There’s a modest field for this week’s Andalucia Masters at Valderrama but a few names stand out – particularly Sergio Garcia, who will hope a return to a course he loves gets his year moving in the right direction.
Garcia has been woefully out of form in 2019 and his tie for 52nd at the US Open underlined his recent struggles, even if he finally managed to make the cut after failing to even get that far in his previous seven majors.
The 2017 Masters winner’s game is not where he wants it to be but at least a trip to Valderrama should buoy the Spaniard. Garcia has racked up 13 top-10 finishes in 14 previous tournaments here and has won three times in his last four visits. Therefore, the reigning champion is unsurprisingly a short 6/1 joint-favourite to come out on top again.
Predictably, another local star, John Rahm, is among the other likely candidates to succeed and shares favouritism for the tournament after looking in top nick when tieing for third at Pebble Beach. The Spaniard, who won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as recently as the end of April, will be expected to set the pace and, if he’s anywhere near his best, should go close.
However, it’s down the field and into the market where we might just find some better value, with outsider Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston a possible astute choice.
‘Beef’ won the Spanish Open here in 2016 and is another who has proved he can enjoy himself on the course. The 30-year-old does not have much form to bring with him to Valderrama but, at 50/1, seems too long and should at least be working his way towards the top of the leaderboard over the weekend.
Joost Luiten was second to Garcia here in 2017 so may well be worth considering while, elsewhere in the field, the likes of Thongchai Jaidee can be a surprise contender at a big price if he repeats and then builds on the form that has seen him make the cut every time (five) he has played here.