The European Tour makes the trek from China to England for the Betfred British Masters with home hero Tommy Fleetwood playing tournament host.
Contested at Hillside Golf Club, the 2019 edition will mark the Tour’s return to the famed Merseyside golf course for the first time since the 1982 Sun Alliance PGA Championship, where Tony Jacklin edged Bernhard Langer in a playoff.
At world No. 16, Fleetwood is the field’s top-ranked name, and will lead a strong 40-player English contingent, including Ryder Cup teammate Tyrrell Hatton.
Here’s more on what to expect at this week’s Betfred British Masters.
Betfred British Masters
Where: Merseyside, England
Course: Hillside Golf Club
Distance: Par 72, 6953 yards
Architect: Fred Hawtree
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $639,000
TV Coverage: GOLF
Defending Champion: Eddie Pepperell
Betting Favorites: Pepperell, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Wallace, Tyrrell Hatton, Joost Luiten, Jordan Smith, Andy Sullivan
TV Schedule & Links
Rd 1: Th. 5:30 am-08:30 am
Rd 2: Fr. 5:30 am-08:30 am
Rd 3: Sa. 8:00 am-12:30 pm
Rd 4: Su. 5:30 am-10:30 am
All coverage via GOLF Channel.
Then titled the Dunlop Masters, the tournament was first contested in 1946 but its history goes back to the Dunlop-Metropolitan Tournament which was first played in 1934, the same year as The (U.S.) Masters.
The inaugural event in 1946 ended in a tie between South African Bobby Locke and Scotland’s Jimmy Adams. Eight years later, in 1954, Locke would win his second title (in solo fashion), and, to this day, remains one of eight players with two British Masters trophies.
Other notable two-time winners include Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Christy O’Connor, and Greg Norman. Lee Trevino and Bob May were the only Americans to win the event.
The tournament has never had a home venue, but instead has used a rotation of courses. Twice in the “Dunlop Masters” era it was contested in the Republic of Ireland.
The 1967 event was notable for providing British television with its first live hole in one, as Tony Jacklin aced the 16th hole at Royal St George’s.
The Dunlop Masters reached its pinnacle in the 1980s, and became one of the most lucrative events on the European Tour, regularly drawing top players from the PGA Tour. But due to sponsorship issues and a decrease in prize money, its status as an elite event gradually declined, and eventually ended its run as a European Tour event following the 2008 edition.
The event returned in 2015, with the idea of choosing a top-name Englishman to act as tournament host, while having it contested at a rotation of the country’s most historic and iconic golf courses. The player hosts from 2015-2018 were Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, and Justin Rose, respectively.
Eddie Pepperell posted a final-round 72 to capture his second European Tour title of the season at the Sky Sports British Masters.
The Englishman, who entered his fourth day at Walton Heath Golf Club with a three-shot lead, signed for a scorecard consisting of three bogeys offset by a birdie and a hole-out eagle (on No. 10) en route to a four-day score of 9-under par, two clear of runner-up Alexander Bjork (71).
Australian Lucas Herbert and England’s Jordan Smith were at 5 under, a shot clear of two more Englishmen in Sam Horsfield and Tom Lewis, and American Julian Suri.
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Eddie Pepperell -9 (E)
2. Alexander Bjork -7 (-1)
3. Lucas Herbert -5 (-3)
3. Jordan Smith -5 (+1)
5. Sam Horsfield -4 (-3)
5. Tom Lewis -4 (-2)
5. Julian Suri -4 (+2)
The field in England includes 10 players ranked in the world top-100, led by host Tommy Fleetwood, who enters at No. 16.
A strong English contingent will join Fleetwood, including the field’s next five top-ranked golfers in Matt Wallace (No. 36), defending champion Eddie Pepperell (No. 37), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 38), Tom Lewis (No. 66), and Lee Westwood (No. 69).
Additional top-100 ranked players include Dutchman Joost Luiten (No. 72), Spaniard Adrian Otaegui (No. 79), Kiwi Ryan Fox (No. 81), and Aussie Lucas Herbert (No. 94).
Six of the current season’s winners will also tee it up this week, including Fox (ISPS Handa Super 6), Englishman Aaron Rai (Honma Hong Kong Open), Scots David Law (ISPS Handa Vic Open) and Stephen Gallacher (Hero Indian Open), Italian Guido Migliozzi (Magical Kenya Open), and Aussie Scott Hend (Maybank Championship).
Other familiar names are: Englishmen Chris Wood, Jordan Smith, Andy Sullivan, Chris Paisley, and Andrew Johnston; Frenchmen Alexander Levy and Victor Dubuisson; Indians Shubhankar Sharma and S.S.P. Chawrasia; and Germany’s Martin Kaymer.
Full Field & Odds
Home favorite Tommy Fleetwood is the pick to take home the prize. The English star is listed 8-1 to capture his first title of the season.
Two of Fleetwood’s countrymen, Tyrrell Hatton, and defending champ Eddie Pepperell, were next at 18-1 and 20-1, respectively. Dutchman Joost Luiten and another Englishman, Matt Wallace, round out the top-5 betting favorites at 25-1.
Top-5 Betting Favorites
1. Tommy Fleetwood (8-1)
2. Tyrrell Hatton (18-1)
3. Eddie Pepperell (20-1)
3. Joost Luiten (25-1)
5. Matt Wallace (25-1)