Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Tenerife Open Tips

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Part 2 of our Canary Islands Swing takes us around 30 miles west to the island of Tenerife as we begin another of the European Tour’s same course double-headers that’s served them well over the past 9 months.

Understandably the field’s very similar to last week, with a few notable additions such as Callum Shinkwin, Laurie Canter and Sami Valimaki. Falling off the list we have Sam Horsfield, Andy Sullivan and Rafa Cabrera-Bello from the upper end of last week’s field, however overall it’s a very similar look and feel to the event as we had last week.

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Course Overview. Whereas last week’s test at Meloneras Golf was a complete blank in terms of history and information, we do at least have some – albeit distant – pointers for this week’s host course Costa Adeje Golf which hosted the 2003 Canarias Open de Espana – you can find the final leaderboard here.

Designed by José Gancedo and opened in 1998, Costa Adeje Golf is another coastal resort course that boasts superb views over the Atlantic Ocean and the island’s volcano, Mount Teide.

Just 3 miles from the popular tourist resort of Playa de las Americas, the course was built on the site of a former banana plantation and it overlooks the sea and the island of Gomera as it meanders along the coastline. As per last week’s test in Gran Canaria, this is another short track, currently listed as 6,857 yards for its par of 71, however as we saw last week when Meloneras Golf acquired another 200 yards before the start of the event, these numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Back in 2003, the course was set up in one of the more unusual ways with the 18 holes comprising of 6 par-3s, 6 par-4s and 6 par-5s; according to the European Tour’s website it will play with 5 par-5s this time around with the 8th becoming a (very) long par 4. Understandably such a setup puts a massive focus on how a player fares on the longer holes with Paul McGinley 21-under on the par-5s over the course of the 4 rounds one eye-catching stat from 2003.

Fairways are wide and laid to Paspalum grass; greens are huge and have been upgraded from Bentgrass to TifEagle Bermuda since the 2003 event and should run a lot quicker than the 8.6 on the stimp that the players faced 18 years ago.

tenerife open tips

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key statistics for this week’s event that will help to shape a view on players who may play well this week. With just 1 event held here 18 years ago, the few players who played both events are included on the combined stats: Current 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.

Course Winners. 2003: Kenneth Ferrie.

Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here.

Almost a carbon-copy of last week in Gran Canaria with mild, sunny conditions expected and the thermometer hitting the low 70s Fahrenheit. The breeze may pick up a little in the afternoons with 10mph likely, although this won’t cause the professionals too much trouble.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors.

There was some very basic data captured from the 2003 event held here at Costa Adeje:

  • 1st, Kenneth Ferrie (-22). 291.5 yards (60th). 70.8% fairways (17th), 76.4% greens in regulation (37th), 28 Putts Per Round (8th)
  • 2nd, Peter Hedblom (-22). 311.5 yards (21st). 56.3% fairways (51st), 79.2% greens in regulation (23rd), 28.5 Putts Per Round (12th)
  • 2nd, Peter Lawrie (-22). 285 yards (71st). 64.6% fairways (35th), 70.8% greens in regulation (67th), 27 Putts Per Round (3rd)
  • 4th, Brian Davis (-21). 303.8 yards (40th). 70.8% fairways (17th), 83.3% greens in regulation (6th), 29.5 Putts Per Round (27th)
  • 4th, Mads Vibe-Hastrup (-21). 285.8 yards (70th). 47.9% fairways (68th), 69.4% greens in regulation (70th), 26.25 Putts Per Round (1st)

Shorter hitters weren’t disadvantaged 18 years ago it would seem with Peter Lawrie making the play-off despite ranking as one of the shortest players from off the tee on the week.

Accuracy wasn’t critical either and with the large greens allowing for strong GIR numbers for the whole field, a player’s performance on the greens would seem to have been the most important aspect.

A quote from a very young Charl Schwartzel, who led after the first round, puts this further into context, “Generally speaking I didn’t play very well. I didn’t drive very well and missed a lot of fairways. But you can get away with it on this course. I was never really in big trouble, my iron play was good and then on my back nine my putter woke up.

With 6 par-5s in play back in 2003, it’s no surprise that the par 3/4/5 split was fairly extreme compared to regular par 72s:

  • 1st, Kenneth Ferrie: Par 3: -1; Par 4: -8; Par 5: -13
  • 2nd, Peter Hedblom: Par 3: -3; Par 4: -5; Par 5: -14
  • 2nd, Peter Lawrie: Par 3: -1; Par 4: -4; Par 5: -17
  • 4th, Brian Davis: Par 3: Ev; Par 4: -1; Par 5: -20
  • 4th, Mads Vibe-Hastrup: Par 3: -5; Par 4: -4; Par 5: -12

Of course if there are any last-minute tweaks to the setup this week then that will affect this metric, however assuming no changes then holding on over the numerous par-3s and attacking the par-5s would seem to be the recipe for success.

Incoming Form: Of the top 5 finishers here back in 2003, Peter Hedblom and Brian Davis both had some tangible recent form and eventual winner Kenneth Ferrie had finished 16th the week before in tough conditions on the Algarve:

  • Kenneth Ferrie: MC/48/19/46/MC/MC/30/DQ/16
  • Peter Hedblom: MC/MC/MC/MC/5/MC
  • Peter Lawrie: 42/MC/MC/MC/MC/20/48/MC/MC
  • Brian Davis: 8/MC/14/MC/57/50/11/2/2
  • Mads Vibe-Hastrup: 17/19/79/MC/MC/MC/63

We should expect birdies again this week on another short, scoreable resort course with little in the way of wind to protect this track.

15-under was leading at the halfway point on this course the last time it was used back in 2003 and the cut fell at -6. Par 3 scoring, Par 5 scoring and putting on these Bermuda greens would seem to be the strongest pointers we can take for finding the winner here.

My selections are as follows:

Max Kieffer 2pts EW 33/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

The question this week with Max Kieffer is whether he has already peaked, or is in the process of peaking still. Back-to-back runner-up finishes on his form sheet are there for everyone to see, so the most inspirational of bets this is not; however I’m of the mind that he’s not quite done with this rich vein of form just yet, and it would surprise nobody who’s observed the past fortnight of European Tour golf if the German were to convert at the third time of asking.

Golf is a game of continual learning both from a player’s and a punter’s perspective, and it’s clear that the 30 year-old adopted a more aggressive mindset last week in Gran Canaria after coming so close the week before in Austria with a more typical grinding performance. 28 birdies and an eagle last week co-led the field for par-breakers and more of the same is going to be required in Tenerife this week on a course that’s likely to play very much in the same fashion as Meloneras Golf.

The key difference this week is in the setup with potentially 5 rather than 3 par-5s in play, and only last week’s victor Garrick Higgo boasts a superior aggregate performance on the long holes over the past fortnight than Kieffer. Whereas Higgo shot an ugly second round 79 to miss the cut in Ireland immediately after his previous European Tour win and could be excused for another weekend off here following last week’s effort, Max should be hungrily seeking to capitalise on his fine form and grab that elusive maiden European Tour title this week.

Physical fitness shouldn’t be a consideration for the Dusseldorf man and he should be full of beans after recording his lowest round on Tour to close out his Lopesan Open effort. 2nd for SG Tee to Green last week was impressive and 2nd for putting average suggests that there are currently no weak parts to his game, and with 4 further top-10 finishes in Spain over the years to add to last week’s effort, he’s clearly at ease in this part of the world. RESULT: MC

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Calum Hill 2pts EW 33/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

Backing up my headline selection is Calum Hill who’s another player who looks very much like a winner in waiting on the European Tour.

JB Hansen was tempting given the trend that’s continuing to grow of multiple post-lockdown winners, with Garrick Higgo the latest player to add his name to that list. If I could trust him to finish 4 rounds then Victor Dubuisson could also have been an option seeing as he’s showing sparks of form once again and scoring very nicely on the Par-5s, currently ranking 3rd on Tour on that count.

A little further down that par-5 ranking and averaging a shade over 4.5 strokes for the season on the long holes we find our man Calum; the Scotsman also ranks 2nd for Par-3 scoring for the season-to-date and between those two metrics we could have a potent combination for this week’s task.

Aside from those raw metrics, we also have a player who’s undoubtedly knocking on the door of his maiden victory at the upper level. 3 Challenge Tour successes at between 18- and 22-under bode well for this week’s task, however it’s finishes this season of 4th in the star-studded Saudi International and back-to-back top-8 finishes in Kenya that suggest he’s quite capable of converting at this level sooner rather than later.

29th last week in Gran Canaria loosened the limbs after 4 weeks away from competitive golf and every element of his game was Strokes Gained positive at Meloneras Golf. Encouraging signs as he looks to push his career to the next level and the World’s top-100 is beckoning should he win this week, with the US PGA Championship just 3 weeks away. RESULT: MC

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Nino Bertasio 1pt EW 90/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Ladbrokes

24 attempts at par-3s over the course of 4 days is going to require some confidence on the shorter holes and nobody scored better than Nino Bertasio on that count last week in Gran Canaria. Despite finishing 38th overall, the Italian was 7-under for the par-3s at Meloneras Golf and if he can keep that kind of scoring going again this week then he’ll have a good platform for a much improved finish.

The long-hitting 32 year-old can make mincemeat of the par-5s here this week to compliment his par-3 prowess, and that bodes well on this quirky scorecard as he seeks that elusive maiden victory on the European Tour.

Despite his 3-figure quote here this week, there’s been a lot to like about the 2-time Alps Tour winner in 2021. 19th at the Qatar Masters saw Nino open up with a round of 65 which was beaten by just 1 other player, and he followed that up with finishes of 12th and 10th in quick succession in Kenya, closing that second event with a round of 63. Another 63 on Friday last week suggests that there’s little wrong with his scoring right now and it won’t take a massive improvement with the putter to see him far closer to the top of the leaderboard than last week’s result. His best flat stick performance of the season came on the Bermudagrass greens of Abu Dhabi at Rolex Series level and this week is a good few grades lower than that 35th place finish. RESULT: T22

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Pep Angles 1pt EW 90/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

Scouring the scorecards from post-lockdown European Tour events for clues as to who might go well this week leads us to Pep Angles who finished runner-up to Garrick Higgo at the Open de Portugal on another quirky setup with 5 par-5s and 5 par-3s.

Despite opening with a level-par round of 72 that week, the Spaniard went on to shoot 3 straight rounds of 66 to push last week’s victor all the way at Royal Obidos, another coastal track like this week, finishing 3 shots ahead of the nearest challengers into the bargain.

That personal best on the European Tour clearly gave him a shot in the arm in terms of confidence and he duly converted his maiden Challenge Tour title 3 starts later on home soil, winning the Andalucia Challenge du Cadiz after another slow start.

8th at the Kenya Open is the 28 year-old’s best result of 2021, however last week’s 29th could have been so much better had it not been – yes you’ve guessed it – for a slow start, opening with a 1-over par 71 before shooting 64/65/67 to finish in a much more respectable position.

Powerful driving and strong iron play are Pep’s core strengths and with reachable par-5s and a plethora of par-3s, that looks like a decent combination to me as he looks to break through at European Tour level. RESULT: T33

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Alejandro Canizares 1pt EW 125/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

Finally I’m going to keep faith in Alejandro Canizares who may have needed last week as something of a breather and recovery week following his contending performance in the icy conditions of Austria.

A level par 70 to start last week immediately put the 38 year-old on the back foot in Gran Canaria, however to his credit he managed to produce rounds of 65, 67 & 66 to finish mid-division and set himself up for another big effort this week. 11-under for the par-5s despite that flat Thursday was encouraging and whilst he couldn’t find the long-game performance we saw in Austria, the putter was still in good shape and he could easily get back into the groove here now that he’s fully thawed out.

The shift to Bermuda greens won’t bother the Spaniard at all, given that we’ve seen him rank inside the top-10 for putting on half a dozen occasions over the years in the Middle East and this short track should once again play to his strengths.

A quicker start than last week is required of course, however that’s quite possible from a player who’s been first round leader on 2 of his last 3 outings. RESULT: T28

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:10BST 26.4.21 but naturally subject to fluctuation.