The 2012 European Tour resumes this week with the Open de Andalucia, and organiser Miguel Angel Jimenez heads a relatively weak field at Aloha Golf Club in Marbella, Spain.
The Javier Arana-designed 6,900 yard par 72 championship course at Aloha Golf Club offers magnificent views of the Penablanca Mountain and is a mix of several different course styles. Tree-lined fairways and strategically placed bunkers means golfers require accuracy over distance so look to players like Matteo Manassero (25/1 Tournament Winner @ Boylesports
), Rhys Davies (55/1), Bradley Dredge (125/1) and Damien McGrane (150/1)who tend to plot their way around the golf course.
This year’s Open de Andalucia field features two past winners of the event, including the defending champion Paul Lawrie (25/1), who claimed his seventh European Tour success last month when he romped to victory in the Qatar Masters. The other past champion in the field this week is Frenchman Thomas Levet (125/1), who beat Oliver Fisher (80/1) in a sudden death play-off here in 2008. Also included in the 144-strong field is the 2012 Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal (125/1), who has carded two top 15 finishes since the turn of the year.
Another golfer in fine fettle recently is Robert Rock (25/1), who fended off the challenge of both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods to win the Abu Dhabi Championship at the end of January. One of the most interesting contenders in the Open de Andalucia field this week is Danny Willet (50/1). He made his European Tour debut in this event and on this course in 2008, making the most of his sponsors invite to finish inside the top 20 so don’t be surprised to see the young Englishman bounce back to form after a poor run of results.
Home grown players usually turn out in force when the European Tour touches down on Spanish soil and this year’s Open de Andalucia will prove no different. In total, 23 Spanish golfers will tee-up at Aloha Club this week including Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (25/1), Jose Manuel Lara (66/1), Pablo Larrazabal (50/1), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (33/1), Alejandro Canizares (40/1), Ignacio Garrido (150/1) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (25/1), the latter an 18-time European Tour winner.
David Lynn 33/1
One of the shorter hitters on tour but David Lynn hits a lot of fairways and that’s a huge a bonus on this course. The Englishman finished inside the top on both occasions when the Open de Andalucia was at Aloha and he looks a cracking bet this week.
Robert Rock 25/1
Rock is fast becoming one of the most consistent performers on the European Tour. He’s accurate off the tee, putts really well on fast greens and if he repeats the kind of form hedisplayed over the weekend at last week’s WGC Cadillac Championship then he’ll be tough to beat.
Miguel Angel Jimenez 25/1
It may be his 24th season on tour, but 48-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez is striking the golf ball better than ever. As tournament host and organiser the Spaniard has a lot on his plate this week but he’s an honorary member of this course and his class should see him in contention over the weekend.