The European Tour remains in Spain and World No 1 Jon Rahm is teeing up again – but does our tipster fancy him?
Well that one really hurt! Our 60/1 each-way tip Adri Arnaus had a makeable putt to win the Open de Espana in regulation and ends up losing in a play-off. Still, these things happen in golf, and while I wish it was a different result I think it acts as a good indicator that we are on the right lines. This week we take the short trip to Valderrama for the Andalucia Masters and one of my favourite European Tour events. With a high quality field in attendance, I am using last week’s form as a starting point for success this week and have picked out three I think can contend at decent prices. But first…
Andalucia Masters details
Venue: Real Club Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
Date: October 14-17, 2021
Course stats: Par 71; 7,001 yards
Course summary: This short, tree-lined course is an iconic venue on the European Tour. Host venue for the 1997 Ryder Cup, Valderrama boasts tight sloping fairways lined with beautiful cork trees. Smaller than average greens add to the challenge here, where accuracy off the tee will certainly be important. The winner here last year was over par for the tournament, so expect to see another tough fight against one of the truly great courses on Spanish soil.
Purse: €3 million
Defending champion: John Catlin (+2)
Andalucia Masters TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sport Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm
Friday: Sky Sport Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 3pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Andalucia Masters betting tips
Bazza’s Banker: Adri Arnaus @ 28/1 with Bet365
Despite not getting over the line at the Open de Espana, I am sticking with Arnaus as I cannot ignore his record in Spanish events. Arnaus was edged out by his compatriot Rafa Cabrera-Bello in Madrid last week, but his superb scrambling and excellent putting make him the perfect contender to go toe to toe with Valderrama.
His last three events held in Spain have seen him finish in the top-5, including as a runner-up twice. One of those runner-up finishes was here in 2019, so he should arrive full of confidence from Madrid knowing what he needs to do to be successful here.
Arnaus ranks 4th on the European Tour for putting this season, and ranked 1st in this category in Madrid last week, so has every chance if he can continue to find the greens-in-regulation.
The Each-Way Play: Richard Bland @ 40/1 with Bet365
At a tough track like this you are looking for someone in good form, with a consistent game, who can hit fairways and greens for fun. Enter Bland man.
The Englishman has had quite the year in 2021, with eight top 10s and six top 5s. His recent form is also interesting, finishing in the top 10 on four out of six starts. A T9 finish in Madrid last week, accompanied by a T4 finish in windy conditions at the Dunhill Links last week really compliment his win at the Belfry – painting a picture of a player who can play well and adapt to tricky golf courses.
He fits the bill for me, ranking 19th for Driving Accuracy and 22nd for SG: Tee-to-green this season, so at a big price he is certainly worth an each-way shout.
The Long Shot: Wilco Nienaber @ 80/1 with Bet365
Nienaber remains one of the brightest stars in the future of the European Tour, so returning to a course where he played well last year might just help him to take that next step in his fledgling career.
The South African was 6th at Valderrama in 2020, his joint-second best finish on the European Tour tied with his 6th place in Madrid last week. Similarly to Arnaus, this could be the start of a link between Nienaber suiting the challenges of Spanish golf courses and at a big price that is an assumption I am going to jump on.
In Madrid last week Nienaber ranked 2nd for SG: Putting and 11th for Scrambling. That short game will be invaluable here, but it was his ball striking that caught my eye on his last visit here in 2020. Nienaber ranked 4th for SG: Off-the-tee, ranking in the top 10 for both accuracy and distance, while also ranking 13th for SG: Approach. A performance like that, partnered with his much improved putting, will see him go very close again.
For more prices visit Bet365.