.

There are also spots in the field for Italian Edoardo Molinari (40/1), Victor Dubuisson (100/1), Jamie Donaldson, Stephen Gallacher and David Howell.

Poland's Adrian Meronk has threatened to make his DP World Tour breakthrough this season and he is 22/1 to come out on top, while New Zealand's Ryan Fox and England's Sam Horsfield are both looking to add a third title on this circuit to their collection.

Rinkven International course details

This will be the third time the Rinkven International has hosted a DP World Tour event, having been the venue for the 2018 and 2019 Belgian Knockout,  while it also staged the 2010 Telenet Trophy on the Challenge Tour and the 2005 European Amateur Championship.

Standing at 6,924 yards, this is a par-71 course that has two par-fives, 13 par-fours and three par-threes. It is by no means a beast of a track, especially given the fact six of the par-four holes are sub-400 yards, and it could prove to be a birdie-fest over the four days.

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Three to follow

Hurly Long

One of Germany's rising stars right now is Hurly Long and the one-time Challenge Tour winner has been threatening to make his DP World Tour breakthrough this season, having recorded two top-five and three top-10 finishes.

The 26-year-old, tied sixth on his last outing at The Belfry, averages a touch over 318 yards off the tee and, potentially crucially, he has been impressing with the flat stick. He is 13th in strokes gained: putting, seventh in putts per GIR and sixth in putts per round and is 66/1 to claim the spoils.

Gavin Green

Another player that has been wielding the putter with success this season is Gavin Green, who is fourth in strokes gained: putting and had a strong T5 finish at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the end of March.

The Malaysian also has good experience of playing at Rinkven, as he was tied-eighth in the stroke play section of the 2018 Belgian Knockout and tied-seventh in the 2019 edition over the opening 36 holes, and he could challenge at odds of 110/1.

Thomas Bjorn

One final player to watch out for is world number 1311 Thomas Bjorn, who has been playing some decent golf lately and is 500/1 to land his 16th DP World Tour title.

The Denmark ace looks better on the greens now he has switched to a broom-handle putter and he is 12th in strokes gained: putting this season, while he is 18th in one putts and 16th in putts per round.

The fact this course isn't the longest should play into the 51-year-old's hands and he could be a lively contender in the each-way market, with bet365 paying out five places at a quarter of the odds.

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