There is another new event on the European Tour this week as the battle to keep the tour up and running during the pandemic continues. It is the final event of the ‘Canary Swing’ as the Canary Islands Championship takes place in Tenerife.
With this being a new tournament, and if the world can recover from the nightmare pandemic properly, hopefully only staged for one time, there could be a little bit of prestige for the winner this week.
We are at the same course that the Tenerife Open was played on last week. The course is a par 71 which stretches to 6,857 yards in total and as we saw last week this is a resort track that is there at the mercy of these professional players. A score deep into the -20s is going to be needed to win the tournament with the potential of players shooting individual rounds in the 50s now that they have had a look at the setup.
One of the reasons for that is there are five par 5s on the course and with the wide fairways and greens which slope to take the ball closer to the flags, there really isn’t a defence for this course. There were plenty of big hitters on the leaderboard last week and I don’t think that was a coincidence. We should be looking for those who can get it out there but also those who have a nice touch on the greens.
You would have thought that the field would be near enough identical to last week given that the two tournaments are in the same place but that isn’t actually the case. The winner of the Tenerife Open is teeing it up this week though in Dean Burmester while Garrick Higgo, the winner to start off the Canary Swing is also in the field. They are joined by the likes of Adrian Meronk, Kalle Samooja and Justin Harding who all had decent weeks.
As you would expect there is a pretty strong home contingent in the field this week. They are led in market terms by Adri Arnaus but it was actually Pedro Oriol who led the Spanish charge here last week. Sebastian Garcia-Rodriguez and Pep Angles are other Spaniards in the field here. Other notables include Sami Valimaki, Victor Dubuisson, Guido Migliozzi as well as the Scottish pair of Calum Hill and Connor Syme.
Garrick Higgo is the 12/1 favourite to win the tournament this week. He won in Gran Canaria a couple of weeks ago and was in contention last week but faded as it went on. I guess the former contributed to the latter so he shouldn’t be completely written off but emotional burnout is a thing in the world these days and it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if the South African has it, although if he doesn’t he does have the game to challenge strongly here.
Dean Burmester won around this track in the Tenerife Open last week and he is a best priced 18/1 to follow it up with a win here. He may well have the same issues as his South African counterpart in that emotional fatigue could get to him. He hadn’t won on the European Tour for a while prior to last week so it was clearly an emotional time for him. If he still has enough energy left in him then we saw last week just how strong his challenge will be here.
Justin Harding comes next in the betting at 20/1. The Kenya Open winner has been in great form in recent times although whether he has the length to genuinely challenge for the title here remains to be seen. He is a recent winner though and there aren’t too many of those in the field and that could be significant on Sunday, as it was last week when Burmester took advantage of those chasing victory for the first time. He isn’t for me.
Laurie Canter is one of those who is still waiting for his first European Tour win and he is 22/1 to pick it up this week. He played here last week but finished way down the field. That was a surprise because he has taken to resort golf in places like Portugal in the past but that is enough to make me uneasy about taking him here as you just wonder if he’ll be able to go through with the job even should he get into contention. It is 25/1 bar.
Adrian Meronk was one of my outsider bets last week and he placed for me in third position and although he is half the price I’m going to chance my arm on him again having seen a player I backed two weeks ago win last week which does my head in when that happens! Meronk was unlucky last week. Burmester was just too good for him but the Pole is trending in the right direction. Two weeks ago in Gran Canaria he finished T15 with a 64 to close and he put in four more solid efforts last week despite not having the best of the draw. He has a better draw here and another week of comfort in contention so I’ll pay to see if he can go a couple better for me here.
Scott Hend bombed his way into a top 10 finish last week and I see no reason why he won’t replicate that here and hopefully build on it. Hend ticks all the boxes for me. He smacks it a country mile, hits a lot of greens off the back of that and then if his putter is on it we get finishes like the one he delivered last week. That putter is just beginning to warm up by the look of it. He has gained 11 shots on the field with that club in his last two outings and given that last week was the first tournament he played in for a month, you’ve got to think there is more to come from him here. At 50/1 I’ll pay to find out.
I’ll go with a couple of outsiders in a field where I don’t actually like many of the prices that are way down the list as I normally would. I’ll take a chance on the 54 hole leader last week in Nicolai Von Dellingshausen who is red hot with the putter at the minute. In his last three outings he has ranked 20-1-18 in strokes gained putting and in the last two weeks he has ranked first in putting average. Some of that is down to an inability to hit the greens as strongly as we’d like but his scrambling statistics are pinpoint. If he can hit a few more greens this week then with his game around the greens and on them he should be right there once again.
The other player who has caught my eye this week is Grant Forrest. Had it not been for an indifferent third round last week he would have finished in the top 10 and I still think there is more to come from the Scot who belts it a long way and who has been statistically one of the better putters on the tour this season. He has seen what to expect around here now so rounds like that third one last week shouldn’t come along again. The fact he bounced back with a 64 on Sunday tells me that was a complete blip so at a three figure price I’ll pay to see if he runs any better here.
Back A.Meronk to win Canary Islands Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-7)
Back him here:
Back S.Hend to win Canary Islands Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)
Back him here:
Back G.Forrest to win Canary Islands Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back N.Von Dellingshausen to win Canary Islands Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 61.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-6)