|Rafa Cabrea Bello||+2200
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Kurt Kitayama has a stellar record on coastal tracks with Paspalum grass and arrives in Spain showing some excellent form. Take him each way at +2500 with bet365.
Calum Hill is in fine form and does well on courses with Paspalum. He can see off last week’s winner John Catlin in a 72-hole match at -125 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Local man Alejandro Canizares has eight top 20s in his last 16 starts on home Spanish soil and is showing some good form again. He looks a value bet at +450 for a top 20.
Kurt Kitayama each-way (1/4 1-2-3-4-5) at +2500 with bet365
Calum Hill to beat John Catlin in a 72-hole match at -125 with DraftKings Sportsbook
Alejandro Canizares to finish in the Top 20 at +450 with DraftKings Sportsbook
|Gran Canaria Lopesan Open Information|
|What||Gran Canaria Lopesan Open|
|Where||Meloneras Golf, Las Palmas, Spain|
|When||Thursday, April 22 – Sunday, April 25|
|How to Watch||Thursday 9 am-2 pm ET (Golf Channel), Friday 9 am-9.15 am (Golf Channel), Saturday 8.30 am-9 am (Golf Channel), Sunday 8 am-10.30 am (Golf Channel). All 4 days on Sky Sports|
The Gran Canaria Lopesan Open debuts on the European Tour this week and marks a run of three straight weeks in Spain. It’s followed by back-to-back events at Golf Costa Adeje which stages the Tenerife Open and then the Tenerife Championship.
This week’s host track, Meloneras Golf, is a resort course designed by Ron Kirby. It’s been built for the tourist market and, measuring in at just 6,715 yards should be there for the taking. The front nine has palm tree-lined fairways while the back nine is by the coast and exposed.
The main defense will be wind although the forecast suggests it won’t get too gusty. The latest predictions have the wind around 10-12mph and pleasant temperatures in the mid-70s.
Looking at the scorecard, the three par 5s would appear to offer eagle opportunities as they measure in at just 526 yards (5th), 547 yards (13th), and 528 yards (18th). The course adds up to a par 70 due to five par 3s (3rd, 5th, 7th, 12th and 15th). The first of those is just a flick at 111 yards.
One key angle for punters is that the greens are Paspalum. They’re rare on the European Tour so other events that use them – the Mauritius Open, Oman Open, and Saudi Invitational – are well worth checking out.
With no course form to go at this week, the smart angles to play are current form and strong performances on correlating layouts.
A man that jumps off the page on both fronts is American Kurt Kitayama. The Californian is 20th on the Race to Dubai thanks to a hugely consistent start to the new season. He’s made the top 20 in five of his last six starts, a run which includes a second place in the Kenya Open, ninth in the Qatar Masters, and 12th in the Saudi International.
The latter highlights his ability to play well on courses with Paspalum greens. But while T12 in Saudi is good, what really nails the link is a quick scan of Kitayama’s player profile.
Under ‘wins’, you’ll note his triumphs at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in December 2018 and Oman Open in 2019.
The significance is that both those tournaments took place on coastal courses with Paspalum greens and his putting stats were impressive on both. The former was achieved with 20-under and that’s probably going to be the winning score this time.
Kitayama is 7th in Par 3 Scoring (useful given that there are five of them) and 14th for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green so should give himself a bunch of scoring opportunities.
He looks a solid each-way bet in the win market at +2500 with bet365.
I’m keen to get with Calum Hill this week and a 72-hole match is one way to do it. The main decision is whether to back him to beat JB Hansen (bet365’s offering) or John Catlin (DraftKings Sportsbook). I’ll go with Hill to beat Catlin due to the latter’s lack of good form on courses with Paspalum greens.
Catlin, a winner of last week’s Austrian Open in much cooler conditions, has only T58 in Oman, MC and T43 in Mauritius and MC in the Saudi International.
Hill was fourth in Saudi a couple of months ago and tied 17th in the Mauritius Open where he was both the 36 and 54-hole leader. Before Catlin won last week, he’d missed four of his previous six cuts and not finished in the top 25. In that sense, can we trust one good week?
By contrast, Hill’s form looks more robust as he’s had three top eights in his previous four European Tour starts, the latest coming via a third place in the Kenya Savannah Classic. The Scot is 8th in Par 3 Scoring and 14th in Birdies so looks a good fit for this week’s course where scoring is set to be low.
Back Hill at -125 with DraftKings Sportsbook to outscore Catlin.
Alejandro Canizares looks the ideal man to use for a top 20 play this week. Stretching back to 2011 and a study period of 16 events, the Spanish local has made the top 20 in 50% of them. A more recent thermometer check shows that he’s landed a top 20 in three of his last five (2018-2020).
As well as home-soil reliability, Canizares has also found some recent mojo. In his last two starts, the 38-year-old has finished tied 20th in the Kenya Savannah Classic and tied seventh in last week’s Austrian Open where he ranked 4th in Strokes Gained: Approach. He putted strongly in both.
He’s got vast experience on coastal/tourist courses like this and his odds for a top 20 look way too high at +450 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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