Valderrama is a classic tree-lined course and one that is spoken of when talking about the best and toughest on the European Tour circuit. The greens are small and undulating, making ball striking a key statistic to target when looking for players to build your lineups.
In the past, this event had been held in October, so the switch in schedule is something to note, but until we have more of a sample of the event during this time of year we’ll have to assume it affects each player differently (as we saw how little Pebble’s changes in schedule affected the players who played it in February and June).
Make no mistake, this course is tough due to the tight fairways and small greens, but scores are to be had out here as long as the weather plays nice.
Speaking of the weather, as of writing, temps are expected to be in the mid to upper 90’s this week, which means whatever wind is present will be welcomed by the players and will be sure to add a bit of difficulty to the course as well.
The good news is we shouldn’t expect to see this edition shortened to 54 holes as it was last year.
o The Course
· Real Club Valderrama
· Par: 71
· Yardage:7,000 yards
o Location: Cadiz, Spain
o Past Champions:
· 2018:Sergio Garcia -12 over Shane Lowry [shortened to 54 holes due to weather]
· 2017:Sergio Garcia -12 over Joost Luiten
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: OTT + SG: APP, Par 5 scoring, Birdies or better
o Important – Course History, Current Form, Scrambling
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
Jon Rahm (DK $11,700)
· History: DNP – MC
· Form:DNP – 3rd– DNP – DNP
· Stats: Doesn’t qualify for Euro Tour stats due to lack of Euro starts
· Analysis: Rahm’s still young in age and golf maturity, but I don’t think he’s too young to nab his first “home” Masters. Missed the cut in his first appearance at this event two years ago, but knows the lay of the land and comes in with great form.
Sergio Garcia (DK $11,400)
· History: Win – Win
· Form:MC – 52nd– MC – DNP
· Stats: 9th– SG: OTT, 4th– SG: T2G, 2nd– SG: APP, 172nd– SG: P
· Analysis: Even a weak field event couldn’t help Sergio’s case last week as we saw him miss another cut. Yes his course form is ideally something we would prefer to use as a “pro” for this week, but the in season form is definitely a major con and one I’m going to use to fade in all formats until he can string together two straight weeks where his game is clicking.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (DK $10,900): Lost in a playoff last week on a course where his game was best suited, comes to a course he’s never played in competition and even though his accurate game travels well, I don’t think I fancy him much more than a one-off in GPPs this week.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (DK $7,600)
· History: 29th
· Form:3rd– DNP – 25th– DNP
· Stats: 161st– SG: OTT, 87th– SG: T2G, 149th– SG: APP, 54th– SG: P
· Analysis: Looked to be a possible contender last week, but ultimately settled for 3rd last week in Germany ranking 11th in driving accuracy. His T29 last year indicates some course fit and is a positive to build off of after starting that event with a 77. He’s been close a few times this year and faltered the week after, so I do have a bit of hesitation with his consistency from week to week.
Matthia Schwab (DK $9,100): Heated up last year around this time so he may be a summer player to keep an eye on following last week’s T3 (w/ Bezuidenhout). First timer at Valderrama, but he hits a ton of greens in regulation so he’s one who could string together back-to-back strong performances.
Soren Kjeldsen (DK $7,900): The 44-year-old has the game for Valderrama and it’s shown as late as three years ago when finishing 4th. 29th last year and 18th the year prior, Kjeldsen’s accurate off the tee and strong putting should put him on the leaderboard again this year.
SALARY RELIEF SECTION
Ricardo Gouveia (DK $6,900)
· History: 16th– 23rd– 38th
· Form:44th– DNP – DNP – MC
· Stats:141st– SG: OTT, 210th– SG: T2G, 209th– SG: APP, 61st– SG: P
· Analysis: Has been downright bad this year having only one Top 30 in his last seven events, but last week’s 44thplace finish could be the jolt he needs to get going again. Course form looks solid and building towards a positive trend of bettering each appearance. I’d be fine with a made cut and an early Sunday pace setting round to get him into the Top 20. GPP only suggestion.
Pep Angles (DK $6,800): Three straight made cuts here the last three years, two of them inside the Top 30. Missed cut last week on the Challenge Tour was his first in two months. 8ththe week before and 35th two weeks ago indicates it may have just been two days of bad play and Valderrama should suit his game. I like him for GPP or cash.
Paul Peterson (DK $6,700): The 30-year-old American finished 16thlast year following a 46th place finish the year prior and has now made his last three straight cuts on the European Tour. He brings a bit of consistency to our lineups at a low cost, so I like him in all formats this week.
CONTRARIAN CORE (GPP PLAYS)
Andy Sullivan (DK $8,800):The putter has been heating up as of late which speaks to his trend of MC – 33rd – 26th in his last three starts. Course history is also on his side as he’s finished inside the Top 20 in both starts here. Love his game off the tee for what it’s going to take to go well here.
Ashley Chesters (DK $8,000): 4thlast year, 12th the year before and comes in riding some decent form having made the cut in five of his last seven events. 21stlast week is possibly a good sign of things to come as it was his best finish on Tour in the last three months.
Guido Migliozzi (DK $7,400): Last week’s missed cut was just a blip of bad play as he needed to birdie the last four holes to make the cut and ended up only making the last three count. His Thursday round wasn’t the typical round for Guido as he negated every birdie made with a bogey and I expect more consistency this week on a tougher course.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)