M2M Russian Open Preview

Michael Hoey: 2013 Russian Open champion
Michael Hoey: 2013 Russian Open champion
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After the thrills and spills of The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, the regular European Tour resumes this week with the M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club in Moscow.

Lowdown: After the thrills and spills of The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, the regular European Tour resumes this week with the M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club in Moscow.

The Russian Open returned to the European Tour schedule last year when Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey triumphed by four strokes over Alexandre Kaleka of France and England’s Matthew Nixon.

Hoey won’t be back to defend his title and, a week after the Open Championship at Hoylake, a number of the Tour’s top players are enjoying a well-earned break. So, this event provides a great opportunity for a less-established player to take a step-up into the limelight.

A number of British players are on the start sheet, including Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, Craig Lee, David Drysdale and Peter Whiteford. David Horsey, Matthew Nixon and Simon Wakefield will represent England in the tournament and Stuart Manley and Bradley Dredge will tee it up for Wales.

Also in the field is former Grand Slam tennis champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov. The Russian is looking to make his first cut on either the European or European Challenge Tour.

The course at Tseleevo is a Jack Nicklaus design with holes lined by mature trees and protected by natural water hazards. It’s rated as one of Russia’s finest tracks and has received high praise from the professionals.

The weather forecast looks fair for this week, other than the chance of rain on Thursday, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about in the way of delays.

Venue: Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club, Moscow, Russia Date: Jul 24-27 Course stats: par 72, 7,491 yards Purse: €1,000,000 Winner: €166,660 Defending Champion: Michael Hoey (-16)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30pm Friday 25 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30pm Saturday 26 – Sky Sports 4 from 11am Sunday 27 – Sky Sports 4 from 11am

Player Watch: Craig Lee – The Scot performed well in his national open at Royal Aberdeen – ending the week in a tie for 16th. That finish would have been a good deal higher if he’d played a better final round. He’s one of the more experienced players in this field and that could be telling.

David Horsey – He hasn’t been on his best form over the last month, but he’s too good a player for that to last. He has four top-10 finishes to his name on the European Tour this season.

Adrian Otaegui – The 21-year-old Spaniard has been struggling a little in his first full season on the European Tour. But, he played four solid rounds in his last start – the Scottish Open – to finish in a tie for 24th and pick up the biggest cheque of his European Tour career. He’s a talented player and this is the sort of event where he could make a breakthrough.

Key hole: 18th. A classic tournament finishing hole, this par-4 measures 448 yards. The tee shot is relatively straightforward, favouring a tee shot moving left to right. The real challenge is the second shot as water lurks short and left of the green. An approach turning too much from right to left could end up wet.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?