The Madeira Islands Open | Thursday 30 July - Sunday 02 August | Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra
This week there are two European Tour tournaments teeing off and with the field in the Paul Lawrie Match Play limited to 64 players, those who didn’t crack the nod have headed to Madeira for the Madeira Islands Open. Originally scheduled for earlier in the year, terrible weather saw the tournament postponed to this week and if the weather reports are to be believed we should see four full days of golf this time around. Although this is a European Tour event the field resembles one you’d find on the Challenge Tour so don’t expect to see the greatest golf on display. That works in our favour though as it looks like anyone can win here and there’s value to be found.
The course measures a mere 6,800 yards and is your standard par 72 so you’d expect everyone to be on even ground off the tee box but history shows it’s the big hitters who fare well here. With the course playing so short you’d expect some unique challenges to be added to the layout but there aren’t any and low scores are guaranteed. Wide fairways give way to soft greens and birdies can be made all over the show.
To Win Outright
Ricardo Gouveia 16/1
Ryan Fox 25/1
John Parry 28/1
Rhys Davies 28/1
Prom Meesawat 33/1
John Parry (28/1 a win, 6/1 a place)
Parry’s name is one of the few that stands out this week as most of this field rarely feature when they tee off in European Tour events. Although he hasn’t had the greatest of seasons he has shown flashes of brilliance and last week he made a lot of birdies in the Omega European Open, a stat that will stand him in good stead on this layout. As can be expected of a golfer of his calibre, Parry struggles to string four solid rounds together but this course is forgiving enough to grant him some leeway and I expect to see him near the top on Sunday. Each way is my bet on Parry.
Ricardo Gouveia (16/1 a win, 7/2 a place)
It’s tough to back the favourite in a tournament like this but last week Jason Day showed us that the favourite is the favourite for a reason and the same can be said for Gouveia this time around. He will be looking forward to competing on his home soil this week and will arrive confident in his game, having finished second and winning in Slovakia and Germany in recent weeks. Sure, he’s the favourite but the price is not very short so if he wins you won’t be complaining…I’m ignoring the place bet and doubling down on the wins.
JB Hansen (35/1 a win, 77/10 a place)
No-one was more upset than JB Hansen when the first installment of this tournament was cancelled and he will arrive at Santo da Serra ready to take care of some unfinished business. Given his performance here earlier in the year I’m surprised that he is available at such long odds but I’m definitely not complaining and will be taking full advantage. Off the tee there aren’t many in this field who rival Hansen and he showed last time out that he has the ability to play decent golf in windy conditions. If there’s any justice in golf Hansen is one to keep an eye on; a decent bet may be to back him to be first round leader too.
Peter Lawrie (55/1 a win, 12/1 a place)
I doubt anyone in this field can play in the wind quite as well as Lawrie can and if the wind does get up he’s certainly going to be in the mix this week. Sure, his game hasn’t been at its pinnacle the past couple of months but he’ll be looking forward to playing a course that suits his game. He also looked to be finding some form in the Omega European Masters and a Top 20 finish against competition far stiffer than he’ll meet here can’t be ignored. I’m backing Lawrie each way.