Written by Commodore Vegas for @Hollywoodbets.
Open De Espana | 14 April - 17 April | Valderrama Golf Club
The European Tour finally hits European shores this week, with Valderrama playing host to the Open de Espana. It will be the first time the revered course has staged Spain’s national Open, which comes as some surprise. The Robert Trent Jones designed course has played host to some of the biggest tournaments in golf, including 1997’s memorable Ryder Cup victory for the Europeans.
However, the legendary course has been something of a black sheep in recent years, having last hosted a European Tour event back in 2011. Sergio Garcia triumphed on that occasion and has perhaps understandably been priced up as hot favourite here.
Coming in at just under 7,000 yards, the course is a bit on the short side, but a quick look over previous winning scores shows that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s a course that will punish wayward play off the tee and one where scrambling ability is key courtesy of its tiny greens. Whoever wins this week will deserve every last penny, and hopefully, we’ll be there to pick up a few ourselves.
To Win Outright
Sergio Garcia 11/2 | Andy Sullivan 14/1 | Rafael Cabrera-Bello 14/1 | Soren Kjeldsen 18/1 | Joost Luiten 22/1
Rafael Cabrera-Bello (14/1, 31/10)
I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Spanish golfers. From Seve, through José María Olazábal and Miguel Ángel Jiménez and even Sergio Garcia in his younger years – I enjoyed their golf as much as I enjoyed saying their names. The next in line is Cabrera-Bello who, despite coming up just short for me last week, gets my support again here. The local lad may not have recorded a European Tour win since 2012, but three top-5s in his last six starts means even a place bet will turn a profit.
Joost Luiten (22/1 Win & 49/10 Place)
One of the most consistent players on the tour, Luiten comes into the Open de Espana having claimed five top-15 finishes in his last six starts. He may have missed the cut at the Hero Indian Open last time out, but that performance seems the exception rather than the rule when it comes to the Dutchman. The four-time European Tour winner has all the necessary ingredients to challenge here and looks a solid each way punt.
Gregory Havret (100/1 Win & 22/1 Place)
You may not have expected to see the well-travelled Frenchman on this list, but hear me out. After a moderate start to the season, Havret has turned in two top-10 finishes in his last two outings, including a commendable 6th at the Hero Indian Open. His accuracy from the tee will be a major bonus here, while a 6th place finish at the Andalucia Masters back in 2011 shows he has what it takes to master this course. Were it not for a third round 76, he may have been a winner on that occasion. The 22/1 on offer for a place might well be worth a flutter.
Soren Kjeldsen (18/1 Win & 39/10 Place)
Kjeldsen won the Volvo Masters at Valderrama in 2008, while he was runner-up here in 2007 and 2010. His price has already shortened following his exploits at the US Masters, but it is his form on the European Tour that is worth mentioning. The Dane earned more money than any other player in 22 events played on European soil last year (€1.4m), racking up seven top-ten finishes in the process. Last week he ranked inside the top-six for driving accuracy and GIR. If he can carry that form across and overcome any lingering fatigue, he should be right up there come Sunday.
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