Andalucia Masters Each-Way Tips: Calum can be king of the Hill

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Calum Hill strong tee-to-green game a good fit for Valderrama
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After going close with a 55/1 shot last week, Matt Cooper returns with three each-way selections for this week's Andalucia Masters at Valderrama, with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...

"His Greens in Regulation rank has improved from 16th to 13th to fifth in the last three weeks."

Back Calum Hill each-way @ 50/1

Main Bet: Calum Hill each-way @ 50/1

This week's course is Valderrama, a Robert Trent Jones Sr design in the south of Spain which snakes its way through cork trees and famously tests the patience of every field which takes it on.

The fairways can be hard to hit and so, too, the greens.

It maybe no surprise, therefore, that each of the last eight winners arrived at the course with his long game in fine fettle.

Sergio Garcia (three times), Andrew Johnston, Graeme McDowell, Soren Kjeldsen, Justin Rose and defending champion Christiaan Bezuidenhout had all ranked high (top 10) for Greens in Regulation in at least one of their two previous starts and had often been performing well in that category for a while.

That leads us to selection of the first pick, Scotland's Calum Hill, whose GIR rank has improved from 16th to 13th to fifth in the last three weeks, form which has landed him T39th, eighth and ninth in the Celtic Classic, Wales Open and UK Championship.

Promising as those results are, on their own it would not be sufficient, but his excellent campaign on the Challenge Tour in 2019 throws up a few clues that seal the deal.

His first win last year came at Adamstal, his second at Silkeborg Ry and he was also third at the Golf Club de Geneve.

The first of those is a fiddly track that requires a certain degree of diligence whilst the latter is another tight RTJ Sr layout with doglegs.

The middle of those courses is yet another tree-lined examination which hosted the Made in Denmark tournament in 2018 and Valderrama experts thrived there.

That week Bezuidenhout was the halfway leader, Kjeldsen was T12th and Ashley Chesters, who played the last round of this tournament two years ago in the final group with Sergio Garcia, was in the top ten.

Talking to Scottish newspaper The Courier at the British Masters the 25-year-old said: "I fancy playing at Valderrama, I've never played there before, but I don't want to play seven weeks in a row."

As good as his word he took a break after the first fortnight of the UK Swing, found something in training with coach and David Burns, has emerged to collect the first two top tens of his European Tour career and there could yet be more to come.

Next Best: Wade Ormsby each-way @ 40/1

Down the years players who've tasted success at Hong Kong Golf Club have often also done so at Valderrama and it's a link that doesn't need a massive amount of explaining given that both tracks are tree-lined with small greens.

Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Freddie Jacobson have all completed the double, whilst Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ronan Rafferty, Padraig Harrington and Simon Dyson have gone close by winning at one and finishing runner-up at the other.

Shane Lowry very nearly joined the latter group earlier this year, but his second place in the Hong Kong Open sits alongside another second at Valderrama.

Wade ormsby (720).JPG

The man who beat him that week, in the delayed renewal of the 2019 tournament, was Australia's Wade Ormsby for whom it was a second victory on the course, rubber-stamping the notion that he's a man to watch when trees are hugging the fairways.

His first top ten on the European Tour came at Club de Campo in Madrid back in 2004 and whilst his career then went backwards a little, his second wind was ignited by a win on the Asian Tour at the very narrow Delhi Golf Club in 2013.

A first top 10 in Hong Kong soon followed, as did fourth at Montgomerie Maxx, second at Royal Pines and then, shortly before the first win in Hong Kong and another top 10 at Royal Pines, he claimed fifth here at Valderrama.

Since then the short game wizard has played the course on another two occasions and whilst he's done little more than make the cut, he has recorded decent Greens in Regulation figures (top 30 for those last three visits).

The win in Hong Kong this January was quietly impressive as he turned a 36- and 54-hole two-shot lead into a four-shot win and on return from Australia last week he put in a promising effort at The Belfry, opening with a 68 and closing with a 69 for T25th.

Final Bet: Ashun Wu each-way @ 125/1

Some might doubt the wisdom of backing a player making his first start since March, but I believe the price is built into that consideration and I'd also contend that Ashun Wu is a consistently underestimated golfer.

Consider that Thomas Detry is seeking a first win at this level in his 97th start this week, ditto Jason Scrivener in his 146th and Jordan Smith has one win in 98 appearances.

They are all very fine golfers and each has good claims this week (the first two have excellent course form, the latter is strong tee-to-green) which is why each of them is 40/1 or lower.

In contrast, Wu has three wins in 130 starts and is available at three figures.

Now, obviously there are good reasons for the conclusions drawn by the compilers - Wu is far more inconsistent than the other three for one thing.

But I rather like that he gets himself in the mix a fair bit. Above and beyond the three wins there are another five top seven finishes, but they don't tell the whole story.

He was second with 18 holes to play in the 2013 Malaysian Open (finishing T11th), third after 54 holes of the Shotclock Masters (T47th) and second at the same stage in last year's Scandinavian Invitational (T20th).

There's no doubt that he went backwards, but he got involved, as he did when heading a stellar Dubai Desert Classic field after three rounds in January.

He still topped the leaderboard moving into the back nine and whilst he fell back into a tie for sixth he was far from the only later starter that Sunday to struggle in the blustery wind.

A week later he added T13th in the Saudi International, a third top 13 finish in just six starts this season.

His course form is not great, but when T48th in 2017 he did find plenty of greens (14th) and he has an excellent short game.

Faced with this week's test you need to land lots of greens or scramble superbly: Wu ranked seventh for that category through the 2018 season and is eighth this campaign.

As a veteran of the Japan Tour tree-lined venues won't faze him. In fact one of his wins there came on a Robert Trent Jones Jr track (Miho) and, whilst father and son are clearly distinct, it's also true that they share many design principles.

Staked: 18pts
Returned: 27pts
P/L: +9pts

Matt Cooper,

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