Race to Dubai: Madeira Open Portugal

Race to Dubai:   Madeira Islands Open – Portugal

Welcome to Portugal’s hilly archipelago, Madeira and its own Open sponsored and kept interesting by its local tipple. This is the 20th anniversary of an event that this year returns to Santo de Serra after three years at the Portop Santo resort next door. I wish it has the makings of a Race to Dubai altering field, but the chances of this stirring the Ryder Cup race are slim and none – and slim’s out of town. i.e. If Gary Orr wins, he moves up to 80 places to 62nd!

Date:                     10th – 13th May 2012

Venue:                 Santo de Serra, Madeira, Portugal

We all may wish we had an rewarding and lucrative entry to The Players but not all of us do and so sit back and look forward to stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the marvel of a very hilly Robert Trent Jones Jnr course which varies in height to the windy and testing tune of somewhere in the region of a decent Bubba Watson drive. With big name skills missing – brace yourself for a field littered with odds higher than Sean Ryder.

Yards:                   6,825 yards

Par:                        Par 72

Field:                   

This week’s cameos include the shining light of the current challenge tour, former European Tour starlet and buff spiky haired husband of Sky Sports hottest presenter Di Dougherty, Nick Dougherty (66/1 with Ladbrokes) fights to make the cut in his first big tour start in 2012 having won more in 2012 in two starts on the Challenge Tour than 34 on the full tour in 2011. There’s also the aforementioned Gary Orr (33/1 with Ladbrokes) and taking a break from filming in Hollywood and with surprising odds given I have never heard of him its Matthew Baldwin (33/1 with BetDaq) – who knew?

Consider…:

With hills, it can be tricky judging the distance because of the altitude and the wind and there are often visibility problems due to those pesky hills and inclement weather causing delays during tournament play. So my half baked tips this week points towards winners that have the same attributes as God; the patience of a saint, is just (it can’t be that Saltman boy then!), supreme and equal in power and glory (so it could be Phillip Archer (41/1 with BetFair) with a win and a 3rd place and leads the Challenge Tour). However, if our players get caught this week during a lightning storm they should hold up a 1-iron – as not even God can hit a 1-iron.

Ones to watch:

With six European Tour titles to his name, and a string of high placed finishes in major tournaments, it’s Niclas Fasth (66/1 with BetFair) from Sweden who deserves a little return to form this week having not won since 2007 and is having a quiet season on Tour with only two cuts made from 9 events. That said, he continues to be a great putter and has great scrambling, in particular from bunkers, and who is as accurate now with a driver as he was in 2007! I bet you…

A strong supporter of Glasgow’s disgraceful Blue Team, grumpy Alasdair Forsyth (26/1 with BetFair) stands out as one who could have the talent to finish towards the top of the field this week. Has incredible pedigree at boy, youth and senior level and lost to Poulter in Rookie of the Year in 2000. Has two Tour wins to his name – in Malaysia in 2002 and here in 2008 so has the insider knowledge of the course, the event and the weather.

Ones to win:

Sounding like a career in the working men’s clubs of North Yorkshire beckoned, it’s the talented Tommy Fleetwood (66/1 with Bet365) who looks lively this week. With 5 top tens’ on the Challenge Tour and a 5th place in last year’s Alfred Dunhill Championship, he has the ability and skills to add another event to his only win to date (in 2011 at the Kazakhstan Masters). And as we all know, chicks dig boys with skills.

Homing in on the brethren from the motherland this week, and confirmed as Wales finest since Ian Woosnam, former Madeira Open winner, Bradley Dredge (28/1 with BoyleSports) looks strong this week and will be buoyed by a final round 60 in 2003 when he shot 12 under to take the title. Has had a string of consistent midfield results in 2012 but take the top half of the field away, as this week, and he would have won two of them! One of the field favorites’ this week…

Trick Shot

Seve Benson with a top ten finish is a remarkably high offer at 24/5 with BetDaq – put a fiver on him while you can as with two top tens’ in three starts already in 2012 – surely there’s some mistake here!

Phillip Archer and Darren Fichardt in a Double Chance to win at 16/1 with SkyBet – with 5 wins between them and 1 already this year, these guys lead the way in experience and bounce-back-ability in this field.

Jenks out!