Stick with regular altitude winner Thriston Lawrence
Adri Arnaus loves this Madrid course
Shubhankar Sharma's form run might have more to come
The Open de Espana returns to Club de Campo Villa de Madrid for a fourth successive time and in that spell it has always been played in October, therefore having a quite profound effect on the short, medium, and long-term futures of so many players.
Moreover, if you take a look at a few of the winners and contenders in that period it's a stark reminder of how swiftly fortunes can change in this sport.
For Jon Rahm life has been sweet. He won this event in 2018 across the city at Centro Nacional and has added victories at this venue in 2019 and last year.
The man who claimed the title in-between those latter two successes was Rafa Cabrera Bello for whom it was a fourth DP World Tour victory. He would have hoped it had prompted a career revival but alas it has not been so straightforward - he's made just four top 10 finishes since.
He also won thanks mainly to an exceptionally fortunate ruling on the 72nd hole which helped him defeat compatriot Adri Arnaus who this column had picked that week.
Arnaus maintained his form and claimed a first tour win a few months later, again on home soil, but this year, which began with an outside chance of a Ryder Cup debut, has been a letdown.
A year earlier another local man, Samuel Del Val, utilised a rare top-level opportunity to land third place but it was a flash in the pan.
To that point, he had played four times on the DP World Tour and made the cut every time. Since then he has missed nine straight cuts and is now a rare starter even on the third tier.
And what of JB Hansen who finished fourth in 2019? He won late the following year and then again in late 2021, finally ridding himself of the habit of making so many double bogeys alongside a raft of birdies.
He was actually T27th at Villa de Madrid 12 months ago but in 30 starts since, on the first and second tier, he has made just three cuts with a best of T47th.
The lesson? Beware kids, it's a fickle world out there.
Club de Campo Villa de Madrid is a par-71 set at 7,112 yards and it plays shorter owing to the altitude in the Spanish capital (it is 650m above sea level).
It's a traditional design and often plays fast with balls scampering down fairways. With some unusual angles off the tee and into the greens it takes a smart golfer to avoid running out of short grass.
This each-way column also has a tough task on its hands with Rahm a deserved short-price favourite.
Altitude is a factor to consider. Johannesburg specialists Retief Goosen, Richard Sterne and Charl Schwartzel have won on the course this century.
So have Crans winners Ricardo Gonzalez and Raphael Jacquelin (the latter grabbed his win there on the second tier).
Cabrera Bello has won at Diamond in Vienna (not very high but nearing 500m) and Jon Rahm has twice been third in Mexico City in addition to his three triumphs in Madrid.
Close followers will not be too surprised by the identity of the first selection because whenever there is thin air the column compass spins around to Thriston Lawrence.
He broke through at this level with an admittedly fortunate victory in Johannesburg, but has backed it up with wins in Crans, back in Johannesburg and then in Munich.
He's also finished top 10 in Kenya, Prague and twice again on the high veldt in South Africa.
He could only card a pair of 72s to miss the cut on his course debut last year but that only gives us a juicy price for someone whose best game really could thrive on this test.
As mentioned above, Adri Arnaus has not had the best of years but he opened the European Masters in Crans with a 65, he also made the cut at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship and he was T14th last week in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
He posted a 64 in round one and also closed with a 67 on The Old Course.
He had a rotten time of it in this event last year, missing the cut, but before then he was fourth in 2019 and second in 2021.
Moreover, this sort of course - fast-running and in thin air - has proved to be right up his street.
He's a two-time top 10 finisher in both the Swiss Alps and also in Nairobi.
This week's venue is the ideal spot for him to build on the promise of those recent good starts.
Two years ago, in his only previous start on this course, India's Shubhankar Sharma carded a second round 64 to hit the halfway mark in third place and he ended the week in that position, too.
He's another with a very fine record at altitude, in his case including victory at Randpark in Johannesburg, contending in the WGC Championship in Mexico City, grabbing second place in Sun City and he's also getting in the mix in Nairobi.
In recent times he's been eighth at Royal Liverpool in the Open and seventh at The K Club in the Irish Open.
He's not maintained that in the last few weeks but I'm not sure he's that far off.
His problem has been making terrible starts - he had to fight to make the cut at Wentworth (and did) then was T157th after 18 holes last week before carding a good 66 and then a decent 69.
If he can avoid slotting in behind the 8-ball on Thursday he can go well again in Madrid.
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