Paul Williams' tips for the 2010 Madeira Islands :
With all the focus being on The Masters this week, you could be excused for giving the Madeira Open a miss....that would be a mistake because I think the predictor has drawn out 5 cracking picks! Plus, with the bookies' attention being on Augusta, perhaps we can catch them with their pants down through some overly generous prices...
I won't bore you with the tournament background other than to say that only last year's stats are of relevance from a course history perspective as prior to 2009 this tournament was held elsewhere. The players who prospered last year were of the above average length & GIR but pretty average elsewhere in general - they won by combining these attributes with a good putting performance on the week. That's what I'm looking for this week.
The predictor tips then are as follows:
Northern Irishman Hoey loves Portugal - he won his maiden European Tour title in Estoril last season after an impressive 6th place finish in this event. Hasn't had the best of seasons although was in contention in Joburg until a final round 73 put paid to any aspirations of a lofty finish. A solid performance in Andalucia, coupled with some of the strongest distance and GIR stats in the field, make Hoey top pick this week.
The depth of talent in this field is extremely exposed when Guerrier pops up in the top 5, however dig a bit deeper and you'll see that his top 30 in Andalucia and top 20 Alfred Dunhill Championship before Christmas are backed up with 2 very important stats for me this week - he's averaging nearly 302 yards off the tee (5th) and has hit 73.6% of greens (10th). If he can putt averagely this week then he'll go very close to winning this at a 3 figure price.
Argantinan Carranza falls into the same bracket as Guerrier - long, hits greens and can't putt for toffee. Well, let's be more generous than that - is streaky with the flat stick! Was putting reasonably in January and February - finishing no lower than 30th in all tournaments - then lost the plot in March and couldn't make a cut. New month, new putter streak and Clodomiro can reward at 100/1!
The man from Hornchurch is more of an all-round player who finds his way into the top 5 due to his improving form - after missing 4 straight cuts he found something in Morocco to finish 15th, then faded when playing alongside eventual winner Louis Oosthuizen in Andalucia in the final group. Will have learned a lot from that experience and this is much, much easier.
Spaniard Luna is an interesting entry as our final pick. He makes the grade purely on the strength of his history in this tournament, albeit almost exclusively on the old course with 3 top 10s from 9 starts and a victory way back in 1995. Having said that, he did come T20 here on this course last year. Showed glimpses of form with a second round 64 in Andalucia and could well turn back the clock at another 3-figure price.
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 15:15GMT 7.4.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation