The Punter's De-Brief: Spaniards shine on both tours

Golfer Jorge Campillo
Jorge Campillo celebrates his first European Tour win

Steve Rawlings takes a look back at last week's golf action where we saw two Spaniards and a Texan claim the spoils on the European and PGA Tours. Read the weekly reflections piece here...

"Campillo obviously deserves credit for finally getting off the mark but he certainly wasn’t hard pressed, and neither were the winners on the PGA Tour."

Having finished runner-up twice on the Challenge Tour and five times on the European Tour, it was a case of eighth time lucky for 32-year-old Spaniard, Jorge Campillo, at the Trophée Hassan II yesterday.

The pre-event 34.033/1 chance finished the event brilliantly after this superb biride on the 70th hole of the week.

He followed that birdie with another at the drivable par four 17th before a par at the 18th saw him win comfortably by two strokes but it was a victory that had looked most unlikely after three holes of the fourth and final round.

Despite the fact that he'd began the final round trailing by just a stroke, having followed his career for many a year, I was extremely pessimistic about Campillo's chances yesterday and when he bogeyed two of the first three holes and drifted out to 25.024/1 I wasn't surprised.

The third round leader, Erik Van Rooyen, who was also looking for his first win on the European Tour, didn't exactly set the world alight, shooting a level-par 36 on the front-nine but it was enough to see him move two clear of the field and for him to hit a low of 1.855/6. A bogey at the 10th was followed by another at 14 and odds-on players soon knew their fate.

Julian Suri hit a low of 2.89/5 as he fired a very solid bogey-free, two-under-par 71, Grant Forrest hit 5.49/2 before he found water off the tee on nine and my in-play pick, David Lipsky, dipped to just 3.7511/4 after he'd birdied the 13th to tie the lead but his challenge fizzled out immediately with three bogeys in-a-row from the 14th. Campillo obviously deserves credit for finally getting off the mark but he certainly wasn't hard pressed, and neither were the winners on the PGA Tour...

Spain's Jon Rahm and Texan Ryan Palmer, entered the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans tied for the lead with Scott Stallings and Trey Mullinax, with the South African duo, Branden Grace and Justin Harding just a stroke further back. I thought we might get an entertaining final round but it soon became apparent that wasn't going to be the case.

Rahm and Palmer birdied the second hole while Stallings and Mullinax played the first six holes in two-over-par and the South Africans imploded immediately. They played their first six holes in five-over-par before going on to shoot 80 to finish tied for 32nd!

We were left with a foregone conclusion from a very long way out and what promised to be a mildly entertaining final round transpired to be the soggiest of damp squibs. It was quite frankly just like the entire tournament. Dull.

My Bets

The only silver lining this week is that I didn't get too involved! Campillo was top of my 'Avoid Like the Plague' list so I've no complaints about not backing him but none of my pre-event picks contended and Lipsky was the only one of my in-play picks to even threaten to win and things were no better at the Zurich.

My sole selections from the off, Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman, missed the cut and as detailed in the In-Play Blog, I backed Grace and Harding before the final round in New Orleans.

What Have We Learned This Week?

Greens In Regulation and Scrambling were the two stats I concentrated on before the Trophée Hassan II so it was no surprise to see the first four home rank tied 12th, tied 12th, fifth and 19th for Greens In regulation and that Suri, who finished tied for second, ranked number one for Scrambling. Campillo ranked seventh.

The winners GIR and Scrambling numbers were very good before the event and so too was his current form. Something else I prioritised. Campillo's form figures read a red-hot 2-2-20-3 if I hadn't witnessed umpteen collapses in-contention, he may well have been a pick!

Don't jump in too quick on the European Tour. Jordan Smith started nicely in Morocco with a seven-under-par opening round to lead and he was matched at just 3.65 as a result but only around 10% of first round leaders go on to win on the European Tour so anyone priced so short so early need to be ignored or taken on.

The players enjoy the Zurich Classic of New Orleans but it's a hard watch and it really didn't help this year that the winners won so easily. I don't like it but maybe I'm missing a trick as the format clearly makes it hard to make up ground on Sundays.

Foursomes is a tough format and I wrote in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview "I'd definitely favour the leaders if they're a strong pairing" so with the benefit of hindsight, I was maybe daft to swerve the winners but if they don't change the format next year, we need to be concentrating on the pacesetters again. It's easy to go backwards (please see the South Africans!) but very hard to make up ground and a strong pairing is clearly tough to dislodge.

We're off to China on the European Tour this week for the Volvo China Open and we've got a great event to look forward to on the PGA Tour - the Wells Fargo Championship. I'll be back later with my previews.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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