The golf club de El Prat in Barcelona resumes duties as host to the Open De Espana. Prior to 2015 we've seen it in 2011 on the main tour and it's also hosted the Peugeot Challenge on the second tour in '05 and '06. Scoring doesn't seem to be great on the course tournament info we have to go on and Thomas Aiken posted just -10 to win here in 2011. He was the only man to pen double digits under par.
We have a couple of notable Spaniards towards the top of the betting: Sergio Garcia takes a sizable slice out of the betting market in at just 6.00 off the back of a near miss at Sawgrass. Garcia is formidable on European soil and will take all the beating here - "without doubt, one of my favourite golf courses, not only in Spain, but anywhere in the world" was what Sergio had to say on this week's venue.
Compatriot Pablo Larrazabal - 26.00 - says "it's great to be back home" and he has returned close to the top of his form of late. Given it's his home track, he may be one of the men to put up a strong challenge to Garcia, and he came close in 2011, finishing third here.
The course - Real Club de Golf El Prat
"The greens are certainly the toughest part of this golf course. They’re very tricky, which adds to the importance of putting your approaches on the right part of the greens.“Tee to green it's brilliant here, but getting your second shots into the green right this week will be a key factor in determining the winner. "It’s a wide open course from the tee though, so you can miss shots from the tee and still be okay" is what Pablo has to say about his home par 72 El Prat track, measuring in at a modest 7,298 yards. Key then is on proximity to the hole on approaches and with generous landing areas, obviously big hitters have an advantage. Water features on a handful of holes and the majority of the El Prat track is exposed so wind may be a factor.
Three from the pack
Gregory Bourdy - 41.00 or 9.00 - is the standout man for me at the Open De Espana. Simmering currently with an average finish circa 20th spot in his last 4 events, the Frenchman also posted a top 15 here in the Spanish Open in 2011. He carded a 7th place finish back on the secon tour's Peugeot Challenge in 2006 so he will know the course better than most and it obviously fits his eye. In fact - on a difficult scoring course - Bourdy has only shot over par there once is his last 8 rounds. Gregory sits 11th in GIR%.
Scott Hend - 67.00 or 14.00 - is an astoundingly big price this week relative to the field in my eyes. He's one of the form men on the circuit right now and comes here off the back of yet another top five finish on the European Tour. The big hitting Aussie - 11th in driving distance - can benefit from the generous landing areas and give himself shorter approaches into the undulating greens and that should stand him in good stead. Hend was 2nd recently at Black Mountain where distance off the tee and proximity were also key.
David Drysdale - 301.0 or 51.00 - was an impressive winner of the Peugeot Challenge here in 2006 when you look at his score of -10 relative to the field. It was the same total as Thomas Aiken's winning score on the main Tour back in '11. He's been a feature on a few leaderboards in 2015, especially in the earlier rounds so may be worth getting onside in the subsidiary markets including first round leader especially.
Damien McGrane - 401.0 or 71.00 - didn't perform well here back in 2011 but he's extremely hit and miss. The stats won't show that he won the Irish PGA pro-am last weekend and while it may not be anything major to shout about, he still shot a final round 66 on the Ryder Cup Course at the K-club and it will have no doubt lifted his confidence. Damien is a renowned fast starter so again, the first round leader markets may be another option.