Sergio Garcia attempts to make it three wins on the trot at Valderrama this week and the bookies makes this task a general +600 poke. Four missed cuts in his last six events and a 52nd spot at Pebble Beach isn't quite the form you'd look to and think of a possible winner this week. This course is Sergio's though. He finds making birdies relatively easy here compared to most and the tall pines with narrow fairways play right into his hands. He has cut a disgruntled figure of late though and the petulant, moody Spanish temperament has been in fifth gear lately. I often wonder what it must be like to live with him. I perish the thought. Anyhow, he could overcome his recent problems and win this, but I'd prefer to look elsewhere.
Jon Rahm looks very skinny to my eye given that this course just doesn't suit his modus operandi. His only appearance here resulted in a missed cut and I think he should be double figures at this track. If Sergio was in a better frame of mind and form it'd be a huge match bet to have, but again there is just enough risk attached to Sergio to steer clear.
Instead Matt Fitzpatrick looks likely to get over the line on a track that really suits and he should probably be second favorite here. He played extremely well last week after a lacklustre first round and really he should have had the event sown up before having to go down extra holes. He had his chances there as well ultimately his short game letting him down. That being said the runner up finish last week was added to his 12th place finish at Pebble Beach and he is without doubt the best performing golfer in the field right now. Just what that should translate to price wise is anyone's guess but for me he holds a better chance than Rahm and an equal chance to that of Garcia. He is a mighty hungry golfer and someone who has expectations of winning many more big events. His chances lie at these courses where length isn't an issue and there is a high importance of ball placement off the tee. If he gets off to a better start this week compared to last he may just run out a comfortable winner.
3u - M.Fitzpatrick To Win @+1000
I was surprised to see the price this week about Aaron Rai. He got off the mark at the end of last year with a hugely impressive victory at Hong Kong, a course well known for it's narrow fairways and difficult driving test. Rai won by a shot from Fitzpatrick but that didn't quite do it justice and he was comfortable winner in essence. The ship has sailed somewhat off course since with little to speak of but a top 20 last time out in Denmark is a sign his game is in decent nick. Like Fitzpatrick I think his career will be defined on how successful he is at these courses where you need an extremely accurate long game. He ranks high in both DA and GIR statistics and looks a fair each way bet this week.
1u - A.Rai To Win @+5000
1u - A.Rai To Finish Top 10 @+500
Victor Dubuisson looks reasonably priced this week and a tight tree lined track should give us the chance to see the best of the Frenchman. He twice won the Turkish Airlines Open on the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course which requires a good deal of accuracy and strategy tee to green. This is no different and his missed cut last week is of little worry to me given he missed it on the number and shot a decent second round of 69. He has notched four top 20s this season and shouldn't be dismissed easily on tracks that suit.
1u - V.Dubuisson To Win @+5500
1u - V.Dubuisson To Finish Top 10 @+550
Lying 16th in the Race to Dubai rankings Richard Sterne has had a very satisfactory season to date and his trip to Pebble Beach may be the tonic to continue his success for another few months. The South African missed the cut at the US Open but previous to that he he posted a top ten at the Trophee Hassan and Top 15 in Saudi Arabia. He went mighty close in Abu Dhabi eventually finishing a disappointing runner up to Shane Lowry. Overall though he's going well to date and is gaining 6.5% and 3.5% on the field average in Driving Accuracy and GIR respectively. At +8000 he looks a lively each way prospect.
1u - R.Sterne To Win @+8000
1u - R.Sterne To Finish Top 10 @+700