Get the best bets from Steve Rawlings, Dave Tindall and the rest of our golf experts for this week's Open de Espana and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open...
Steve Rawlings: "Given Rahm hadn't any experience of the track before he waltzed home two years ago, he may well take some stopping this time around."
Jon Rahm is a short-priced favourite to win his national title for a third time in-a-row but Steve Rawlings argues that the Spaniard not too short at around 9/4...
Steve says: "Jon Rahm did everything well two years ago and it's no surprise to see that he won by five strokes. He hit it further than anyone else off the tee and only three players in the field were straighter but JB Hansen finished tied for fourth ranking 42nd for Driving Distance and Adri Arnaus finished alongside the Dane ranking only 33rd for Driving Accuracy. Arnaus ranked number one for Greens In Regulation and the man in second, Rafa Cabrera-Bello topped the Scrambling stats for the week.
"Looking at all the other winners, some winners have been long off the tee and others accurate so I'd ignore the driving stats and Greens in Regulation and Scrambling look more important than either of the driving metrics...
"Given Rahm hadn't any experience of the track before he waltzed home two years ago, he may well take some stopping this time around."
Dave Tindall recommends backing three players who could all make a strong start in Madrid on Thursday.
Dave says: "Alvaro Quiros is one of the home stars likely to attract a decent gallery on day one and there's a fair chance he could give them plenty to cheer.
"The Spaniard was fourth at this course back in 2008 when shooting a 64 and two 66s while he's played some decent golf in recent weeks too.
"Quiros was tied 18th at the Scottish Open, tied 16th at the Hero Open and tied 27th in last week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. As for recent fast starts, he was fourth after day one of the Scottish Open and sixth following the first round of the Hero Open. He shot opening 66s on both occasions.
"Quiros won this event in 2010 when third after 18 holes and he's the sort of player who can get on hot runs."
Dave's bet: Back Alvaro Quiros E/W @ 111.0110/1
Matt Cooper has three each-way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places at the Open de Espana...
Matt says: "Justin Harding won the Kenya Open in Nairobi in March and a week later led the Kenya Savannah Classic on the same course by three blows after 54 holes before fatigue took a toll and he finished T14th.
"Spin it forward to June and he was fifth at the BMW International Open at Eichenried in Munich, then he was fifth at halfway in the European Masters at Crans before struggling over the weekend.
"That's the altitude box ticked for the year, and also the winning form. He also lost a play-off at Celtic Manor in July and was tied ninth in his penultimate start in the Dutch Open. Historically, he has plenty of good results on the High Veld and also back in Kenya.
"And what of Spain? Well, not only was he third at Valderrama last year, there's also the rather straightforward good news that he played well here two years ago, bouncing into the top 10 with a Saturday 64 and pressing forward on Sunday to land tied seventh."
Matt's bet: Justin Harding 1pt each-way @ 46.045/1
Andy Swales discusses the player form and the course in Madrid for this week's Open de Espana...
Andy says: "Rahm, the world No 1, is the only member of golf's top 50 in attendance this week and it's difficult to imagine him not being in contention on Sunday afternoon.
"In 2019, when the Tour last visited Club de Campo, Spanish golfers occupied all three podium positions. Runner-up on that occasion was former world No 16 Rafa Cabrera-Bello who also tied-10th here back in 2008. However, the 37-year-old is currently outside the world's top 230 and hasn't had a top-10 since January.
"One Spaniard who has enjoyed a great year on the Challenge Tour, and will be keen to test his game at a higher level, is Santiago Tarrio. The 30-year-old rising star is a two-time winner on the Challenge Tour in 2021, and during the past 12 months has posted 10 top-six finishes - which includes one on the European Tour.
"The younger Nicolai Hojgaard is already a champion at European Tour level and tees-up again this Thursday. The 20-year-old Dane is riding high right now following his recent victory in Italy and during a momentous year, so far, has leapt more than 350 spots up the World Ranking to a career-high 153."
Steve rolls the dice on three more outsiders, at both of this week's tournaments, including an American who's reaching one of life's milestones.
Steve says: "My third and final pick for the week is James Hahn who was in-contention at the Waste Management Phoenix Open back in February. That's fairly-old form now but given that's a low-scoring event in the desert, it's very good correlating form. Although we already know Hahn likes it here given he finished fifth 12 months ago.
"Hahn's a hard player to get right as he suddenly finds form out of the blue so he could very easily not turn up this week. He shot 60 in round three of the Barbasol Championship five starts ago (finished fifth), however, and he has at least won on the PGA Tour twice previously.
"I'm a bit of a fan of backing players on or around significant birthdays as I do think it's a chance for players to reflect and regroup. For example, Lee won the Byron Nelson in early summer, three months before he turned 30, and Hahn turns 40 in a couple of weeks.
"At odds of 370.00369/1, he already had plenty in his favour so that little fillip is just the icing on the (birthday) cake."
The PGA Tour moves on from Mississippi to Las Vegas this week for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open so read The Punter's comprehensive preview ahead of Thursday's start here...
Steve says: "So open is this event that Viktor Hovland is the narrow favourite at 25.024/1, just ahead of fellow Ryder Cuppers, Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka, and last weeks' Sanderson farms Championship winner, Sam Burns.
"Koepka has event form figures that read MC-4-MC-2-MC so it's a mixed bag but he's the one towards the very front of the market that I considered backing the hardest.
"Abraham Ancer is in form and he's arguably the most accurate player in the field off the tee. He too has inconsistent course form figures that read MC-MC-4-MC-4 but now he's got off the mark, at the WGC - St Jude Invitational, he has to be considered a dangerous contender.
"Russell Henley led through three rounds at both the US Open and the Wyndham Championship recently before just failing to hold on and he ended last season inside the top-20 in the Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green rankings so should have the game for TPC Summerlin. He has only ordinary course form reading MC-10-24-MC-37-27 so far but that could easily change given how well he's been playing of late."
Steve's bet: Back Russell Henley @ 95.094/1
Dave Tindall has three each-way tips for the action at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas starting with a young American of prodigious talent.
Dave says: "On debut in 2019, Wolff fired 67-69-68-65 to finish tied 18th. And last year he carded 68-66-61-66 to shoot 23-under before losing a three-way play-off to Laird. He had three eagles in his 10-under 61 and left putts hanging on 17 and 18 so went mighty close to a 59...
"As for recent form, he was 17th in the WGC-St Jude Invitational in early August and matched that finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship last week. He needed to drain a 30-footer to make the cut (68-71) but then shot 65-68 to climb the leaderboard at the weekend.
"He said: 'I feel like my game's finally starting to come around and I'm working on the right things and not only that but I just feel like I'm in a better, happier spot than I was last year.'
"The words are backed up by him finishing 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green at the Sanderson Farms, his best numbers in that category since this very tournament last year where he was fifth TTG. His improved mental state is hugely encouraging to hear about and hopefully he can have another great week in Vegas."
Dave's bet: Matthew Wolff each-way @ 41.040/1
The players have arrived in the Mojave Desert for the first of two events in Las Vegas. Check out our course and current form stats compiled by Andy Swales...
Andy says: "The Shriners Children's Open is the first of two successive tournaments to be staged in the western state of Nevada and will once again take place at TPC Summerlin.
"Laid out approximately 2,700 feet above sea level, TPC Summerlin is currently celebrating its 30-year anniversary. Situated in the shadows of Red Rock Canyon, the course has Bentgrass greens that are larger than the Tour average, as well as generously wide Bermuda grass fairways...
"Still only 26, Si Woo Kim tied-eighth at TPC Summerlin 12 months ago, and has opened the new PGA Tour season with a brace of top-12 finishes.
"If you're seeking a longer hitter who putts solidly then Jason Kokrak could be your man this week.
"The world No 28 doesn't have a great record at this course but he did taste victory in Nevada last autumn and has recently completed the best season of his career by far."
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