Monday, 31 March 2014

NH Collection Open 2014





The European Tour finally makes its way onto European soil this week for the inaugural NH Collection Open to be played at the Sotogrande La Reserva, near Valderrama GC which should really suit Trophee Hassan winner, Alejandro Canizares. Indeed he has stated this week that he plays here quite a bit and is really looking forward to the event, but he's just far too short to back and sometimes being over-confident brings its own pressures and I'm hoping  we can get him beat. That said, he's no hot favourite to do so, there are better quality players in the field and as tweeted, I've drawn up a list of value contenders that I think could go well on a course yet to be used on the Tour. It was used recently for the Spanish Amateur in February and hopefully its an event and venue that can establish itself on the tour in the years to come, and with free admission for spectators this week, it needs to find local support if its to do so.

By all accounts, this 12 year old course will suit big hitters, its quite open with big greens. Its a 7200 yarder, but judging by the galleries and photos I saw of the place, it could be a birdie fest if the wind doesn't get up. Its known, however, to blow consistently here so with that in  mind my leading 2 selections have shown they can play in these conditions in the past and remain on the staking plan despite not producing the goods last time out for the blog.

Chris Wood missed the cut in Morocco, but was 6th the time before. He can make amends this week at a very decent price of 33/1 with Betpack.

Shane Lowry hasn't got going at all this season, but I reckon he's gonna be this type of player, on fire one week and not at the races the next. He arrived nice and early this week, didn't lose his clubs en route either, so he has to be settling in well. With The Masters taking place next week, Lowry will be anxious to get going and make some moves up the rankings if he has any desire to start playing Majors more often. The road to success begins this week. Well capable of beating off this calibre of field, he'll be reminded of his Portugal Masters win not that far from here and at 55/1 with Bet365 I'm not going to pass up the chance to back him.

I was tempted to back James Morrison and Tom Lewis, with the latter being too short for me. Morrison is really hit & miss but has Spanish form and at 80/1 proved too tempting. He wasn't on my shortlist earlier but given that this his territory and having relooked at his price, I've had rethink, and decided its best to have him on board. Stephen Brown from the Challenge Tour arrives here in great form and @ 200/1 could be worth a wager also, but I'll pass on the basis that the dozen or so regular tour players that have won recently may prove to be the ones to beat. Patrik Sjoland is on the shortlist again this week....he went well in South Africa and Morocco until one or two bad holes put him back down the field. I'm going to chance him one more time for a TOP10 @ 16/1.

Staking Plan (6pts/units)

1.5 pts WIN C.Wood @ 33/1  Betpack.
1.5 pts WIN S.Lowry @ 55/1 Bet365
0.5 pts e/w J.Morrison @ 80/1 Paddypower

TOP10
2 pts P.Sjoland @ 16/1 BetVictor