We're off to Valderrama for this week's European Tour test, the Andalucia Masters, where course experience and a premium on accuracy is expected to prosper. Here are the betting.betfair golf team's quintet of selections...
"Few layouts in world golf place a greater emphasis on accuracy off the tee and nobody in this field has hit a higher percentage of fairways than Chesters over the past year."
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Peter Hanson @ 100/1
Experience counts for plenty around Valderrama and, on first glance, it may look as if I'm beholden to that idea and just trying to crowbar Peter Hanson in as a selection. It would be easy to think his course form is of the ancient variety and he's not shown any sort of current form for years. Well, that's wrong on both counts. The Swede has seven top 25s at the famed tree-lined Spanish track but, notably, two of those have come in the last two years - T12 in 2017 and T19 in 2016. In other words, he remains a great fit for the course. What really gives him an extra kick forward this week is that he finished tied 10th in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship two weeks so, yes, he can still play the game. Also T7 in the Shot Clock Masters in June, the veteran can be a factor this week.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Ashley Chesters @ 66/1
It was no surprise to see Ashley Chesters produce one of the best results of his 2017 campaign at Valderrama as it may well suit his style better than any other on the schedule. Few layouts in world golf place a greater emphasis on accuracy off the tee and nobody in this field has hit a higher percentage of fairways than Chesters over the past year. Only six fare better for greens in regulation, which is equally important given the small putting surfaces. This tricky course that takes plenty of knowing, so further encouragement can be taken from a course debutant saving his best two rounds for the weekend - he rose from 53rd to 12th place. Recent form is decent enough, with top-30 finishes on half of his last 14 starts, including a quartet of top-20s.
Steve Rawlings: Back Jeunghun Wang @ 66/1
Course form tends to stand up really well at Valderrama so there's a risk in playing a course debutant but in such a weak renewal, I thought three-time European Tour winner, Jeunghun Wang, was worth chancing at a juicy price. The 23-year-old Korean has a tidy all-round game and he's been showing glimpses of form of late, too. His first victory came two years ago in the Trophée Hassan II at another tree-lined venue so he might just take to Valderrama and if he does, he definitely knows how to win. After a decent opening round last week at Walton Heath, he hung around sufficiently for a top-30 finish in the wind and the rain and he ranked highly again for the key stats that should come to the fore here - 13th for Driving Accuracy and fifth for Greens In Regulation.
Joe Dyer: Back Pablo Larrazabal @ 50/1
As everyone notes this week, you want a player with experience of Valderrama and my man has had a good few looks, making the cut in his five professional performances with a best finish of 12th coming last year. On first glance I'd pass over Larrazabal here but this mercurial (ie inconsistent but capable of winning) performer has often played well on shorter courses that need a strategic approach and his best results of recent months have come at the KLM Open and Omega European Masters, making the top 20 in each, both tracks suiting the thinkers rather than the bombers. Those results excepted, Larrazabal's recent form isn't wonderful but it wasn't last year when he delivered a high finish and the feeling is that he often produces his best in his homeland with a runner-up and third place at the Open de Espana and generally high finishes. In a shallow field the 50/1 looks half decent for a player with four European Tour wins on the ledger.
Mike Norman: Back Robert Rock @ 40/1
It's no surprise to see some of the best players in the world down the years have consistent records at Valderrama as this venue, perhaps more than most on the European Tour, is one that generally suits experienced, high class golfers. Course experience is key this week I feel. Unfortunately the market has latched on to that also with course specialists and exceptional players - past or present - dominating the betting. But Sergio Garcia at 4/1 is not for me, and the likes of Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, and Soren Kjeldsen hardly deserve 20/1 or lower quotes either. So it's Robert Rock for me, a player who can definitely be classed as experienced, is fairly consistent, and has a very decent record at Valderrama. The 41-year-old Englishman finished eighth here last year, and has recorded top 30 finishes in three of his most recent four visits. He's also a joint-industry-best 40/1 on the Sportsbook, which is another reason to get him on side in a field that really does lack strength in depth.
2018 Season P/L to date: + £851.16
- Alfred Dunhill Links, Padraig Harrington @ 50/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Portugal Masters, Lucas Herbert @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- KLM Dutch Open, Thomas Detry @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Omega European Masters, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 28/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Made In Denmark, Matt Wallace @ 33/1 - WIN (Mike)
- Made In Denmark, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Czech Masters, Andrea Pavan @ 50/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Czech Masters, Lee Slattery @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- US PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka @ 20/1 - WIN (Dave)
- US PGA Championship, Gary Woodland @ 125/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- WGC-Bridgestone, Brooks Koepka @ 25/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- The Open, Tiger Woods @ 30/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Scottish Open, Ryan Fox @ 45/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Irish Open, Russell Knox @ 28/1 - WIN (Dave)
- BMW International Open, Matt Wallace @ 33/1 - WIN (Steve)
- BMW International Open, Martin Kaymer @ 33/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Italian Open, Lee Westwood @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- BMW PGA Championship, Kiradech Aphibarnrat @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Belgian Knockout, Benjamin Hebert @ 50/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Belgian Knockout, Jorge Campillo @ 28/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Rocco Forte Open, Lucas Herbert @ 125/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Golf Sixes, South Korea @ 16/1 - PLACE (Steve & Paul)
- Volvo China Open, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 200/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- US Masters, Bubba Watson @ 16/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Hero Indian Open, Andrew Johnston @ 33/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Oman Open, Jorge Campillo @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Maybank Championship, Shubhankar Sharma @ 60/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Dubai Desert Classic, Alex Levy @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- UBS Hong Kong Open, Paul Peterson @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
*2017 P/L: -£306.84
*2016 P/L: +£267.58
*2015 P/L: +£958.37
*2014 P/L: +£251.75