Molinari To Make Mince Meat Of Open De Espana

Andrew Hughes reveals his golf tips and picks for the 2014 Open de Espana where Sergio Garcia heads the betting at 5/1.

Francesco Molinari @ 12/1
Rafael Cabrera-Bello @ 33/1
Alvaro Quiros @ 33/1

The Tournament
Formerly known as the Spanish Open, this event was founded in 1912 and is the European Tour’s oldest event. It’s the national golf Open of Spain, although only three of the last twenty winners have been Spanish, a trio that includes Seve Ballesteros. The quality of the line-up varies but this year’s field looks a little stronger than usual tournament and includes previous winner Sergio Garcia.

The Course
This year the tournament returns to PGA Catalunya Resort for the third time, and the first since 2009. Ranked as the number one golf venue in Spain for the last three years running, it was lengthened in 2012 and is a reasonably long par 72 course of a touch over 7300 yards. The extensive bunkers and large number of green-side water hazards also put a premium on accurate approach play.

In The Bunker
Since winning the Qatar Masters in January, Sergio Garcia has picked up four more top-ten finishes, including a third at the Players Championship, so it’s no surprise to see him topping the ante-post betting this week. He’s the deserved favourite, but I think this event is more competitive than the market suggests. The world number eight has the class to walk away with this event, and could make us look pretty foolish come Sunday evening, but 5/1 is very short and I can’t back him at that price.

Recommended Bets
Francesco Molinari is the ante-post second favourite and makes more appeal than Garcia. After a poor showing in both the Masters and the Malaysian Open, he improved with every round at the China Open to finish fourth and continued his strong form to make the top ten at the Players Championship last week. A former winner of this event, he has to be respected and is a solid bet at 12/1.

Garcia’s fellow Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello had a disappointing time at the Laguna National last time out, but he has been in good form this year and is worth a look this week. He’s managed four top tens in six European Tour events in 2014, and although he has only once made the top five at the Open de Espana in the last ten years, that was in 2009, the last time it was held at PGA Catalunya. Back him at 33/1

To complete your shortlist, look no further than another former winner Alvaro Quiros. That victory came in 2010 and he hasn’t made much impact in this event since, but he has looked in good form this year so far, particularly in his last outing when finishing third at the China Open. That was his best result on Tour since 2011 so he should have plenty of confidence going into this week and is worth a look at 33/1