Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour: Open de Espana Preview

European Tour: Open de Espana Preview

Golfer admires shot

The European tour moves to continental Europe this week with the latest edition of the Open de Espana. Last year's winner, John Rahm starts as the favourite at 33/10. 

The European Tour 2019 | Open de Espana
Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Madrid
Thursday 3 October 2019 - Sunday 6 October 2019

Maybe I’m in the minority, but watching last week’s Alfred Dunhill pro-am was somewhat depressing, seeing how benign fortress St Andrews played. In an attempt to make it suitable for the amateurs they risk discouraging future trips by the likes of McIlroy and Rahm: Rory was very vocal in his displeasure at the ease of the layout. All that aside, the tour moves to continental Europe this week with the latest edition of the Open de Espana. This event dates all the way back to 1912, and aside from 2017 it has been a regular European Tour event since the tour’s inception in 1972.

Club de Campo Villa de Madrid actually appeared as recently on the tour as 2008, playing host to the first edition of the now defunct Madrid Masters. It’s a fairly short track, especially when you consider that it sis 2,500 feet above sea level. Either that will lead to bomber dominance or an evening out of the field, encouraging more strategic approaches. It’s an inland course with tree-lined fairways and fairly severe slopes. Apparently some length has been added to add to the difficulty curb. But generally speaking, it sounds as if this may once again be a real birdie fest, which will just add fuel to Rory McIlroy’s argument that the tour isn’t catering for the leading professionals.

There is a strong Spanish contingent this week, which is always nice to see in national events with - let’s face it - declining importance. Defending champion Jon Rahm is the clear favourite, though he looks comically short in the aftermath of last week’s links disappointment. Sergio Garcia will be looking to make it back-to-back victories after his triumph at the KLM Open. Garcia has impressive form in his homeland, winning on seven occasions in his 45 visits. Rafa Cabrera Bello - ever the unsung hero of Spanish golf - has blown a few serious opportunities to win this season. There is not a huge amount of box-office outside of those names: Ross Fisher clocks in at 6th in the market at 30/1. Andrea Pavan has been a slow burner this season and could be one to watch as his career progresses.

Past Winners
2018: Jon Rahm (-20)
2017: no event
2016: Andrew Johnston (+1)
2015: James Morrison (-10)
2014: Miguel Angel Jimenez (-4)*playoff

Outright Betting (To Win)
Jon Rahm (33/10)
Sergio Garcia (11/2)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (9/1)
Hao Tong Li (14/1)
Andrea Pavan (16/1)

Value Bets

Miguel Angel Jimenez
To Win (90/1), To Place (19/1)

I know this one seems slightly offbeat, but this just seems like the week for offbeat selections. While he’s now 55 years of age, the undemanding length of this week’s course may play into his favour.  The last time he played in his home open he finished runner-up. That was in 2015, a year after he claimed the 2014 Open de Espana title. He also has finishes of T23 and T31 in his last two full European Tour starts. Add to that four top 10’s in his last five starts on the PGA Champions Tour - which is extremely competitive - and you get the sense that Jimenez could represent great value this week.

Alvaro Quiros
To Win (150/1), To Place (33/1)
With recent form figures of T48-T46-T64-T58, Quiros doesn’t exactly set the form book on fire. But he has at least been making cuts lately, and I’m hoping that a return to his home country will see some more tangible results. Let’s not forget, Quiros finished in a tie for 2nd in his last home start at this year’s Valderrama Masters. Quiros is a previous winner of this event, beating James Morrison in a playoff to win the 2010 edition. Quiros is also prolific from the tee-box, which should work to his distinct advantage if the course plays as short as it could.

The Man to Beat

Andrea Pavan
To Win (16/1), To Place (7/2)

I’m opting to swerve the chief Spanish contingent this week, opting instead for one of the most metronomic talents of this year’s tour. Since May, 30 year-old Andrea Pavan has been the paragon of consistency this season. He followed a top 20 at the British Masters with a brilliant victory at the BMW International Open. He also picked up top 5 finishes at the Scottish Open and the Czech Masters. His last four starts have seen him pick up three further top 20 finishes, including a top 10 at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Pavan could be set to pick up his 2nd victory of the year.  

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