Starts: 13th October 2022
Course: Real Club Valderrama, Spain
Length: 7028 yards
2020 Champion: John Catlin
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 test players this week and scoring is likely to be higher.
Thur - Sunny. Wind 8-21mph.
Fri - Sunny. Wind 12-24mph.
Sat - Sunny intervals. Wind 8-16mph.
Sun - Sunny intervals. Wind 8-16mph.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
Valderrama 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 hosted the European Tour between 2016-2021.
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 Christiaan Bezuidenhout was the only player who finished better than -4. No one shot under par all four days.
Matt Fitzpatrick won with a score of -6 last year. We had over par winning scores in 2020 (+2) and 2016 (+1). Between 2017-2019 the winning score at Valderrama was between -10 and -12.The wind plays a big part in the final score here.
Course form does tend to hold weight at Valderrama. Players such as Sergio Garcia, Soren Kjeldsen and Mike Lorenzo Vera have posted consistently high finishes. Debutants can also win here, as Andrew Johnston and Jeev Mikha Singh have shown, but players with course experience are preferred. Five of the last eleven winners had a prior top 5 finish at Valderrama.
The last eleven 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.
John Catlin (2020), Bezuidenhout (2019) and Johnston (2016) 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 three tournament winners, Matt Fitzpatrick, John Catlin and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
SG: Off The Tee
Matt Fitzpatrick ranked 25th and the two champions prior also ranked inside the top 30.
Matt Fitzpatrick ranked 46th. The two previous champions also ranked between 30th and 50th so not the key stat this week.
SG: Around The Greens
The past three champions ranked 1st in this category. The key stat this week.
SG: Tee to green
The past three champions ranked inside the top 5 in this category.
Matt Fitzpatrick ranked 41st in this category last year. Catlin ranked 16th whilst Bezuidenhout ranked 1st. Not essential but helps.
The long par four 7th hole was the toughest hole last yar. In 2020, the 212 yard, par 3, 12th was the toughest.
The par 5 17th has played as the easiest hole the past two editions of this tournament.
Fast or Slow Start
Matt Fitzpatrick was 11th after round one last year. The 2020 winner, John Catlin, led after the opening round. Christiaan Bezuidenhout led all the way through in 2019 and Garcia did as well in 2017. Round one leaders have a great record here.
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