80/181.00 Scott Jamieson loves a fast start in the sun
40/141.00 Local man Adri Arnaus was R1 leader last week
66/167.00 Marcus Helligkilde has been getting off to flyers
Weather forecast for Thursday
It's a sunny day in Madrid with temperatures rising towards the mid-80s in the afternoon. Winds are light so scoring conditions look good.
With no weather bias, I won't favour either side of the draw.
Scott Jamieson has made his last four cuts on the DP World Tour without climbing any higher than 30th. But when it comes to fast starts in those September/October events, he's twice taken the eye.
The Scot fired an opening 64 to lie seventh after day one of the European Masters at Crans while a 66 again put him in the top 10 after 18 holes of last week's rain-hit Alfred Dunhill Championship.
In that run he was also sixth at halfway in the Irish Open after starting out with rounds of 69 and 66.
Jamieson has played this week's course, Club de Campo in Madrid, just once but he hit the ground running with a 66 to sit 11th following the opening day.
He's also a previous first-round leader of this event as well as posting numerous low Thursday scores and good finishes in other Spanish tournaments.
A man who often plays well and starts strongly in sunny conditions - he's been in the top 10 after day one in seven of his last 15 events in South Africa - back Jamieson to get off to a flyer from his 1.30pm tee time.
Jon Rahm, the red-hot favourite, could well be impossible to stop in the outright market but other Spaniards could take the limelight on day one.
And the one I like best is course specialist Adri Arnaus.
The 28-year-old has played at this venue three times, finishing runner-up (lost a play to compatriot Rafa Cabrera Bello) in 2021 and fourth in 2019.
In 2019 an opening 65 put him second after round one while he was third at the midpoint in 2021 thanks to scores of 67 and 64.
Further supporting evidence for a bet comes from looking at other fast starts in his homeland such as a 65 in the 2021 Canary Islands Championship and a 68 in last year's Catalunya Championship that put him seventh after day one and set him on the way to victory three days later.
Arnaus was the first-round leader in the Dunhill Links Championship last week thanks to a brilliant 64 at Carnoustie (he finished 14th) and three starts earlier he set out with a 65 at Crans.
He opens his bid at 09.20 from the 10th tee.
If there's such a thing as a FRL form horse, Marcus Helligkilde would be a prime candidate.
In his last two events, the Dane has opened with a 64 to lead the way in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and a 65 to lie fourth after 18 holes of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Wind back a little further and he's inside the top eight on the Thursday standings in three of his previous nine events.
Helligkilde paved the way for the first of his three Challenge Tour wins in 2021 with a first-round 61 in the Finnish Challenge and he was again the leader after day one just three starts later.
With five laps of 64 or 65 in his last 16 rounds on the DP World Tour he's throwing in some low ones and to ice the cake he appears to love Spain too having won the 2021 Challenge Tour Grand Final there as well as a Nordic Golf League event (Spanish Masters) that same year.
Helligkilde is a morning starter, geting underway at 09.10 from the 1st.