A profitable week for us at the Dunhill Links with 125/1 shot Joakim Lagergren gaining a full each-way payout courtesy of his 3rd place finish, plus we also got a further share of the each-way spoils as a result of Tom Lewis’s flying finish that catapulted him up to a share of 5th place. Richie Ramsay missed making it a trio of 3-figure each way returns by a single stroke, despite carding a bogey-free 68 around the Home of Golf on Sunday.
Before we head to Italy for another Rolex Series event in a week’s time, we have a low-key Spanish Open to contend with as the event moves to an autumn spot this year. Club de Campo is the venue this week, a club that hosted the Spanish Open 5 times in the 1990s with Rodger Davis, Eduardo Romero, Colin Montgomerie, Seve Ballesteros and Padraig Harrington all running out winners.
More recently the Madrid track has hosted the Turespana Masters in 2000, Open de Madrid 2001-05 and the Madrid Masters in 2008, with Padraig Harrington (again), Retief Goosen, Steen Tinning, Ricardo Gonzalez, Richard Sterne, Raphael Jacquelin and Charl Schwartzel taking home the trophies.
World No.5 Jon Rahm is the red-hot favourite to win this week as he looks to defend the title that he won on home soil last year. 10/3 is the best price you’ll get about the 24 year-old to win here this week at the time of writing despite missing the cut last week in Scotland, however with the likes of Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello for company at the top of the betting, he’ll have to be at his birdie-making best if he’s going to walk away with another European Tour title and continue his generally excellent run of results when he dips into events this side of the Atlantic.
Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Spain. Designer: Javier Arana, 1956, with Manuel Pinero updates; Course Type: Tree-lined, Resort; Par: 71; Length: 7,112 yards; Fairways: Bermuda/Rye/Bent; Rough: Bermuda/Rye/Bent; Greens: Bentgrass/Poa.
Course Overview. The Club de Campo course is a 7,112 yard, par 71 designed by Javier Arana with subsequent modifications by Manuel Pinero. Since it was last used for the Madrid Masters in 2008, the layout has been extended by 162 yards with new tee boxes on around half of the holes to offer it a little protection against the modern golfer, however with winning scores of -19, -23 and -18 the last 3 times it was used and similar low scoring prior to that, birdies and eagles should be the order of the day.
An undulating, tree-lined course with relatively generous fairways, the main protection for the course is on and around the small bent/poa greens which are multi-tiered and reasonably tricky. Par-5s at the 4th, 7th and 14th measure 526, 564 and 536 yards respectively and all present eagle opportunities for those players who can find the fairway from off the tee. The newly extended par-4 1st hole is likely to cause some challenge now that is measures 505 yards, however for the most part the holes are fairly straightforward in good golfing conditions.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Open de Espana that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at this event. As noted above, this course hasn’t hosted this event since 1996 : Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Stats.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Winners & Prices. 2018: Jon Rahm, 4/1; 2016: Andrew Johnston, 100/1; 2015: James Morrison, 225/1; 2014: Miguel Angel Jimenez, 22/1; 2013: Raphael Jacquelin, 55/1; 2012: Francesco Molinari, 16/1; 2011: Thomas Aiken, 45/1; 2010: Alvaro Quiros, 18/1.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for Madrid is here. Temperatures will dip from the weekend’s highs of the mid-80s Fahrenheit by around 5 degrees for the tournament days, however that shouldn’t detract from the event which will be played in near-perfect conditions. Sunshine and light winds of between 5-10mph should lend themselves to another low-scoring event,
Tournament Trends & Key Factors.
Although this course hasn’t hosted the Spanish Open since 1996, we do have some tangible stats from the Madrid Masters and Open de Madrid held here a decade or so ago:
- 2008, Charl Schwartzel (-19). 296 yards (21st), 66.1% fairways (10th), 80.6% greens in regulation (2nd), 71.4% scrambling (6th), 1.76 putts per GIR (20th).
- 2005, Raphael Jacquelin (-23). 293 yards (10th), 80.4% fairways (23rd), 70.8% greens in regulation (34th), 81.0% scrambling (10th), 1.59 putts per GIR (1st).
- 2004, Richard Sterne (-18). 306 yards (2nd), 58.9% fairways (61st), 73.6% greens in regulation (22nd), 73.7% scrambling (14th), 1.66 putts per GIR (5th).
A little power to help attack the par-5s looks the order of the day, especially with most holes having been extended slightly since it was last used in 2008. Making eagles and birdies is the key component this week whilst keeping cards as clean as possible, however it’s on and around the greens where this event is likely to be won. Each of the winners above ranked inside the top-14 for scrambling and that trend continues for most of the players who finished in the each-way positions for the 2 most recent renewals in particular.
Incoming Form: Looking at the Spanish Open since 2010 at its various different venues, the incoming form of all eventual winners is solid if unspectacular. Each player had recorded a top-10 finish or better in their previous 10 starts, however only Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jon Rahm came into the week with any immediate sparkling form having both finished 4th on their previous start at Augusta:
- 2018: Jon Rahm: 15/MC/36/1/2/1/29/11/26/20/52/4
- 2016: Andrew Johnston: MC/25/44/10/44/MC/22/71/4/45/MC/15
- 2015: James Morrison: 4/15/6/46/MC/MC/MC/45/MC/70/MC/18
- 2014: Miguel Angel Jimenez: 72/70/8/20/1/15/10/MC/MC/33/13/4
- 2013: Raphael Jacquelin: 46/5/6/41/22/16/39/42/30/34/33/MC
- 2012: Francesco Molinari: 10/23/33/11/16/8/69/16/17/13/17/19
- 2011: Thomas Aiken: 13/5/14/14/3/MC/13/6/7/13/36/35
- 2010: Alvaro Quiros: 16/MC/8/42/11/2/6/33/14/6/45/MC
Event Form. The nomadic nature of the Spanish Open renders most of the event form as background information only rather than anything tangible, especially seeing as the tracks vary quite considerably in style from year to year. Prior to Jon Rahm winning last year, all other winners since 2010 had played at least one Spanish Open in the past, however their results in the event had been pretty varied:
- 2018: Jon Rahm: Debut
- 2016: Andrew Johnston: MC
- 2015: James Morrison: 2/36/32/21/38
- 2014: Miguel Angel Jimenez: 45/16/26/2/MC/3/39/52/4/31/17/46/MC/MC
- 2013: Raphael Jacquelin: MC/MC/MC/MC/8/8/MC/3/MC/65
- 2012: Francesco Molinari: MC/16/11/27
- 2011: Thomas Aiken: 47/MC
- 2010: Alvaro Quiros: MC/39/MC/37/17
Although there are some results to analyse from past events here, the European Tour hasn’t visited this track in nearly a decade and we’re relying mostly on specification this week in truth. A scoreable, tree-lined test played in perfect golfing conditions should produce low-scoring and those players who can make eagles and birdies whilst keeping their card clean with a smart short game should be favoured.
My selections are as follows: