Willett first came to my attention when making the top-ten here as an amateur in 2008, and remains one of the best prospects in Europe. He came in for strong consideration, though I have concerns that this more penal rough will curb his attacking instincts too much.
Noren made the top-ten last year and has a good record in Spain. He’ll need to improve on this year’s wayward driving, though.
As a previous course winner, and one of the straightest drivers around, Lawrie has to make the shortlist.
Edfors is in decent form, with top 20s in three of his last four starts, including two top sevens. I suspect he needs a little more room off the tee than he’ll get at Sevilla though, where he missed the cut previously.
Despite struggling in his early attempts on the PGA Tour, Wood rates a highly plausible first-time winner back in Europe. Top 20s in all three high-class Gulf Swing events promised much for his second full season.
Dyson may have struggled recently in the States, but he is always worth considering in Europe, as two 2009 titles illustrated. He has missed the cut on both previous visits to Sevilla, however.
After going close at 100/1 for this column a fortnight ago, it would be frustrating to miss out were Jamie to finally break his duck. He maintained that decent form with another top-six in Korea, but doesn’t particularly appeal on reflection of his Sevilla best of just 35th from three tries.
Derksen ticks many boxes, having twice previously made the topten on this course and finished sixth last week. He’s another for the shortlist.
Here’s another very interesting prospect. Luiten made a big impression when first seen a couple of years ago, and after a spell on the sidelines with injury, seems to be finding his range again with three top-15s from his last six starts.
GONZALO FERNANDEZ CASTANO
Castano wasn’t far off the pace last year, finishing 14th, and would have to rate as a very strong candidate on his best form. His last two results in ideal conditions were rather disappointing though.