Gran Canaria Open First-Round Leader Tips: Campillo can start fast

Spain's Jorge Campillo
Jorge Campillo can flourish on day one

The European Tour heads to Spain and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at Meloneras Golf...

"This week's course has Paspalum greens, the same putting surfaces on which he captured the Qatar Masters in 2019."

Back Jorge Campillo E/W @ 81.080/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Gran Canaria: Temperatures are in the mid-60s for the very early starters and rise to 72 degrees from 1pm onwards. There's always some element of wind by this coastal track, especially the ocean holes, but it's fairly modest and drops a little in the afternoon.

First-round leader history:

None!

Strategy: Given the new course and lack of FRL history, this will have to be a weather-based plan of action. It looks as if the later starters get slightly warmer and less windy conditions so they are favoured although there's not a great deal in it. I'll pick two in the afternoon and one in the morning.

Count on Campillo

Jorge Campillo comes into the crosshairs on several counts this week.

On a very basic level, he's a Spaniard with an afternoon tee-time. But let's get a little more scientific than that.

The local man likes home turf and has a fifth, a seventh and two further top 17 on his last four starts in Spain.

This week's course has Paspalum greens, the same putting surfaces on which he captured the Qatar Masters in 2019.

The Oman Open also uses Paspalum and Campillo has a second and a fourth in two of his three starts there so, in terms of a course fit, he scores well.

It could well be that he's played the course but, if not, he'll have encountered plenty like it in Spain so I'm hoping that will override some rather poor form which shows plenty of missed cuts.

Putting a positive spin on the, he was a decent T28 in Qatar at the start of March and he's done his best work on day one.

Looking at his Thursday scores, he's fired in the 60s in three of his last four events and was T10 after 18 holes in Qatar three starts ago.

There's enough there to have a punt at 80/1. Campillo heads out at 14:00 local time.

Hill can climb to the top

Scotland's Calum Hill is in excellent nick having bagged a third, a fourth and an eighth in his last four European Tour starts.

He's also started really fast in two of those so I'm surprised to see him at 60/1 for first-round leader here.

Hill opened with 65 at the Saudi International - also played on Paspalum greens - to lie fourth after the opening lap while he fired another 65 to end day one of the Kenya Open in second.

In his final two rounds at the following week's Kenya Savannah Classic the Scot closed 65-64 so the putter has been hot and he's really been sprinkling the birdies around.

While not playing too much golf in Spain, his form there reads 9-17-27-MC so that's decent enough as well.

Hill is an afternoon starter at 13:50.

Kurt can go low

Kurt Kitayama is my pick from the morning wave; he pegs it up at 08:50 from the 10th.

The American is one of the European Tour's form horses after five top 20s in his last six starts, the highlight a second place in the Kenya Open.

As for first-round positions, he's shot a 65 and three 67s in those half-dozen events.

What elevates him further is a stellar record on courses with similar traits.

Kitayama's two European Tour victories came at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open and Oman Open - two layouts by the coast that feature Paspalum greens.

He ranked 4th for Putting Average and Putts per Round in Oman and 11th and 10th in Mauritius. In other words, he did actually putt well on those greens too so the correlation has genuine merit.

After showing some grit (T15) in cool conditions in Austria last time, this week's test should be far more to his liking.

Back Kitayama at 45/1.

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