By holding myself accountable and keeping track of how things are going on a week-to-week basis it should help me get better at identifying key players as well as sharpening my eye when it comes to player pools. Last week’s recommendations were Rory (T26), Rahm (MC), Fleetwood (T5), Fisher (MC), Bjerregaard (T23), Pepperell (T15), Pavan (T10), Johnston (MC), Horsfield (T34), Lagergren (T3), Sharma (MC), Stone (MC), Otaegui (MC), Karlberg (T58), Hatton (T15), Schwab (MC), Herbert (MC)and Finau (T10). A lot of carnage in last week’s picks, the Rahm missed cut hurt a ton and even though I had the key to the city in Lagergren, it all was for nothing.
This week we head to Spain for the Spanish Open (or Open De Espana). The field this week is less than desirable after last week’s mostly star-studded event (due to the Pro-Am factor). The highlights of the field this week start with the Spaniards – Rahm, Garcia and RCB would be the top tier Spaniards to target and then we get the next rung of Arnaus, Larrazabal and to an extent Quiros and past champion of this event Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Scrambling will surely be a key statistic in finding our winner this week as most of the Euro courses feature some heavy bunkering and some challenges around the green. As with most Euro events, the fields fall off with the prize pool so there’s very little to look into as to why this field gets thin after the top three names. It’s one of those weeks where you play Rahm and jam in as much value as possible or build what you think is the best balanced lineup possible and hope all six players make the cut. It’s certainly a tough week from a roster construction perspective.
o The Course
· Club de Campo Villa de Madrid
· Par: 71
· Yardage:7,100 yards
· Greens: Bentgrass
o Location: Madrid, Spain
o Past Champions: None at this course
· 2018: Jon Rahm -20 Paul Dunne
· 2017: No Tournament
· 2016: Andrew Johnston +1 over Joost Luiten
· 2015: James Morrison -10 over David Howell, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Francesco Molinari & Edouard Espana
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: OTT + SG: APP, Par 5 scoring, Birdies or better, Scrambling
o Important – Par 4 Scoring, Greens in Regulation, Current Form
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
Jon Rahm (DK $12,000)
· Form: MC
· Stats: Not enough events on Euro Tour
· Analysis: Last week’s missed cut was brutal. That being said, he followed up his last missed cut (PGA Championship) with a T3 (US Open) and is the defending champion. He’s in a class of his own this week so I expect him to show up and display his typical strong play. He finished T2 at the Andalucia Masters in June, which was also in Spain at Valderrama.
Sergio Garcia (DK $11,200): Apparently form means nothing to El Nino. His 2019 season was pure trash on the PGA Tour and European Tour alike. He finished 7th at the event he hosted (as defending champion no less), was T23 in Crans before cracking off a win at the KLM Open. Oh and 7/16 of his wins on the Euro Tour have come in his homeland, so he definitely knows how to play in front of friends and family.
Rafa Cabrera Bello (DK $10,700): Recently T6 at Wentworth, which doesn’t have any resemblance of this course and missed last week’s cut in Scotland (which also has no bearing on how things will play out this week). He was T10 at this course in the 2008 Madrid Masters, which ironically should mean very little to us, yet here we are clinging onto any positive information regarding his game. I think he’s best suited as a mid-to-low exposure GPP play, as his game isn’t trending upwards, but isn’t producing for this price tag either.
Mikko Korhonen (DK $9,200)
· Form: DNP – 37th– 65th– 35th
· Stats: 87th– SG: OTT, 61st– SG: T2G, 50th– SG: APP, 84th– SG: P
· Analysis: One of the best pure ball strikers in the field, Korhonen is someone we often look to on ball striker courses and that’s no different this week. He finished 3rd at Valderrama, so there’s hope that this course suits his eye similarly. He hasn’t been able to put it all together for four rounds as of late, which should keep his ownership down in GPPs.
Alexander Bjork (DK $9,300): Missed last week’s cut after “retiring” so right away we won’t have to worry about ownership on the Swedish ball striker. Whenever we need someone to “have a warm putter” to win an event, we’re going to play him and that’s what we have with Bjork this week. Last week’s MC was the first since July, so I’m treating it as a blip on the radar and expect him to get back to the weekend.
Pablo Larrazabal (DK $9,100): 3rd place finish at the Madrid Masters here in 2008 is about as much positivity as I can bring with Pablo. He has been decent enough in front of his home fans over the years having finished inside the Top 30 in four of his last five appearances in Spain, but comes in missing a few too many cuts to give him a core look this week.
Honorable Mentions – Jeff Winther (DK $8,000), Hugo Leon (DK $7,100), Justin Walters (DK $6,800)
Jorge Campillo (DK $8,900)
· Form: MC – MC – DNP – DNP
· Stats: 74th– SG: OTT, 104th– SG: T2G, 120th– SG: APP, 2nd– SG: P
- Analysis: It’s been awhile since Campillo had the game that would put him in our core or value play mix, so he’s been relegated to the sleeper section. Surely the string of missed cuts creates a bit of worry when building rosters, but without the concern of ownership we’re getting a quality player with a ton of upside (has finished 5thin this event twice, 7th once) if he can find something that works from tee to green. He’s ranked 12th in the Race to Dubai, so catching fire now is probably high on his list.
Niklas Lemke (DK $7,600): The bombing Swede is excellent on approaches (67th in SG: APP & 71stin GIR), and an above average putter, which probably has you questioning why I’m suggesting him as we typically target poor putters. He’s a strong Par 4 scorer which is good because he’s horrendous on Par 3’s and an above average scorer on Par 5’s.
Honorable Mentions: Lorenzo Gagli (DK $7,200), Gaganjeet Bhullar (DK $7,000), Ben Evans (DK $6,700)
CONTRARIAN CORE (GPP PLAYS)
Haotong Li (DK $10,100): T23 last week and looked good doing so. His off the tee game is the strongest part of his game and it usually sets him up to score. The irons haven’t been great, but the putter has been what’s held him back as of late. If he brings a warm putter to Spain, this could be the week we’ve been waiting for out of Li.
Andrea Pavan (DK $9,900): Pavan’s been hot fire over the summer and the hope is that fire continues to blaze through the fall. T21 at last year’s Spanish Open (at a different course), gives us slight comfort in knowing his game should translate on a similar track. When his game is clicking, he’s one of the better value plays to rely on.
Renato Paratore (DK $7,800) has gained strokes in his last eleven events and seems like a solid core play this week. He could be on the brink of popping off soon.
Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (DK $7,100): Missing last week’s cut after rounds of 68 and 66 is sure to upset the Spaniard, but it could be seen as a positive as he was able to return home and work on his game ahead of his homeland’s Open. His 41st place finish at Wentworth was his first Top 50 in a month and were only a month and change removed from his last Top 25. I think he presents decent value with upside this week.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)