Sergio Garcia is clear at the head of the betting for the Open de Espana and it’s difficult to argue that the mercurial Spaniard won’t have the same breathing space at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
There is no doubt Garcia, 5/1, relishes the chance to play in front of his home galleries – his five victories on the European tour on Spanish soil is testament to that – and the 34-year-old knows exactly what it takes to succeed at the Catalunya Resort having triumphed by a full four shots back in 2002.
That was already the then 22-year-old’s seventh trophy on the PGA and European Tour and despite some notable lows since winning the 2008 Players Championship his form over the past two seasons has shown what a mature operator he has become.
Although still without a Major, Garcia has won 26 times across both sides of the Atlantic with his latest triumph coming at the start of the year at the Qatar Masters.
However, it is his exploits Stateside that reveal a reliability never previously associated with Garcia. In eight starts he has come third twice, finished fourth and banked three more top-11 cheques this campaign.
Last week’s performance in the final round of the Players Championship was a case in point of why Garcia has become someone the punter can rely on.
After seeing his challenge falter with Martin Kaymer leading the charge, Garcia resisted the chance to let the disappointment seep into his game and grinded out third place to reward each way backers.
The Sergio of a few years ago may have allowed himself to fall further down the leaderboard but with so much experience lining all parts of his game those days are behind him.
It’s never ideal to take such a short price in a golf tournament but everything is set-up for Garcia to triumph again and investing in the favourite each way looks certain to at least return a small profit.
There is unsurprisingly a raft of other local talents in action this week, however, aside from the above only Alvaro Quiros has landed the money since the late Seve Ballesteros sent the crowds into raptures in 1995.
As a result, if a saver is deemed to be required then it should be invested in another former champion Francesco Molinari at 14/1.
A winner here two years ago, the likeable Italian is one of the steadiest players in the game with last week’s sixth placed finish at the Players adding to two other top-10 finishes across the pond this year.
Although the 31-year-old has yet to add to his three tour wins since 2012 there has been enough evidence this term to suggest the wait is almost over.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.