Winner’s Share – €100,000
Course – Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra (6,826 par 72)
Our 2014 Picks – No Picks
Right then, so after an incredible couple of month’s golf in Europe which ended with a superb win for Danny Willett in the Swiss Alps, we now move onto a week that we doesn’t whet the appetite greatly. The idea of the Paul Lawrie Match Play and re-run of the postponed Madeira Islands Open hasn’t made us jump off our seats in excitement like recent events, but still there is some money to be made we think.
And that brings us to our first point for Europe this week – we are simply not going anywhere near the Match Play. The field is far too random, admittedly there’s some decent players there, but it really isn’t worth it in our opinion. We are big advocates of this format and love watching a 1 vs 1 battle, but there’s too many factors here that make it too tough to call, the main reason being it’s straight knockout style.
By all means go ahead if you fancy it, our recommendation would be some cheeky in-play bets on specific matches and even an accumulator – something we may consider further in the tournament’s progression.
So, we are going to re-visit Madeira for our betting plans and ignore Lawrie and his chums for now. Plus, we were one of the many who had JB Hansen enjoying a nice lead when the heavens opened on the Portuguese Island a few months ago, so we feel like we’re owed something here.
As we wrote back then, Santo de Serra is a shot 6,826 yard par 72 that is perched on top of a mountain, with quite generous fairways and significant elevation changes all leading up to the tightly compact and undulating greens.
The Trent Jones family is not only the designer across the pond this week, because this is another one of his fine creations. He’s developed a place that relies on the Atlantic coastal winds for protection, because on a calm day, anyone with distance can rip this place apart – 4 reachable par 5’s and 7 sub 400-yard par 4’s. That says it all really.
You only have to look back to 2013 when the big-hitting Peter Uihlein (who only found 40% fairways) grabbed his maiden win here. The likes of Madsen, Henry, Benson are names just at first glance who have enjoyed success here and are certainly not shy off the tee.
We’re only plumping for a team of 4 here though because the odds aren’t the greatest, but let’s hope our boys prove to be good value…
JB Hansen (33/1 various)
We couldn’t not really could we?! JB Hansen was leading before the postponement and his form is actually better now then it was then, so it seems stupid not to chuck our money on the 24-year old again.
His lowest finish in his last 6 outings is T26, including 3 top 10’s, which proves how well he’s playing at the moment.
He hits the ball a long way and has the ability to overpower this track, as he showed a few months back.
33’s for a regular Challenge Tour player may seem short, but he has, without doubt, some of the best form of anyone in the field and the fact he’s already shown what he can do round here, it seems a no brainer in our eyes.
Carlos Del Moral (45/1 BetFred)
Carlos Del Moral is an intriguing player this week and considering he is one of a few who’ve been playing regular European Tour golf this season, his odds are incredibly appealing.
Firstly, he is one of the bigger hitters on the circuit – averaging over 302 yards (15th for driving distance). Secondly he showed some real class at the BMW in Germany when he recorded one of his highest finishes on the main Tour so far – T4. His 65 on the Saturday propelled him up the leaderboard and was an exhibition in raw power off the tee (1st for distance on the day), impenetrable irons (22nd GIR) and holing those chances you create (4th putts per GIR.)
Basically, it’s perfect golf and the fact he went on to play a similar brand on the Sunday, proves to us that he could have a major say on Madeira this week. Plus, he’s finished 4th here before as well…
Chris Paisley (50/1 BetFred)
Chris Paisley is mainly a Challenge Tour play, but he has plenty of experience at the higher level to know what it’s all about. He has that feel of one of those players who knows what it would mean to win here. The benefits are endless and it could be a major career-turning point for anyone of his current level.
Much like Del Moral, Paisley showed some of his potential in Germany where he actually went one better and finished solo 3rd. He was in the final group on the Sunday, just a couple of strokes behind James Morrison, but neither could capitalise on their early efforts. His putting throughout the week was incredible – he never left the top 10 for each round, whilst he was averaging just over 290 off the tee and playing well with his irons.
All in all it was a decent outing, which he’s backed up with a solid T44 in Switzerland last week and the fact he’s had 3 finishes inside the top 22 here proves he knows the track.
Jens Dantorp (80/1 Coral)
Our final pick this week comes in the form of a young Swede, Jens Dantorp. The Scandinavian country seems to be churning out decent players at the moment and this 26-year old seems like another one who could achieve a few things in his time.
He won a ridiculous 8 Nordic Golf League titles and broke through on the Challenge Tour in 2013 at the prestigious Rolex Trophy, but since then it has all been relatively quiet.
In fact he didn’t even feature inside the top 10 again till this year when he came T8 in Turkey back in May.
A solo 2nd followed before he announced himself again in front of his home crowd at the Nordea Masters.
Along with young amateur star Markus Kinhult, Dantorp found himself propped at the top of a leaderboard containing names with far more credential sniffing below.
He was averaging 300 yards off the tee and didn’t drop outside the top 10 for putting stats across those 2 days. Obviously he tailed off slightly at the weekend, but to keep himself in the hunt as long as he did in a big event, shows the potential he has.
Sadly, he’s gone on to miss 3 out of his next 4 cuts on the Challenge Tour, but we are going to look past that because he does suit everything on paper and at 80’s is definitely worth a punt.