Best bets for the DP World Tour Acciona Open de Espana

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Open de España

One week removed from winning the Ryder Cup, Matt Fitzpatrick won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by three strokes over defending champion Ryan Fox, Marcus Armitage and Matthew Southgate in an event that was shortened to 54 holes because of heavy rain. Fitzpatrick, a 10-1 pre-tournament price, not only was victorious in the event individually, but he also won the pro-am portion with his mother, Susan, as his partner.

 

This week, the DP World Tour heads to Spain and its capital city of Madrid for the Acciona Open de España. Spaniard Jon Rahm is the defending champion of his national open having won it by six strokes last year and is just short of being an "odds-on" favorite at 2-1.

His Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose (14-1) is the clear second choice in the field.

Then, there is a drop-off to the 30-1 range where Yannik Paul resides. Then there’s Spaniard Adrian Otaegui (35-1), Joost Luiten (33-1), Thorbjørn Olesen (35-1), Romain Langasque (40-1) and Alex Fitzpatrick (45-1), who is trying to follow his brother and his mum into the DP World Tour winner’s circle.

Some other Spaniards and previous DP World Tour winners in this week’s field include Jorge Campillo (50-1), Adri Arnaus (60-1), Pablo Larrazabal (80-1), Rafa Cabrera Bello (125-1) and Nacho Elvira (200-1).

The Event

The Open de España was founded in 1912 and has been part of the European Tour schedule since the tour’s inception in 1972. Spain’s national championship has typically been played in either April or May but moved to the fall in 2019. Former champions of this tournament include luminaries such as Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Francesco Molinari, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm. Spanish multinational conglomerate Acciona, an infrastructure and renewable energy company, came aboard two years ago as the tournament’s title sponsor.

The Course

The Club de Campo course is a 7,112-yard, par-71 designed by Javier Arana, an accomplished amateur golfer and sailor who represented Spain in sailing at the 1928 Olympics. Subsequent renovations have been done by Manuel Pinero. This week’s layout is known as the Black course. Another course, the Amarillo (Yellow) course on these grounds was designed by Seve Ballesteros. Before the 2019 tournament, the track was last used for a European Tour event in 2008 when Charl Schwartzel (-19) was the victor at the Madrid Masters.

Since it was used for the Madrid Masters in 2008, the layout was extended by 162 yards ahead of the 2019 Spanish Open with new tee boxes on approximately half the holes to offer it a little protection. However with winning scores of -19, -23 and -18 the last three times it was used before the renovation and -22 for Jon Rahm’s victory here four years ago and -25 last year, birdies and eagles are still the order of the day.

An undulating, tree-lined course with relatively generous fairways, its main protection is on and around the small bent/poa greens which are multi-tiered and reasonably tricky. par-5s at the fourth, seventh and 14th measure 526, 564 and 536 yards, respectively, and all present eagle opportunities for those players who can find the fairway from off the tee.

The extended par-4 505-yard first hole ranked the toughest hole on the course last year.

Recent​ History

2022: Jon Rahm (-25/259), Club de Campo Villa de Madrid (Madrid), 5-2

2021: Rafa Cabrera-Bello (-19/265), Club de Campo Villa de Madrid (Madrid), 55-1*

2020: No tournament

2019: Jon Rahm (-22/262), Club de Campo Villa de Madrid (Madrid), 10-3

2018: Jon Rahm (-20/268), Centro Nacional de Golf (Madrid), 4-1

2017: No tournament

2016: Andrew Johnston (+1/285), Valderrama (Cádiz), 100-1

2015: James Morrison (-10/278), Real Club de Golf El Prat (Barcelona), 225-1

2014: Miguel Angel Jimenez (-4/284), PGA Catalunya Resort (Girona), 22-1**

2013: Raphael Jacquelin (-5/283), Parador de El Saler (Valencia), 55-1***

2012: Francesco Molinari (-8/280), Real Club de Golf de Sevilla (Sevilla), 16-1

2011: Thomas Aiken (-10/278), Real Club de Golf El Prat (Barcelona), 45-1

2010: Alvaro Quiros (-11/277), Real Club de Golf de Sevilla (Sevilla), 18-1*

Playoff win over Adri Arnaus – *

Playoff win over Richard Green and Thomas Pieters – **

Playoff win over Felipe Aguilar and Max Kieffer – ***

Playoff win over James Morrison – ****

​Trends and Angles

While this event has a nomadic nature, having been played all over Spain, each event winner since 2010 had recorded a top-10 finish or better in his previous 10 starts before Cabrera-Bello’s victory in 2021. Rahm resumed the trend last year.

Selections

Adri Arnaus (66-1, PointsBet)

Rahm is a clear favorite at 2-1 and rightfully so considering he did not lose in four Ryder Cup matches two weeks ago. Plus, he has won this event on this course twice. In 2019, he won by five shots and last year he bettered it by one and won by six shots. That said, it is difficult to take a 2-1 favorite in any golf tournament. At the same time, it is difficult to take on an obvious favorite, which is why the card is smaller this week. Rahm was also 17th in his title defense here in 2021.

The man who was second in that 2021 event was Arnaus, a fellow Spaniard.

Arnaus finished 14th last week at the Alfred Dunhill Links, which included an opening round of 64 last week at Carnoustie and a closing 67 at St. Andrews.

He ranks fourth and 10th for Strokes Gained: Putting in his last two events.

Hennie du Plessis (50-1, Boyd Sports)

South African du Plessis has made 11 consecutive cuts worldwide since mid-May.

He was 10th last month at Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship against a field that included the entire victorious Ryder Cup Team Europe.

Du Plessis was 14th last week at the Alfred Dunhill Links and finished eighth on debut here last year.

Alex Fitzpatrick (66-1, PointsBet)

This is a bit of a narrative play as Alex saw his brother Matt win his first Ryder Cup and then saw Matt and his mum win the pro-am at the Alfred Dunhill Links, where his brother also won the individual title.

Alex won his first professional event in August on the Challenge Tour and has made some nice showings playing on the DP World Tour with a runner-up in Northern Ireland and a top-5 at the European Masters.

Alex rates third on the DP World Tour for Strokes Gained: Approach and 20th for Scrambling, which is a good combination for success here despite him being a debutant in this event.

Alejandro del Rey (100-1, Boyd Sports)

Spaniard del Rey ranks No. 3 on the DP World Tour for Driving Distance.

He is a native of Madrid, so this is a home game for him.

Jeff Winther (120-1, Boyd Sports)

Winther has gone 10th (Alfred Dunhill Links Championship) and second (Open de France) in his last two starts.

He also finished fourth here on debut in 2019.

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