The UK Swing of the European Tour has reached a conclusion and the circuit has moved to mainland Europe for the first time since the post-lockdown resumption.
Sterner Test Awaits Young Guns
The events in England and Wales were dominated by young, hungry players on easy, resort courses, with Renato Paratore, Sam Horsfield (twice), Romain Langasque and Rasmus Hojgaard among the winners, but the venue for the Andalucia Masters makes for a much contrasting assignment.
Valderrama will be the toughest test the Tour stars have faced since the restart and the aggressive bombers who have been making merry of late may come crashing down to earth with a bump.
Hojgaard is among the market leaders at
11/1 – five players are jostling for favouritism – but the Danish teenager has never competed at Valderrama before and could find the tight, tricky course too much of a challenge.
A fresh breeze is expected to blow all week, adding to the difficulty of this iconic Sotogrande track, and accurate sorts who can grind out plenty of pars should flourish. There could be a significant draw bias, with the Thursday afternoon winds forecast to be particularly punishing.
Kaymer Looking to End Long Victory Drought
When Martin Kaymer won the 2014 US Open, romping to an eight-shot triumph just a month after becoming Players champion at Sawgrass, the German appeared set to fill his mantelpiece with trophies forever more. Remarkably, he has not lifted any silverware since, and the Andalucia Masters represents a golden opportunity to end a barren run.
Kaymer appeared set to get back to winning ways in the UK Championship at The Belfry last week – leading with only a few holes to play – and he teed up at the par-five 17th hole knowing that a birdie there would put him in an almost unbeatable position.
The lack of recent success told in the end, though, and he made a complete hash of the penultimate hole, hacking his way to the green and putting like an elephant en route to carding a bogey six which transformed the tournament. Hojgaard took advantage and Kaymer ended up in a tie for third place.
At the age of 35, Kaymer is looking to end six years of hurt, and his affection for Valderrama means he should get into contention again. Can the
14/1 chance finish the job this time?
Local Man May Have Found Form at the Perfect Time
The tee-times have provided a Spaniard with an excellent chance of claiming a home victory on Sunday. Jorge Campillo tees off at 8.55am local time and should play most of his first round in relative calm before the winds pick up fiercly in the afternoon.
25/1 against the name of Campillo is of great interest when you consider how well he has played in his last two tournaments. Eighth place in the Wales Open was followed by seventh spot in the UK Championship last week and the two-time European Tour champion appears to have found his A-game for Valderrama.
*All odds correct at time of writing