Last week was not a good one for us as we lost eight points across the two tournaments. The closest we came was with Sam Horsfield as first round leader in Gran Canaria. He did it in the second round rather than the first. I have reviewed both tournaments below.
The Gran Canaria Lopesan Open
Was won by the South African Garrick Higgo. His final score was 25 under par and he won by three strokes from his nearest rival. He did win the Portugal Masters in 2020 and has won in his homeland as well. One of several golfers with good resort course form playing last week. definitely one to watch in such conditions. Certainly a better pick than my outright selection of Alejandro Canizares. He was in form last week, admittedly in polar opposite weather conditions. And he did have decent form going back in regard to ‘Spanish’ resort conditions. But a poor pick by me. I have already mentioned Sam Horsfield. His 61 in round two put him right back in things. But the 69 he had in the first round pushed him back enough to mean that he could only reach fourth place at the finish. The in play selection of Wil Besseling had a poor Sunday and could not even make par with a 71. That pushed him all the way down to a tie for twenty ninth place on a course that is a birdie fest. I did pick between him and Max Kieffer and clearly got that one badly wrong.
In second place, for the second week running, was Max Kieffer of Germany. Max was a joint first round leader. The 68 he carded in round two scuppered him a bit here. In third place was the Dane Jeff Winther, who found some form after a lean spell. In fourth, as already mentioned was Sam Horsfield and in fifth place – Thorbjorn Olesen after the birth of his first child and the Scot Connor Syme. We will look for Olesen in the coming weeks re the ‘Nappy Factor’ effect . Syme messed up his final round with a disastrous seventy first hole that knocked him out of things. He would not have caught Higgo in any case.
Other golfers to note – Joachim B Hansen showed some good form and seemed to be coming in to a run of decent form. Joost Luiten played OK without lighting things up. Matthias Schwab had a poor final round of par after looking as if he may put in a Sunday challenge. Justin Harding was solid without going really low. He does like resort courses. Robin Roussel continues to have one bad round that scupper him. The 72 in round three pushed him right back.
Those who dissapointed – Alejandro Canizares should have done better in these conditions. The 70 in round one put him on the back foot to start with. Rhys Enoch of Wales opened with a 65 and a 62 but then could not keep it going. John Catlin scored OK but he needs a hard test and this was the complete opposite of that. Andy Sullivan, on the other hand, loves a course like this. But he was most disappointing down in a tie for seventy first place. Badly off form at present.
Notable cut missers this week – Adrien Otaegui should have been suited by conditions here. Kurt Kitiyama was well touted by pundits and the bookmakers but failed to deliver. A bad opening round kills you most weeks. Jorge Campillo continues to play badly. This week he had conditions in his favour.
As suspected this course was too easy for golfers of this standard and should not be on the European Tour schedule when we get back to a semblance of normal.
The Zurich Classic
This pairs event was won by the Aussies Marc Leishmann and Cam Smith. They beat the South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in a play off on the first extra hole. The methodology of considering pairs from the same country but not Americans worked. But there were a number of qualifiers including our selection of Matt Wallace and Graeme McDowell. unfortunately they did not get it going over the weekend and finished in a tie for twenty third.
I did consider the winners but thought that their odds of 12/1 were a bit short. Clearly I got that one wrong! I also liked the pairing of Billy Horschel and Sam Burns. They finished two strokes off the winners in fourth place.
I am not going to dwell on this one as pairs events are very rare things. The principle of same nation teams seems a basic way to go though.
We move on. The outright selections for this week will be published Tuesday PM.
Good luck Martin