Catalunya Championship Preview & Tips by @RH_G0LF, follow on the links below
After a rain & wind affected event last week, we go up the road 190km from Infinitum golf course to Catalunya Golf club hoping for a better week weather wise. Especially when my picks last week were badly hampered by the weather. We were in a fantastic position after 36 holes but only ended up with a best finish of 53rd unfortunately.
It is an inaugural event this week with the Catalan Championship taking centre stage on the DP world tour. The course has hosted numerous events in the past for the DP world in 1999,2000,2009 & 2014, Q School 2008-2016 & as even part of the Nordic Tour so even with this being an inaugural event over 50 players have seen this place before competitively.
Catalunya Championship – The Course
The course this week has won some high accolades. It has been Spain’s top ranked course 6 years in a row and its ranked as one of the Top 5 courses in Europe. It is in the top 100 worldwide so its slightly surprising not to see more higher ranked players here this week.
The course, designed by Neil Cole & Angel Gallardo & opened in 1999. The land was meant for a new formula one track, but was then targeted for a Ryder Cup venue which it lost to Rome in its 2023 bid. The par 72 measures 7353 yards & is made up of four par 3s measuring between 185 & 211 yards. Ten par 4s measuring between 383 & 486 & four par 5s measuring between 492 & 585.
The PGA Catalunya has a replica of the 11th hole on the driving range a par 3 measuring 188 yards
The stadium course is tree lined with an abundance of bunkers protecting the greens, over one third of holes have water in play. Undulating fairways are an ever present here. After all, the course is designed with Augusta in mind. The PGA Catalunya has a replica of the 11th hole on the driving range a par 3 measuring 188 yards which will be interesting to see how player fair on that hole compared with others.
With the weather playing such a factor last week it was always going to be the 1st thing I looked at this time around! Knowing how bad it has been on the coast of Spain lately . Luckily, its set to be a good four days, with the only rain predicted Saturday afternoon & early Sunday. Rain aside it can be a tough test with the wind alone. A steady 17kmp average predicted throughout the week. Fingers crossed the prediction improves over the week.
Best Value 25-1 7 Places on Betfred
Form wise Adrian is one of the best on tour currently with three top 5s in his last five starts. Form only really bettered by fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal who I wanted to take but the likely hood of him going back-to-back is slim. He ranks 17th on the race to Dubai standings which shows how good of a year he is having; he’s just missing a win to cap off his current run. Adrian has one competitive round here in 2014 finishing 57th and shooting four rounds in the mid to high 70s.
The three-time tour winner currently ranks one of the best par 3 & par 4 scorers on tour ranking 10th for par 3s (2.97) & 12th for par 4s (3.95) this can be out down to an incredible short game where he is 7th for sand saves & scrambling with a 70% success rate of getting up & down. ‘Those Spanish hands’ often repeated down the TV by the comms team whenever any Spanish player gets up & down.
Best Value 50-1 8 Places on Coral
Haotong has had a very relaxed starts to his yearly schedule compared to most of the field. He has just seven starts worldwide this year out of a possible sixteen events to play. Three of the seven events he has finished in the top 12 three times most recently last time out with a 6th place finish. Last week he ranked 11th strokes gained off the Tee, 27th Greens in Regulations with 77.78% His biggest improvement from previous weeks to last week was his putting, he ranked 4th putting which led to him having the 5th highest birdies per round. The 26-year-old will be looking to keep up last week’s form as he looks to have a much better 2022 than 2021 where he made just four cuts & has already beaten this in seven starts this year.
Best Value 60-1 8 Places on Coral
John knows full well that last week was a bad week with the flat stick. What could have been when you look at this driving & irons play stats. He finished T64 in the end, but he will take huge positives from his stats last week. John ranked 3rd in driving accuracy with 82% whilst still averaging 317 (17th). He then went onto hit 79.15% of greens in regulation (18th). It is then you look at the flat stick stats you see where it didn’t quite go to plan as his scrabbling stats were also very good ranking 22nd.
Luckily with this week just being a 2-hour drive away he can get down early to PGA Catalunya & work on the putting. He also as we all know has had success in Spain before with the Estrella Damm Andalucia Masters in 2020. It only takes a small change & bit of luck with the putter. You’ve got to believe he will be up there come Sunday afternoon.
Best Value 125-1 on Betfred
Craig is a player slowly creeping under the radar & his price doesn’t reflect his recent results. Hhas made every cut this year in the six events he has played with a best finish of 12th & worst finish of 42nd so picking up some decent cheques each week he has played.
Craig finished 30th last week shooting 70-66-73-67, ranked 12th for most birdies with 18 out of the 72 holes. He like John had a great week tee to green it’s just the putting stats letting him down. The Scot ranked 29th Strokes gained off the tee,10th tee to green & hit 81.95% of greens. He played here once before in 2019 & missed the cut. However, the challenge tour grad will have forgotten that & be fully focused on a strong performance.
Richard Mansell 125-1 – great week last week after injury finished T30. Keen to follow his progress with the Belfry next week a course I believe he should know well as he plays around the area a lot with Bradley Moore & George Bloor
Tom Mckibbin 200-1 – another DP world appearance for the talented teenager who won recently stateside on the mini tours.