The worst candidate of all in this respect is Anthony Wall, who always seems to feature on leaderboards, yet has only ever won one rain-shortened event nine years ago. Or then there’s Simon Dyson, who was so frustrating last time out in Indonesia. With any sort of success on the greens, Dyson would have won that event easily, but it wasn’t the first time he’s let us down recently. It also doesn’t help his case that he missed the cut here last year.
Nevertheless, beggars can’t be choosers and given the nature of this line-up, we’re bound to end up backing some players who are not exactly prolific winners. So I’m prepared to give rare chances to PETER HANSON and SOREN KJELDSEN at 28/1 and 33/1 respectively, not least because they are bigger prices than the other two leading Scandinavians.
In fairness to Hanson, he has looked fine under pressure in the past. I was actually impressed with his temperament when winning his two latest titles, last season’s SAS Masters and the 2005 Spanish Open. The Swede has been playing consistently well for some time, not missing a cut since last August, and looks overdue a payout week. He was only beaten by four shots last year in 8th place on this course, and would appear to have the right skills in the iron accuracy department.
Likewise, this layout really should favour Kjeldsen, who put up one of the best performances of his career last time out in the WGC-CA Championship at Doral, finishing 7th behind Mickelson and co. A repetition of that in this markedly lesser company would surely be enough. Kjeldsen’s last visit to Spain, again on a course with fast greens, resulted in victory at the prestigious Volvo Masters. Formerly a weak finisher, Soren was nerveless on that occasion so it may be worth taking a chance that he’s turned the corner.