Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Open de Espana 2016 - Valderrama GC

The Open de Espana returns to one of the best courses in Spain this week, Valderrama GC. It will be the tours first visit to the course since the Andalucia Masters was hosted there in 2010 and 2011. It was of course the host venue for the 1997 Ryder Cup in which a Seve captained Europe prevailed. It's not a long course  but it's a tight tree-lined one and scoring will be tough. Small greens will mean accuracy in approach play will be vital and it wouldn't be any harm to be a wizard with a wedge or putter either this week. Throw in some wind (we're not far from the sea here) and this week's event promises to be an exciting one. Sergio Garcia will host this week and heads the betting market. He does say this is his favourite course and perhaps he had a say in getting his National Open to return here, but will he be distracted in his hosting duties this week on the back of the toils at Augusta last week? I hope so although I had to keep him on my shortlist. The incentive to winning your home National is always a key factor in performing well in as much as it can bring added pressure. The field is very beatable here for Sergio and cannot be discounted lightly. Likewise, Rafa Cabrera-Bello may be the home bet for this week on the back of his most prolific run of form and he'll have plenty of backers @ 15.00. I was tempted too, but am determined to find some better value again this week.Of the market leaders, its Bello that I would fear the most.

Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Martin Kaymer and Soren Kjeldsen tee it up having played at The Masters and of those there is a lot to like about course specialist Kjeldsen (winner here in 2008 at the Volvo Masters and also twice runner-up on the course). Martin Kaymer made the cut at Augusta despite a T49th finish so whether it's a sign that his game is improving or not remains to be seen and I'd be inclined to see how he opens up on Thursday before getting involved. He plays alongside the host so expect the first two days to be played in a relaxed mood, which could help his progress.

The blog had an interest in Joost Luiten back in February and it's time to get involved once more. The Dutchman is determined to make the Ryder Cup Team this year and has set about this season in a very positive manner. He missed the cut last time out in Delhi but he was in great form prior to it. Three TOP10s from the five events previously shows the Dutchman has been in form and he arrived over a week ago to prepare for this and will be fresh and ready to go come Thursday afternoon when he tees it up with Pablo Larrazabal and Thomas Pieters. He has course form having finished 5th at the 2010 Andalucia Masters and makes some appeal to me @ 23.00 (was available @ 26.00 Tuesday night).

I'm sticking with the TOP20 markets again this week as a number of players make great appeal there ; Tommy Fleetwood, Julien Quesne, Mikko Ilonen and Jorge Campillo. Alex Noren and Marc Warren also appeal somewhat but are left out on the back of recent form, but this is a course which should suit both. Spaniard, Campillo, has been in fantastic form this season having made eight cuts from his nine starts yielding five TOP20s (55%) ! Only five players on tour have recorded more this season ; McIlroy, Oosty, Schwartzel, Grace and Luiten. He is a former Spanish Amateur Champion and appears to be up the up and up the past couple of seasons. TOP20 in windy Qatar earlier this year and a TOP10 in Delhi show his game is in fine nick. He will turn 30 on the 1st of June and would dearly love to add the professional title of Open de Espana to complement his amateur title!

Ilonen doesn't have much course form here but he certainly has been playing well of late although he missed the cut in his last two starts in Perth and Thailand. Prior to those mishaps though, the Finn was 12th in Malaysia, 16th in Dubai, 13th in Qatar and 22nd in Abu Dhabi. Always a good scrambler, Ilonen is well worth a flutter here @ 5.00 to finish in the TOP20.

Staking Plan

1 pt e/w J. Luiten @ 22/1 Betfair

3 pts J. Campillo @ 3.75 Bet365
3 pts M. Ilonen @ 5.00   Stanjames

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