Starts - 3rd September 2020
Course - Real Club Valderrama
Par - 71 (35-36)
Length – 6,425 yards
Defending Champion- Christian Bezuidenhout (Not playing)
Overall Profit/Loss: +7.75pts
Pre-Event Six to Watch
T10th Sami Valimaki - 50/1
T17th Romain Langasque - 55/1
MC Brandon Stone - 90/1
T41st Soren Kjeldson - 100/1
MC Darius Van Driel- 150/1
T76th Eduardo Molinari - 225/1
In-Play Bets: +7.75pts
6 September 2020 (+12.25 Points)
1.5pts Each Way Will Besseling without Kaymer and Catlin - 14/1 @ Bet365
5 September 2020 ( -4.5 Points)
1.5pts Win Only Guido Migliozzi - 22/1 @ 888Sport
1pt Each Way Sami Valimaki (1/4 1,2,3,4) - 60/1 @ 888Sport
0.5pts Each Way Gonzalo Fernandez Castano (1/4 1,2,3,4) - 200/1 @ Betfred
The European Tour moves onto the continent now for three weeks in Spain and Portugal - which will be of some relief to golfers not so keen on the great British summer!
It is located in the resort of Sotogrande, San Roque, in the Andalucia region of southern Spain, a few miles from Gibraltar, so the temperatures will be higher this week which could see a return to form for a few 'warm weather players'.
It hosted the Volvo Masters between 1988 and 1996 and again between 2002 and 2008. It also hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup where Europe were captained by the late Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods made his debut. More recently, it has hosted on the European Tour between 2016-2019 so there is plenty of course form available.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones, this tree-lined course may look easy when looking at the yardage on the scorecard, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Only 14 players finished under par last year and Bezuidenhout was the only player who finished better than -4. No one shot under par all four days.
The premium is on accuracy from tee to green. Valderrama is famous for its small and fast undulating greens, so good course management and accurate iron play will be the order of the day.
It is a par 71 with three par 5's and four par 3's. The fourth hole, La Cascada, is the course's signature. It is a par 5 with a pond to the right of the two-tiered green. The 490 yard, par 4, 7th played the toughest hole last year and only four holes averaged under par - the 1st, 10th, 11th and 17th.
Warm and sunny all four days with temperatures between 25 and 26 degrees. The wind is expected to play an important part with 20-30mph expected on Thursday and 10-20mph expected Friday to Sunday.
Thursday looks to favour the morning starters with winds estimated at 14mph between 7am and 9am, but rising to 21mph by 1pm.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals. Alex Levy and Romain Wattel withdrew from the Celtic Classic a few weeks ago, with Levy subsequently testing positive.
The emphasis is very much on accuracy and gives better prospects to a shorter hitter winning. It wouldn't be a major shock to see some lesser names contend.
A look at the recent winners at Valderrama indicates high class iron players usually prevail - Christian Bezuidenhout, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Andrew 'Beef' Johnston, Soren Kjeldson, Justin Rose and Jeev Mikha Singh would probably all fit that description.
Sergio Garcia's course record is a prime example that this a horses-for-courses track. Debutants can also win here, as Beef and Jeev Mikha Singh have shown, but players with course experience are preferred; 5 of the last 9 winners had a prior top 5 finish around Valderrama.
The last 9 winners have all had a top 10 finish in their six previous starts. Four had a top 10 in their previous start. Look for players at the top of the game for this tough test.
Bezuidenhout was the only winner in the last 9 events at Valderrama to finish outside the top 25 for Greens in Regulation in the week they won. Make sure you pick a strong iron player.
The last 8 winners have also been in the top 30 for driving accuracy - which is preferred to length off the tee.
The winner has been in the top 10 for scrambling in 5 of the last 9 events. Small greens ensure every player will have lots of this to do.
Holes 1-5 were all stroke index 11 or above last year so don't be fooled by a fast start. It gets tougher from hole 6 onwards. In particular, holes 15-18 have three of the six toughest holes on the course, with a breather on 17, the reachable par 5.
Likewise on the back 9, holes 10 and 11 play easier so don't get too excited if your player starts fast.
Six To Watch
As outlined in our Tipping Record, our strategy is to focus on speciality bets and value in-play. However, we have identified the following six players if you do wish to place a bet before the event begins:
Sami Valimaki - 50/1 @ SpreadEx
Sami returns to competitive action following his week off, and is a must back in our eyes at 50/1. 2nd and 6th in his last two starts, he will be brimming with confidence and arrives at a course which should suit his game. He ranks in the top 50 for driving accuracy and greens in regulation this year and the forecast of lots of wind suits as he has shown to an excellent wind player in Oman and Celtic Manor.
Romain Langasque - 55/1 @ Bet365
Romain missed the cut last week after his victory two weeks ago but the windy forecast will have him licking his lips at another chance of European Tour success. We've seen with Rasmus Hojgaard and Sam Horsfield in recent weeks that the modern crop aren't scared to win multiple times in close succession. There's no reason why Romain couldn't do the same in conditions that will play to his strengths.
Brandon Stone - 90/1 @ Bet365
Brandon played nicely in his last start to finish 27th at the Welsh Open. Two weeks before that he finished 6th at the English Championship. He ranks 6th for Greens in Regulation this year and is a good player to have onside if in contention.
Soren Kjeldson - 100/1 @ William Hill
Soren is a course specialist with four top 5's in his last 8 tournaments at Valderrama, including a win in 2008. Given he has made 3 of his last 4 cuts, he will be relishing coming back to his favourite course. He is also an accomplished wind player so is ticking a lot of boxes this week.
Darius Van Driel- 150/1 @ Betfred
Darius will take great momentum into this week after firing a Sunday 66 to finish 11th place last week. He is ranked 4th for driving accuracy this year and 14th for Greens In regulation. Finished 4th at the Austrian Open in July and isn't far off taking the next step.
Eduardo Molinari - 225/1 @ Bet365
350/1 Bryce Easton just missed out for the last pick but we think Eduardo might be well worth keeping an eye on. The straight hitting Italian ranks 6th for driving accuracy this year. Missed cut last week but played well in the wind at the Welsh Open two weeks ago finishing 27th. Has been in the top 30 the last two years at Valderrama.