This week's event takes us to Castellón, a province on the East coast of Spain just north of Valencia. The Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, Sergio Garcia's home club and the course which he grew up on, hosts this tournament for the third successive year and the local hero is once again gracing us with his presence. It speaks volumes of Garcia's form that he's available at twice the odds this year than last, however it's dangerous to write off a man of his calibre on a course that he knows like the back of his hand.
So what do we know? The course is a 7,073 yard, par 71 parkland style course set a few kilometres from the Mediterranean coastline in a small valley. Most holes are tree-lined and there are just 4 artificial water features which come into play on what is generally a flat course. The greens are a less common mix of Bent/Ryegrass/Festuca and may take some getting used to by those who are new to the event, although those who play Bentgrass greens well should feel quite comfortable.
The course isn't overly demanding: 5 of the par 4s are well inside 400 yards which present opportunities to the longer hitters with a good wedge game. The winner from the last 2 years has been inside the top 5 for putts per GIR and top 10 for total putts on the week - someone who's in good recent form with the flat stick is required here. 20 under par has been the winning mark for the last 2 years so, with perfect golfing conditions forecast, expect this to be the same kind of mark required to win this year.
Back to Garcia then. It was great to see him with a smile on his face at Celtic Manor and perhaps his love for the game is returning after a lengthy spell of frustration and seeming disinterest. Whether he'll be sharp enough - particularly with the putter - to win this title for the second time is open to debate: personally I think he'll make a solid top 20, possibly as high as 5th or thereabouts, however I think he'll find winning just a step too far this week. The Ryder Cup may well have re-ignited a passion which will see him return to his best over the coming season, however for now I'll invest elsewhere.
Here's how I'm spending my 10 points this week - Bet365 are best priced at the time of writing on all 4 of my selections - if you haven't already got a Bet365 account then you can get up to £200 in free bets when you open a new account via this link.
Rhys Davies 1.5 pts E/W 33/1 with Up to £200 in free bets via this link: Bet 365 £215 Free Bets
The early 40/1 about the Welsh putting sensation winning this event disappeared very quickly and you may well struggle to get 33/1 if you're reading this later on Wednesday, however 33/1 is still a price worth taking in my opinion. Davies has performed on all types of greens and the obscure mix won't bother him one bit here. Returned to some kind of form at Gleneagles with a tie for 14th after a couple of months on the back burner, then had a much more prominent showing last week in Portugal before finally fading to 27th despite starting Sunday on the same mark as eventual winner Richard Green. With perfect conditions this is likely to come down to a putting contest and, if that's the case, I can't think of anyone better to have on my team than Rhys Davies. RESULT: M/C
Fredrik Andersson Hed 1.5 pts E/W 60/1 with Up to £200 in free bets via this link: £215 Free Bets
Another quality putter who will relish these conditions is the Swede Andersson Hed. Like Davies, he's already a winner this term and therefore has no concerns about his card nor worries about qualifying for Dubai - this means he can play with the freedom and aggression required to compete here. His runners-up finish at Wentworth - another parkland course with bentgrass greens - is worthy of note and this event should be much, much easier to win. His recent performances have been hit-or-miss with 3 missed cuts sandwiched between 2 top 10s, however he'll know that a win here will propel him into the top 15 in the Race to Dubai. RESULT: M/C
Richard Finch 1pt E/W 80/1 with Up to £200 in free bets via this link: Bet 365 £215 Free Bets
Finch has a slightly different objective this week to Davies and Andersson Hed - to get himself inside the top 60 and give himself a chance of making it to Dubai. At 63rd he's on the cusp and safe in the knowledge that a top 5 finish or better will secure him a place in the end of season finale. After finishing runner-up twice in the spring, Finch has been largely off the boil ever since, however last week's prominent performance was again noteworthy. A final round 73 was disappointing (he started ahead of winner Richard Green) however he'll have got the taste of being in contention once again and I won't be at all surprised to see him up there again this week. Finished 7th here in 2008 before missing the cut in windier conditions last year - I'm expecting similar conditions to '08 this week and with that another top performance from Finch. RESULT: T19
Jeppe Huldahl 1pt E/W 150/1 with Up to £200 in free bets via this link: Bet 365 £215 Free Bets
The Dane failed to repeat his 2009 Celtic Manor victory last week despite leading going into Sunday following an incredible 3rd round of 61 which contained 12 birdies including 7 on the trot. That kind of scoring capability will go down perfectly here and I for one won't be surprised to see him in the mix again this week. RESULT: T44
Check out my top 20 tips for this event here: Castello Masters top 20 tips
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 20:30BST 19.10.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
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