Dan Roebuck’s European Tour preview – Open de Espana
There is a huge temptation to dismiss Sergio Garcia at a short price in the week’s Open de Espana at Parador de El Saler in Valencia, but before you do just consider this; the last time he teed it up the week after a major championship was last August, when he missed the cut in the USPGA Championship before going on to win the Wyndham Championship.
Ah, I hear you say, but this time around he was in contention – to a certain extent – in the Masters after leading through 18 holes. And the rule of thumb is to side against any player who populated the leaderboard at Augusta if they play the week after. That’s generally true, however, Garcia has, in the past, gone close in a major, before flying back across the Atlantic to reward each-way backers in a regular European Tour event – see the 2011 US Open and following week’s BMW International (when he placed seventh then second).
Furthermore, this is a tournament he obviously holds dear to his heart. The Open de Espana is in its 87th edition, and Garcia is hoping to triumph in his national Open 11 years after becoming the youngest winner of the event aged 22 years and 109 days.
To counter that, his form at El Saler if iffy, with 16th place his best effort back in 2001. But having gone close to a 2013 victory on a couple of occasions, I just cannot desert him, and four wins, five seconds plus two other top-five finishes in his last 17 starts on home fairways just about make the cramped odds of 6/1 justifiable.
Best of the rest? In-form Pablo Larrazbal (20/1), who was runner-up in this event last year, and Steve Webster, who has course form stretching back over 15 years.
My three to follow – Garcia, Larrazabal and Webster.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.