Portugal Masters Betting: Gagli's fine form set to continue
Lorenzo Gagli is enjoying a terrific rookie season on the European Tour
"Lorenzo Gagli has recorded five top-10 finishes (including a second, a third, and two fifth place finishes) since the end of June and is enjoying a fine rookie season on the European Tour."
There are few players in better form than Lorenzo Gagli at present says Mike Norman, and the Italian is set for another good tournament at this week's Portugal Masters.
Apologies for the late preview this week folks. I was at the Madrid Masters last week and after taking one look at the severity of the greens at El Encin Golf Hotel my head went into a spin, and I've only just recovered. Believe me, Augusta National has got nothing on that place when it comes to undulating greens.
It wasn't a bad week for a couple of my picks; Gonzalo Fdez-Castano led after round one and traded at four times lower than his pre-tournament odds, whilst Alvaro Quiros kept getting into the fringe of contention but couldn't kick on. Still, small profits could have been had on both players.
As Steve 'The Punter' Rawlings points out in his preview here, this week's Portugal Masters at the fantastic looking Oceânico Victoria Golf Course has been a bit of a big-hitters haven in the past, though Steve believes accurate players might be about to start being rewarded. I wouldn't disagree with anything The Punters says but I'm of the opinion that accuracy from the tee won't be that advantageous this week, and when that's the case then I'd rather back someone who can hit it 320 yards plus than someone who can hit it 280 yards.
The reason I'm not convinced accuracy from the tee will be that important this week - and I could be completely wrong of course - is because of the way the 7,231 yard, par-72 course has been set up.
Like last week the fairways here are generally wide, but the big thing in the favour of players missing the short stuff is that the rough is not at all penal, and unless you get tight up against a lip then the bunkers should provide few problems also. It's a very fair test and I'm not sure anyone can accuse the course of not suiting them.
I watched Lorenzo Gagli very closely during his final round at the Madrid Masters and I was very impressed with every aspect of his game. Regular readers will remember that I backed Gagli three or four weeks running not so long ago and his performance in one of those events - where he hit 29 consecutive Greens in Regulation but didn't have a single one-putt green - will live long in the memory as one of the most frustrating golf bets I've ever had. But I'm now prepared to put that poor putting week down as a one off as he seemed very assured with his new belly putter in Madrid.
There are few players in this week's field in better form than Gagli either; the Italian has recorded five top-10 finishes (including a second, a third, and two fifth place finishes) since the end of June and is enjoying a fine rookie season on the European Tour. Many agree that he's a winner waiting to happen so I'm prepared to wager him at [42.0] that the waiting is no longer than Sunday afternoon.
Last week I backed Quiros at [36.0], this week he's available to back at just [30.0] but I believe that's completely fair. He is showing that his niggling wrist injury - which might still need surgery - isn't hindering his game at present so the fact that he played very well seven days ago and that he is a previous winner of this tournament on this course temps me to back him again.
I was slightly surprised that Pablo Larrazabal didn't play at the Madrid Masters but there's every chance that his recent break has freshened him up enough to put in a bold show here. The quirky Spaniard has played twice here before, making the cut on both occasions and recording respectable finishes. Seven of the eight competitive rounds of golf he has played on this course have been at least two under par, and I believe he is a better player this season than at any other time in his career.
At much the same time that Gagli was playing well Larrazabal was playing excellent golf also, winning the BMW International Open in June and finishing second at Gleneagles in August. His putting and patience will need to stand up here but he hasn't got to 11th on the Race to Dubai standings without holing his fair share of putts this season. At [75.0] to back this week his is very much worth a wager.
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