The Andalucia Masters has been reintroduced to the European Tour schedule after a 6-year absence, and, as it’s taking place at the brilliant Valderrama Golf Club, Sotogrande, Spain, it’s a shame it seems to simply be a gap-filler between a Rolex Tour Event and a WGC.
Because of that, this week’s field is much weaker than the field that competed for last week’s Italian Open, whilst not many of this week’s field will be high enough in the rankings to qualify for next week’s WGC HSBC Champions in China.
Two players who should be in China next week who are playing this week are World Number 5 John Rahm and World Number 11 Sergio Garcia, and the two Spaniards are generally sharing favouritism at around 5/1 with most bookies. Rahm has no previous form here, and his length will probably be no advantage around a par 71 measuring less than 7,000-yards, and puts a premium on accuracy and the ability to shape the ball when out of position.
However, the questions that Valderrama asks of a player are questions that Garcia certainly has the answers in his armoury for, and he’s only finished outside the top-10 here once in 10 previous visits, finishing in the top-4 six times. Whether he’s value though is a different matter, having won here just once, and it may be that both Garcia and Rahm are here at the request of Sponsors.
However, the gulf in class between the market leaders and the rest of the field becomes apparent when you see that the next best player is the out-of-form world number 77 Martin Kaymer, whilst world number 88 Shane Lowry isn’t in the greatest of form either – though both have gone well here in the past.
Another player who goes well here more often than not is Joost Luiten but, whilst the Dutchman is playing better now than earlier in the season, his ball-striking still doesn’t appear to be at its best – which could put too much pressure on his questionable scrambling ability. Meanwhile, another player who goes well here is Soren Kjeldson, but whether the Dane arrives with his game in good order is anyone’s guess after a 7-week absence from the course.
Therefore, though Andrew Johnston showed it’s possible to win here on your course debut here, I’m putting all my eggs in one basket this week – and I’m backing Alejandro Canizares. Winning an event in his home country would mean a lot to the two-time European Winner and, having looked back to something like his best in Italy last week, he could go close here having finished 7th and 11th in his last visits. Back him each-way and in the top-10 market.
2017 Andalucia Masters Preview And Tips
Alejandro Canizares 1 Point Each-Way @ 50/1 Unibet or Betway (both paying 5 places)
Alejandro Canizares 3 Points Top-10 @ 4/1 Betway