GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Gran Canaria Open.
Gran Canaria Open | 22nd-25th April 2021 | Sky Sports
The European Tour has an inaugural event this week, the Gran Canaria Open, which kick starts a three-week stint in the Canary Islands as part of the 2021 schedule shake-up.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello drops away from the PGA Tour to host the tournament and is amongst the favourites in the betting at 22/1 but it is another short-priced fancy at the front of the market that gets the nod from me this week in Kurt Kitayama (25/1 Betway)
You can probably make a case for every single one of the front six but I like American to follow in last week's winner John Catlin's footsteps, both are from California and Kitayama could well be spurred on by his nerve-wracking playoff win in Austria just a few days ago.
He'll be looking for his third ET title and a closing-round 69 to finish T15 last week is a positive step in the right direction but all in all, it's his from across similar tracks that makes him look fantastic to challenge in Gran Canaria.
Two of those three victories have come in Mauritius and in Oman; the first is a similar resort-style island course that is more aimed at the public than it is professionals, whilst the latter shares the same green type of paspalum, so clearly he has a liking for both factors, and that ties in well here.
Throw in a 12th in Saudi on the same surface amongst some high-class company, including Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose, then it all points towards him being on the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Another who flashed last week but didn't perform well enough to warrant a shorter price is Garrick Higgo (35/1 Betfair)
. He's one of the most promising players on tour right now and his maiden ET victory came in Portugal, which could suggest he has a liking for this neck of the woods.
The South African improved by one shot across each of his four rounds to finish fourth in Austria, so if he keeps on that path, then he can certainly challenge at a course like this. That finish was his fourth top-20 in five starts, and that 3rd in Cyprus also provides huge encouragement in relation to this week.
As only a par 70, there are plenty of short holes he can take command on, ranking first for par-3 scoring and his distance off the tree gives him a shout on a couple of drivable par-4s, too.
Sticking with the obvious correlation theme, it would be rude not to back Guido Migliozzi (45/1 Ladbrokes boost)
at these odds. Last time out, he missed the cut, which is why I don't think he's been put amongst the favourites despite being a two-time ET winner himself.
One of those wins came in Kenya and that form held true once again when finishing T12 there two starts ago. That was following a runner-up finish to this week's favourite, Antoine Rozner, in Qatar. That performance would be factored into this price, and we know the wind can get up there, so Guido looks great value in this next bracket of players.
The Italian also has a T4 in Oman to only bolster his cause.
Similarly to Migliozzi, Connor Syme (80/1 Betfair)
missed a cut last time out and finds himself way down the pecking order despite being third behind Kitayama in Kenya a week earlier.
Last season, he enjoyed a run of three straight top-10s where he battled windy conditions in England and the ever-so-tough Andalucia Masters in Spain, perhaps these two performances can provide further clues into why the Scotsman looks undervalued.
Prior to that too, he recorded top-10s in Oman and Mauritius and has performed well in Portugal as well. Syme is long, straight and is fantastic with the irons. I'll take him all day long when he's sat back here in the betting.
There are plenty of Spaniards showing up to their local event this week, and it would be silly to ignore their potential. My nod goes to Qatar Masters winner Jorge Campillo (90/1 Ladbrokes)
, who looks way too far back in the betting despite his poor form.
That event he won was on Paspalum and his form heading into it was appalling, missing three of five cuts with a best finish of 34th. He heads to Gran Canaria having missed five of six cuts, with the one event being a 28th.
A 3rd in Cyprus, T8 in Portugal, top 10s in windy conditions at Celtic Manor and a runner-up to Kitayama in Oman in 2019 all further suggest he could outplay these odds substantially and with eight places, it looks a no-brainer.
I was hesitant to put up six this week but I think there is plenty of value to be had out there, and we end the staking plan with Pep Angles (100/1 Betway)
, another Spaniard who looks a tad too long in the betting.
The Barcelona-born big-hitter closed in Austria with a respectable 68 and on the face of it, a 33rd finish is nothing inspiring but he's won a Challenge Tour event in his own country as recently as November and gained a top-10 in Kenya only three starts ago, too.
He has further form in Portugal and Italy, so there is certainly something about these coastal resort venues that meets his eye. He's worth a chance at three figure odds.
Gran Canaria Open – Kurt Kitayama (25/1 each-way Betway)
Gran Canaria Open – Garrick Higgo (35/1 each-way Betfair)
Gran Canaria Open – Guido Migliozzi (45/1 each-way Ladbrokes)
Gran Canaria Open – Connor Syme (80/1 each-way Betfair)
Gran Canaria Open – Jorge Campillo (90/1 each-way Ladbrokes)
Gran Canaria Open – Pep Angles (100/1 each-way Betway)