The European Tour ventures this week for the Gran Canaria Open to the new venue Meloneras Golf and Matt Cooper has three options for each route, with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places …
My consideration of the conclusion of the Austrian Golf Open last week had more than one focus.
On the one hand, I was very interested in that John Catlin, selected last week, confirmed the win and despite Max Kieffer’s valiant efforts, he happily did the job.
After doing my research on the Sunday morning before this week’s test, I was in too Hoping the strange situation that Garrick Higgo a) wouldn’t peak too soon and b) wouldn’t do enough to get its price off the compilers cut.
Higgo played well all week, improving his score with each round (72-71-69-68). He could have easily gone down on Sunday. He glanced at Birdie, but the putter was a little cold.
We don’t have much to do but Meloneras Golf looks like a very typical Iberian / island resort course – a modern design that is There is no choice but to deal with an occasionally uncomfortable lot, Bermuda grass, potential for stormy breezes and nice temperatures.
It is a design by Ron Kirby, the American who worked as the lead architect on the Gleneagles Centenary Course, when he worked for the Jack Nicklaus team, and who was also involved in the layout of Gary Player, which often hosts Sunshine Tour and European Tour events.
Remarkably, Meloneras has three par-5s and that was the first Light that went out on Higgo because the 21-year-old South African tops this year’s averages on the short holes.
But his case goes way beyond the promising shape and preference for the one-rule gunshot holes.
His first win on the Sunshine Tour? It took place at the Sun City Challenge on the Gary Player course in mid-2019.
His first win in 2020? At Serengeti, a Jack Nicklaus design track that is typically modern in the construction of fairways and greens.
A few weeks later he clinched his first victory on the European Tour – where was he? In the Royal Obidos, a classic coastal path of the Iberian resort at the Open de Portugal.
He also finished third at the Cyprus Open in Aphrodite Hills, another course with a similar type of MO.
Finishing fourth last week wasn’t an isolated incident either – it was his best result of the year, but a fourth top 20 in five starts.
I half expected it to be fixed in the bottom 20s so I’ll happily take 35/1. The left-hander is an excellent prospect, and this test looks ideal for him.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson has seen a renaissance after being banned, reaching no less than nine top 20 finishes in eight months. Remember, it took him four and a half years to log his previous nine.
His best results among these recent efforts suggest that this week could be another trial to enjoy.
He was runner-up for Gary Player at the South African Open in December – and there was also runner-up at the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge.
He was also third at the Cyprus Open, although a bad back spoiled his hopes for the final day .
Nonetheless, he returned a week later to fly into the final stages of the showdown in Cyprus as the top scorer, but stumbled in the finals.
The 45-year-old is because of his heroics with the Ryder Cup, forever associated with Gleneagles, but even as an individual he liked the track and finished third and sixth there.
In Portugal he has three top 10s at Dom Pedro, two at Oitavos Dunes, one at Quinta da Marinh a and one at Vale do Lobo.
In Spain he has two top 10s in Valderrama and others in Hipica, Seville and Parador Malaga.
He is not as strong as Higgo in the par 3 classification, but he’s in 38th place this season and 18th last year.
I also think it’s good that he’s sixth with his annual average in this area and third in the last six months occupied. Based on that, and with a good chance he’ll enjoy the course, he’s valuable.
In fact, he’s averaged fourth behind Donaldson for the past six months (Antoine Rozner first, Kurt Kitayama second).
In his last four starts alone, he finished fourth in Saudi International, then eighth and third in the two Kenyan tournaments.
In the latter, he had a real view of victory, never stepping back from the challenge and should only be encouraged the next time he faces competition.
He stretches back a little further and has five top 15 finishes in his last seven starts. I thought like Higgo he would have a prize in his 20s so I’m happy to get more.
The second of those final top 15 was T14 at the South African Open at Gary Player, a huge effort after having had started the second round of T114.
At first glance he only ticked T17, but he had a one-shot lead and shared the 54-hole lead.
Heritage Golf Club may be in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but in many ways it is very similar to the type of golf it will face this week.
Take a top 10 at Celtic Manor ( five par-3s like this week) and an eighth place for par-3s this season, and the 26-year-old completes the week’s schedule.
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