Dan Roebuck’s European Tour preview: Madeira Islands Open

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With no television coverage, punters will be glued to the less-than-regular score updates via europeantour.com if they have an interest in the secondary event on this side of the Atlantic this week – the Madeira Islands Open at Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra.

This is a long established tournament on the European Tour that was first staged in 1993, but with big-priced winners prevalent on the past champions honours board, it’s been one that has been a difficult puzzle for gamblers to solve.

Defending champion Ricardo Santos has been made the favourite by the odds compilers at 16/1 and the Portuguese, who was named Rookie of the Year in 2012, has every chance of repeating last season’s success. A string of top-ten finishes this term – five in his last nine appearances including fifth place on his latest start in China – certainly bodes well for backers.

And although he isn’t anything like the price he was 12 months ago, he still warrants support.

Robert Jan Derksen rewarded each-way backers for the first time in over two years on his last appearance, when he claimed fourth place in the China Open at Binhai Lake. His iron play was the best we’ve seen from him this year, while he also ranked in the top 20 for both sand saves and putts per greens in regulation.

However, it’s his form at this week’s quirky layout that makes the Dutchman a must on the staking plan at 25/1. He won in 2005, was sixth in 2003 and has 10 years of experience at this island track.

Sam Little has played the course eight times and was fifth a decade ago. The Englishman has posted some low rounds on the Challenge Tour this term and could surprise at a fair price of 125/1.

My three off the tee – Santos, Derksen and Little.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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