After the trials and tribulations of last week, we're back into mainland Europe this week at the Madrid Masters. The RSHECC in Madrid is the host course, a change from last year's event so once again the corresponding results are of less importance this week. The tournament is being hosted by Gonzalo Fernandez Castano's promotion company and he's managed to assemble a fair cast this week including Alvaro Quiros, Luke Donald, the Molinari brothers and Sergio Garcia.
The course itself is a tight, tree-lined affair with undulating, cambered fairways and 7 left doglegs. Water is in play on a number of holes and the greens are excellent, reminiscent of Valderrama. If the experience of Seville is anything to go by, the rough could still be quite punishing following the wet Spanish winter.
At 7,167 yards the par 72 course is likely to favour strategic play rather than bombing it 310 from the tee. We also have some assistance in that the 2007 Madrid Open was played at this course - you'll find the statistics here - and was won by the Dane Mads Vibe-Hastrup at 16 under with my old favourite Alejandro Canizares in close attendance. I've built these results into the predictor too for you to weight accordingly.
I'm in 2 minds as to whether a positive performance at Wentworth will bode well - my gut feeling is that, similar to a Major, those in serious contention will struggle this week due to the mental and physical fatigue....however those who showed some promise without getting within striking distance could well push on further this week.
My tips for this week:
Whilst the predictor has picked Canizares, I'm going to plump for the man from Northern Ireland. To me, Canizares will need a break after competing for a number of consecutive weeks - this to me was highlighted further by his final round slump from a potential winning position on Sunday (he started the day on -1, the same as Simon Khan) to a tie for 48th. GMac on the other hand has been quietly going about his business with consecutive top 30 finishes following top 10s in China and Doral. Tee to green is what McDowell is all about and that bodes well here, however his putting stroke also looked positive at Wentworth averaging 1.75 putts per GIR - if he can string it all together this week then he'll be in the mix. Early 40/1 about McDowell has all gone I'm afraid, but 33/1 still offers some value.
It's easy to forget that Ramsay has already won on Tour this season, however his victory in South Africa just before Christmas is there for all to see. His performance at Wentworth gives me confidence that this could be another positive week for the Scotsman - he hit 82% of fairways (2nd in the field) and 65% of greens (11th)...but for a couple of mistakes around the green he could have been well inside the top 10. Showed progressive from is Seville and Italy, could well push on from there this week in my view.
Morrison's demise on Friday was all the more understandable when you consider he had US Open qualification on his mind - had he contended at the weekend then the 36 holes he played (and ultimately triumphed) on Monday at Walton Heath would have been all the harder. I'm not saying he threw it on Friday of course, however it could well have been a blessing in disguise. Well, congratulations to James on a fine effort to get himself on the plane to Pebble Beach next month by winning the qualifier! The bookies have priced him, however, based on a poor missed cut at Wentworth and it's time for us to cash in. The predictor has him drifting down to 10th spot on the same basis, however I personally think he's better than that and 100/1 is too hard to resist. Accurate, putts very well, in great nick prior to Wentworth with finishes of 4/6/1/2 in 6 starts - lump on!
Odds Update - 07:00BST 26.5.10. The bookies are wising up, but there's still some value out there - Morrison is now best priced 80/1 with William Hill - £25 free bet with promo code C30 via this link: William Hill Promo
Do you like top 20 betting? If so check out our 'double your money' tips for this event here: Madrid Top 20 Tips
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 12:30BST 25.5.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation
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