As by far the best of these on the wider world stage, Hansen deserves his position as favourite. Still, I could never envisage backing a player with such a poor win ratio at 12/1, especially given two ordinary previous performances at Pula.
The only thing putting me off Derksen here is the price. His three previous Pula efforts produced a worst finish of 11th, and he’s also thrived on other similar types of exposed course such as Madeira Island. Three top 20s from his last four also reads well, but 20/1 about a player without a win in five years is simply too short.
Hanson certainly warrants the utmost respect, given a very consistent record ib better company. He hasn’t finished outside the top 30 all year, but equally doesn’t contend seriously that often. Again, a career record of two European Tour wins in over a decade makes it hard to justify a bet at just 16/1.
Canizares is the shortest priced Spanish candidate after registering top 25s on his last three starts, including third in his national Open. Some fine recent greens in regulation stats further strengthen his claims.
With the emerging generation of McIlroy, Ishikawa and Manassero performing miracles on virtually a weekly basis, it would be no great surprise to see this 18-year-old add to his recent Malaysian Open win. Noh also showed he can handle windy conditions when fourth at the Ballantine’s.
Especially given that he missed the cut on his sole previous Pula attempt, Jacquelin looks one to oppose. Apart from an out-of-the-blue third on his penultimate start, he’s done nothing all year.
Besides the fact he’s never made the top ten here, there’s plenty to recommend McGrane. He’s a good wind player, and has a decent record at the similar Madeira Island track.
Strange would be big value at 50/1 on his best form. His wellbeing must be taken on trust though, as this capable Aussie has only been seen three times all year, to little effect.
Sunday’s third place was the first good form we’ve seen from Gustaffson in Europe for some time, but he has also registered some decent finishes on the competitive Nationwide Tour this year.
Otto is capable of high-class golf on his day, and deserves a mention on the basis of Sunday’s seventh place and a recent win in South Africa.
Golf Monthly’s touring professional has already shown enough during his short career to suggest he can win in this grade. He’ll need to improve on his last three disappointing results, though.
I could have been tempted to back Khan if he could boast any sort of recent form, as he’s twice finished in the top five here before. Sadly, he’s struggled all year.
Despite his class, Levet’s last few rounds suggest he’s one to avoid right now.
Barham looks a plausible outsider having twice made the top ten from three tries at Pula, and performed adequately on recent Challenge Tour starts.
Again, I would have been tempted to back McGinley, who was sixth here in 2006, if he had any recent form of note to his name.
Golf betting: Valero Texas Open golf betting guide