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PREVIEW: 2022 DP World Tour – ISPS Handa Championship

Damien Kayat previews the inaugural edition of the DP World Tour’s ISPS Hand Championship taking place at the Lakes Course at Infinitum Resort, Spain.

Thorbjorn Olesen - DP World TOur - ISPS Handa Championship
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Damien Kayat previews the inaugural edition of the DP World Tour’s ISPS Hand Championship taking place at the Lakes Course at Infinitum Resort, Spain.

ISPS Handa Championship

2021/2022 DP World Tour
ISPS Handa Championship
The Lakes Course, Infinitum Resort, Tarragon, Spain
21st-24th April

Travel havoc as Tour cobbles together event for the week

The DP World Tour returns this week, hosting a standalone event for the first time since Ewen Ferguson’s shock triumph in Qatar nearly a month back. This will be the start of four consecutive events to be played in continental Europe.

This event and next week’s Catalunya Championship have been hastily arranged to replace cancelled tournaments in Japan and China. Travel restrictions continue to wreak havoc with the viability of this tour.

In any event, it’s reassuring to have some European golf back. Though this will be a new event, it won’t be an unfamiliar course for many of the former European Tour contingent.

It hosted the final stage of European Tour qualifying school between 2017 and 2019. This will be the first time that Infinitum has hosted a 72-hole event.

More resort fare on the menu

The Lakes is one of three Greg Norman courses located around the picturesque Infinitum Resort (there is another 18-hole layout and a 9-hole layout). This resort-style course is considered the most challenging test around Infinitum.

It should be the polar opposite to the long, soft courses that the tour encountered in South Africa. The course measures less than 7,000 yards and water is in play on 14 holes.

This seems to suggest that the more accurate, controlled types should factor this week. In fact, there will only be two par 5’s in play, with the par-five second set to be played as a par-four.

Early forecasts seem to suggest that the opening rounds could be assailed by pretty intense wind conditions. Players will need to be accurate and make plenty of putts this week.

Some value to be found in this weak field?

This week hasn’t exactly attracted the crème de le crème of fields (which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when you look at recent DP World Tour events).

Bernd Wiesberger is the highest-ranked player in the field at 78. He has played minimal golf this year but still has the pedigree to potentially dominate this field. The Hojgaard twins have a promising future but are beset by inconsistency.

Nicolai has endured a crazy season, missing six cuts out of seven whilst winning the other. They have been trying to ply their trade Stateside with middling success. Rasmus seems to have adapted better to the US PGA Tour and will likely be the more confident identical Hojgaard this week.

Past Winners

n/a

To Win Outright:

Bernd Wiesberger 18/1 | Rasmus Hojgaard 18/1 | Adri Arnaus 20/1 | Nicolai Hojgaard 25/1 | Pablo Larrazabal 25/1

Value Bets

Johannes Veerman- To Win 55/ | To Place 12/1

I have opted for players in the field who have some familiarity with this week’s course. To that end, American Johannes Veerman closed with a pair of 66’s in 2019 to secure his tour card. Since then, he has played plenty of excellent golf on these resort-style courses. He finished fourth at Aphrodite Hills in 2020 before claiming his maiden win at last year’s D&D Real Czech Masters. He was also right in the mix at this year’s Ras al Khaimah Championship before a terrible final round. I expect him to be in the mix this week.

Alejandro Canizares- To Win 250/1 | To Place 55/1

This is one of those speculative, shot in the dark picks that is purely based on course form and home comfort. Spanish players often tend to overperform wildly when they are playing in their home events. Canizares has virtually no form to speak of and will need to wildly overperform this week (he has only made two of seven cuts this year). Canizares won the qualifying school here in 2018 and was third in 2019. I know it’s probably not the best idea to cut and paste Q school form onto the tour proper. But it does show that he has a familiarity with these conditions.

The Man to Beat- Rasmus Hojgaard- To Win 18/1 | To Place 39/10

Hojgaard just makes a lot of sense in the upper reaches of the markets (despite the fact that many are opting for his twin brother Nicolai this week). Firstly, Rasmus Hojgaard must have some of the best form in the field leading into this week’s event. Hojgaard followed sixth at the Corales Puntacana with 18th in a high-quality field at the Valero Texas Open. That’s pretty impressive form when you couple it with his experience at this week’s course. He finished fifth here during the 2019 Q School and sixth during a third tier event the same season. He should be able to build on some decent US momentum and be in contention this week.

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