Starts: 14th October
Course: Real Club Valderrama, Spain
Length: 7028 yards
2020 Champion: John Catlin
Overall Profit/Loss: -4.5pts
Pre-Event Bets: -9pts
1pt EW Martin Kaymer 35/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
1pt EW Shubhankar Sharma 66/1 @ Sporting Index (1/4 1-5)
0.75pts EW Will Besseling 70/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts EW Victor Dubuisson 100/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts EW David Drysdale 250/1 @ Betfred (1/5 1-6)
0.25pts EW Lorenzo Gagli 500/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-7)
0.5pts EW Lorenzo Gagli FIRST ROUND LEADER 300/1 @ Betfred (1/4 1-5)
In-Play Bets: +4.5pts
14 October 2021(+7pts)
0.75pts EW Soren Kjeldsen 50/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
0.5pts EW Sebastian Soderberg 90/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
16 October 2021(-1.5pts)
1.5pts Win Only Romain Langasque 9/1 @ Skybet
17 October 2021(-1pt)
1pt Win Only Min Woo Lee 20/1 @ Skybet
Type of Course - Classical, Tree Lined
Course Designer - Robert Trent Jones
Greens - Small, fast ,bentgrass
Fairways - Narrow, undulating
Par 5's - 4th, 12th, 17th and 18th
Hosted Since -2010
Premium on - Tee to green, accuracy and scrambling.
Mostly sunny with temperatures peaking in the mid 20's each afternoon. The wind should play an important part on Thursday before easing for the rest of the week.
Thurs - Sunny. Wind 15-25mph.
Fri - Partly cloudy. Wind 10-15mph.
Sat - Partly cloudy. Wind 5-10mph.
Sun - Partly cloudy. Wind 5-10mph.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
It is located in the resort of Sotogrande, San Roque, in the Andalucia region of southern Spain a few miles from Gibraltar.
It hosted the Volvo Masters between 1988 and 1996 and again between 2002 and 2008. It also hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup when Europe were captained by the late Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods made his debut. More recently, it has hosted on the European Tour between 2016-2020 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 in 2019 and Bezuidenhout was the only player who finished better than -4. No one shot under par all four days.
We had a winning score of +2 last year and was also +1 in 2016. Between 2017-2019 it was between -10 and -12.The wind plays a big part in the final score here and Thursday should keep scoring down a little.
Sergio Garcia's course record is a prime example that this a horses-for-courses track. Debutants can also win here, as Andrew Johnston and Jeev Mikha Singh have shown, but players with course experience are preferred; 5 of the last 10 winners had a prior top 5 finish at Valderrama.
The last 10 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.
Catlin, Bezuidenhout and Johnston won their maiden European Tour titles here but had shown form earlier in the year. Garcia was ranked in the top 30 of the world for his two most recent wins so we should be focusing on proven or up and coming players this week.
We will use Strokes Gained stats from the past two tournament winners Catlin and Bezuidenhout. It's clear a solid tee to green game is in order and solid scrambling is required.
SG: Off The Tee
The last two champions have ranked inside the top 30.
Both ranked between 30th and 50th so not the key stat this week.
SG: Around The Greens
Catlin ranked 1st and Bezuidenhout ranked 1st. Key stat.
SG: Tee to green
Both ranked inside the top 5, crucial stat.
Catlin ranked 16th whilst Bezuidenhout ranked 1st. Not essential but helps.
The 212 yard, par 3, 12th was the toughest last year and the next three toughest were the 9th, 15th and 18th.
Only the Par 5 17th averaged under par last year. 1st-4th were four of the six easiest holes.
Fast or Slow Start
Catlin led on the opening round last year but Rozner and Besseling were 6 and 7 shots behind before finishing two behind Catlin. Bezuidenhout led all the way through in 2019 and Garcia did as well in 2017. Round one leaders have a great record here.
Andalucia Masters In-Play Blog
16th October 2021, 6.40pm (UK time)
|Five Players Tied||-2|
Laurie Canter continued his fine play from Friday with a 67 and takes a three shot lead over Matt Fitzpatrick. The bookies have priced it up as a potential two horse race but six European Tour winners are also within five of the lead and can't be ruled out.
Canter has been impressive especially tee to green, ranking 10th and 2nd for greens in regulation the last two days. If he continues to find the small targets, he should be expected to close this.
Yet to win on the European Tour, he did have a great chance to win the BMW PGA Championship but parred the two closing par 5's. It would be no major surprise to see his standard of play decline tomorrow. We are not totally convinced he will hold up under the pressure if he is challenged.
Fitzpatrick is usually solid in contention and can be expected to put up a good fight. He did lose the Scottish Open to Min Woo Lee in a playoff but that was due to the quality of the Australian. He hit under 40% fairways and greens yesterday and will need to improve significantly to get the job done.
David Lipsky is one back from Fitzpatrick after a 64 containing eight birdies. He holed absolutely everything today but may find it hard to keep that standard up. Regardless, he is a lively outsider and 11/1 is tempting.
A dangerous group at two under par will all hope to make a run at Canter tomorrow, especially Bernd Wiesberger, who has edged into contention. There could be another 65 out there which would certainly ask a question, we're keen to chance one of them for a final play.
Round 4 Bet
- 1pt Win Only Min Woo Lee 20/1 @ Skybet
Min Woo has already won from off the pace this year with a 64 at the Scottish Open and should take heart that he has beaten Matt Fitzpatrick recently. He is a massive talent and has improved every day with round of 73-71-67 so maybe he's figuring out the course more each day. We're happy to chance him at 20/1 given his performance in Scotland in the summer.
16th October 2021, 8.40am (UK time)
A double bogey at this last hole saw Matt Fitzpatrick lose the lead but the Englishman remains 11/4 favourite with the bookmakers.
Despite that double, Fitzpatrick was positive about his game, describing it as "really solid." He's undoubtedly the player to beat over the weekend but the odds make no appeal. Six European Tour wins are a fair haul but he lost out in a playoff to Min Woo Lee at July's Scottish Open so he can be beaten.
Fitzpatrick's slip up means Romain Langasque leads the way going into the weekend. The Frenchman is hoping to win for the second time on the European Tour, having won the 2020 Wales Open. However, he's been relatively quiet since that win, posting a solitary top 5 finish earlier this year at the Magical Kenya Open.
Langasque is a player we rate but he's been out of contention for a while and has tended to record his best finishes when chasing, rather than leading.
History tells us we shouldn't look too far down the leaderboard for a winner. Three of the last four winners at Valderrama have led at halfway, Sergio Garcia (2017) being the only player to win when not leading. Even Sergio was in 2nd place and so we aren't looking too far down the leaderboard at potential bets.
Yesterday's in-play tip, Sebastian Soderberg, is nicely placed going into the 3rd round. We want to add one further selection.
Round 3 Bet
- 1.5pts Win Only Romain Langasque 9/1 @ Skybet
We're keen to get Romain onside given the record leaders have around Valderrama. The Frenchman is playing some excellent golf this week, ranking 10th SG: Off The Tee and 1st SG: Around The Green. He described his long game as "really good" in yesterday's post round interview and he's clearly happy with how he's striking the ball at the moment. His lack of recent contention experience is a slight worry but we think he's a player who's capable of winning multiple events on the European Tour and we're happy to side with him here given the conversion rate leaders have.
14th October 2021, 9.10pm (UK time)
|Seven players tied||-1|
Julien Guerrier continued last week's fine form to shoot a morning 67 at Valderrama. That score was enough to give the Frenchman a one shot lead going into the second round and he's priced up as an 11/1 shot to win.
Guerrier will be buoyed by the fact first round leaders have a great recent record here. Two of the last four winners have led after the opening 18 holes. Guerrier was steadier in contention last week and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him hang about over the next few days.
Last week's winner, Rafa Cabrera Bello, is one shot back of Guerrier and is now 13/2 favourite.
There's a sense of missing the boat with the Spaniard given he was close to being a pre-event selection. Cabrera Bello has an outstanding record following a win (he's placed inside the top 4 every time he's played a stroke play event immediately after a European Tour win) and he was very close to being put up for subscribers.
Given recent winners have been inside the top 3 after round 1, we are focusing our attention on players who are under par ahead of round two.
The weather forecast for the 2nd round is sunny with the wind around 5mph.
Round 2 Bets
- 0.75pts Each Way Soren Kjeldsen 50/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
Soren was another on our shortlist for this event given his outstanding record at Valderrama. Kjeldsen won the Volvo Masters here in 2008 and has notched 3 other top 5 finishes in that event. Last week's approach play caught our eye (he ranked 10th Greens in Regulation and 21st SG: Approach) and that's translated over into this week. First for SG: Approach for the opening round, his iron play is clearly red hot at the moment. We're more than happy to back him at 50/1.
- 0.5pts Each Way Sebastian Soderberg 90/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
Sebastian played some tidy stuff in the tougher afternoon conditions, shooting one under par. He ranked 5th tee to green, 5th driving accuracy, 2nd off the tee and top 20 for approach so his long game was in really good shape. He is a winner in Crans, a course which nicely correlates to here with it's small targets so there is every chance he can hang about this weekend.