Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places
Weather forecast for Thursday: It’s set to be a sunny day at Valderrama and temperatures will creep into the 80s around 1pm. An already tough test will be made harder by 15mph winds which could drop a little as the afternoon goes on.
Plenty of positives for Pablo
I’m leaning slightly towards the p.m. wave given the weather forecast so I’ll pick two afternoon starters and one from the morning.
First up from the later tee-off times is Spanish local Pablo Larrazabal.
Experience around Valderrama counts and the 38-year-old has lots of that. It includes plenty of positive memories.
Larrazabal has played eight events at the course, making the cut in seven and finishing tied 26th or better in three of the last four.
It’s those quick starts we’re interested in for this market and he’s had plenty. Larrazabal has finished in the top six after 18 holes on four occasions, holding a piece of the first-round lead in 2010.
The Spaniard has also been making a strong impression on Thursdays in recent times. He was the first-round leader at the Made in Himmerland, sixth after 18 holes in the BMW International Open and seventh following day one at Wentworth.
There’s plenty of encouraging info there for a bet at 85/1.
My second afternoon pick is another local man – Jorge Campillo.
The Spaniard has finished tied 15th and tied 17th in the last two editions of this event so clearly gets on with the course.
Last year, his R1 69 was good enough for the first-round lead while in 2018 he was seventh after the opening lap before going on to be disqualified at halfway.
His form has been patchy for some time but he opened 68-64 at the European Masters in late August and started with a 67 in last week’s Open de Espana. Two tournaments ago he posted tied 17th in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
On a track that suits, let’s try him for FRL at 80/1.
Ramsay ready to fire early
From the morning wave, I’ll try Valderrama specialist Richie Ramsay. He’s played four tournaments here and has a third, 11th and 29th.
His 18-hole numbers are even better. Ramsay’s 65 gave him the first-round lead on debut in 2011 while he was seventh after the opening day in both 2016 and 2018 thanks to 69s.
Since mid-June, the Scot has finished in the top 13 after round one in five of his 11 starts, shooting a Thursday 67 in all of those.
Yes, there’s no super-low round there but a 67 on day one at a course like Valderrama where pars are valuable will take him a long way.
Back Ramsay for the first-round lead at 50s.
Tee-times: Ramsay 09:50 (1st), Larrazabal 13:40 (1st), Campillo 13:50 (1st).