The European Tour stops in Mallorca this week and big-hitting Belgian Thomas Pieters is amongst Steve Palmer’s fancies to go well at Golf Santa Ponsa.
The 29-year-old is already a four-time European Tour winner and ranks as a big fish in the field this week.
Canter Looking to Sustain His Gallop
Laurie Canter took a three-shot lead into the final round of the Andalucia Masters last week, but the Bath man wobbled in front again, carding a sorry Sunday 76 and finishing in a tie for fourth place.
Canter is a European Tour maiden at the age of 31 and proving expensive to follow for his supporters.
A lack of killer instinct has meant he has failed to get over the line in front, despite contending on numerous occasions. Last year he finished fifth in the Wales Open, runner-up in the Portugal Masters, second in the Italian Open and fifth in the DP World Tour Championship.
This year he was fourth in the Dubai Desert Classic and second in the BMW PGA Championship, before another near-miss at Valderrama on Sunday.
Canter even failed to get a victory to his name when he was on the Challenge Tour, so punters backing him at 18/1 for the Mallorca Open this week will probably be doing so each-way.
Pieters May Be Set to Show His Class
Thomas Pieters has been chalked up only slightly shorter than Canter this week – the Belgian bomber can be backed at 16/1 – and that is a more attractive option.
Pieters has won four times on the European Tour and top-scored in a Ryder Cup, as well as winning the World Cup alongside his pal Thomas Detry.
Pieters is still only 29 and has plenty of time to bolster what is already an enviable trophy cabinet. The Mallorca Open is a low-grade affair in which he will fear nobody – and the powerhouse can be expected to make mincemeat of the Santa Ponsa track from tee to green.
The bugbear for Pieters is usually his putting, but his stroke looked good when he finished ninth in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last month.
He was ninth in the Dutch Open, too, and appears to be coming into form. A world-class talent in a poor field this week – Pieters could boss proceedings with a bit of luck on the greens.
Nienaber Ready for Tour Breakthrough
The wide fairways of Santa Ponsa have probably got Wilco Nienaber licking his lips this week.
The South African slugger can propel his ball incredible distances, but not always straight, so the generous targets in Mallorca are ideal for him. The 28/1 about Nienaber is appealing when you consider how well he has played in his last four European Tour starts, including sixth place in the Spanish Open the week before last.
The 21-year-old got off the mark on the Sunshine Tour in May and is hunting a European Tour breakthrough this week.
He even played well when getting a chance on the PGA Tour in June, finishing 14th in the Palmetto Championship, so it seems this power-packed giant is becoming more comfortable on the world stage.
South Africans dominated the Canary Islands Swing of the European Tour in the spring – and it could be a similar story in the Balearic Islands this week.
*All odds correct at time of writing.