2022 Catalunya Championship Golf – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

After a first week in Europe last week, the DP World Tour remains in Spain this week for another newly formed event, the Catalunya Championship, which like last week has been put together while the sport waits for regular competition in Asia again.

The season is about to really kick into life with the British Masters next week and a number of great events in the lead up to The Open so everyone in action in Spain will be eager to lift a title to take into those tournaments.

The Course

We are on the Stadium Course at the PGA Catalunya Resort near Girona in Spain. This is a treelined course which has plenty of undulations on it so there is a bit of Wentworth about the place. The course is a par 72 and stretches to 7,353 yards so it isn’t long by modern standards but it is slightly longer than last week. With water in play on five of the holes and the greens here on the smaller side there is a huge emphasis on accuracy.

This course has staged events in the past. It has held a World Open, three Open de Espana tournaments and co-hosted the Q-School final event too. It has also staged events on the Nordic Golf League for the last six years so it won’t be alien to some of the players on show. We are looking for players who are accurate in the long game department but who can also manage getting up and down when they inevitably do miss these greens.

The Field

The field this week is of a similar level to the one which played last week. There are some minor adjustments but a lot of the leading DP World Tour stars are still in America ahead of a big tournament next week in the lead up to the USPGA Championship which is less than a month away. We do have the winner from last week here in Pablo Larrazabal, who will be looking for a third DP World Tour title on the season already.

The man who chased him home last week is also here in Adrian Otaegui while the man who will defend at The Belfry next week, Richard Bland, also tees it up this week. Top level players such as Bernd Wiesberger, the Hojgaard brothers, Adri Arnaus and Adrian Meronk are also in the field here while the likes of Victor Perez, Haotong Li, Ross Fisher and Thorbjorn Olesen sprinkle further quality onto a competitive field.

Market Leaders

Bernd Wiesberger is a shortening all the time 22/1 favourite to win this week. I mentioned last week how he hasn’t done much in terms of form to convince us that he is about to win and he didn’t really factor too much last week. His putting is a real concern. He has lost ground to the field with the flat stick in his last eight starts and while it isn’t an important statistic this week, you leave yourself vulnerable if you can’t get the ball in the hole. He’s a fair price given the field but he isn’t for me.

The Spanish pair of Adrian Otaegui and Pablo Larrazabal come next at 25/1 to win the tournament. Larrazabal eaged out Otaegui last week and if that hasn’t taken too much out of him mentally and emotionally then there is no reason why he can’t go in again. Otaegui didn’t do much wrong in defeat last week though and you sense he’ll be a strong challenger here. Larrazabal has poor form around here which is a concern. Otaegui has no issues on that front so of the two I would side with him.

Richard Bland comes next in the betting at 28/1. The obvious negative would be that he will have an eye on his title defence at the British Masters next week but that doesn’t mean he won’t want to go there with no form behind him. Bland hasn’t been seen since the Texas Open but he was second in Dubai earlier in the season and his many trips to the Q-School will mean he has played a number of rounds on this track. He’s one for the shortlist.

Jordan Smith and Rasmus Hojgaard are the other two players who are shorter than 40/1 in the betting. They can be taken at 30/1. Smith didn’t play last week so hasn’t played since the Qatar Masters so he might have some rust to shift which isn’t exactly ideal while Hojgaard did play but finished well down the field. At least he has shaken off any rust he gathered but he’ll clearly need a much better effort to win here.

Main Bets

If he hasn’t allowed himself to get too rusty in his three weeks off then I think Richard Bland could take a lot of beating in this tournament. This course looks absolutely perfect for him in that it isn’t demanding in terms of length and rewards accuracy. While he was chasing ranking points here there and everywhere in the lead up to The Masters which impacted his form, prior to that he was second in a much better field than this on a Dubai Desert Classic track which doesn’t suit like this one should. Bland has experience of the course from his Q-School visits and he’s been on tour so long he’ll have played Open de Espana tournaments here. If he doesn’t need to shed any rust he’s the one to beat in my eyes.

Mikko Korhonen has suddenly come into a bit of form with a couple of top 15 finishes in his last three starts, including one in the first Spanish event last week. The success he has had the last few weeks has been based on finding a lot of fairways and hitting plenty of greens. His strokes gained totals off the tee and on approach are in the positive and his scoring is coming good as a result. He topped the charts in the Q-School here in the past so we know he can play this course under the ultimate pressure of playing for status. He was also T15 in the Open de Espana here in 2014so he has lots of course knowledge, plenty of current form and the profile to go very well on this track. He feels a big price this week.

Outsiders

Ewen Ferguson missed the cut last week but that might have been to be expected given that he hadn’t played since he won the Qatar Masters. That win ensures he merits respect this week. While that win kind of came out of the blue he was in the top 10 in Kenya and that is a track which needs accuracy much like this one. Ferguson hits a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. He struggled on the greens last week but that might just have been because he had lost some touch during his time off. He generally holds his own with the flat stick and if he does that here he’ll outrun his odds by a fair way.

Francesco Laporta led at the halfway mark at Wentworth last season and although the top class talent that was in the field that week eventually pushed him down into a tie for sixth, the similarities between that course and this one means that I’m happy to take a chance on the Italian this week. He finished last season very well and you thought it was only a matter of time before he won. His form this term hasn’t been as good but it might just be that the longer desert tracks haven’t suited his game whereas this one will. In South Africa recently he was in the top 10 for strokes gained putting and the week before in Kenya he was third in approach play. If he can put it all together than he should go well on a course he has experience on having played in Q-School here in 2015.

I’ll also take a complete longshot in the form of Joel Sjoholm at 500/1. Let’s deal with the negatives first. He hasn’t been any better than T40 in the six events he has played this season and missed the cut last week, albeit he should level par for the 36 holes so it wasn’t like he was terrible or anything. He has plenty of experience of this course though having played in two Nordic Golf Leader events here in 2017 and 2018, finishing second on both occasions so we don’t need to worry about him handling the course. He has also finished second elsewhere in Spain on the Challenge Tour and tends to flourish on tracks like these. He’s a monster price but might just use familiarity to his liking and outrun his odds in a big way.

Tips

Back R.Bland to win Catalunya Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back M.Korhonen to win Catalunya Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back E.Ferguson to win Catalunya Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

Back F.Laporta to win Catalunya Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-7)

Back J.Sjoholm to win Catalunya Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 501.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)

Back him here:

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Author: Martha Chavez