The European Tour touches down in Spain this week for what promises to be an emotional Open de Espana.
Next Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Seve Ballesteros and a clutch of Spaniards will be aiming to pay a fitting tribute to their legendary countryman in Sevilla.
Jose Maria Olazabal, who enjoyed a famous and hugely successful partnership with the five-time major champion in the Ryder Cup, is perhaps the highest-profile member of that group.
Odds of 200/1 suggest ‘Ollie’ has little chance of ending his seven-year title drought, but punters could do far worse than backing either Alvaro Quiros or Miguel Angel Jimenez to come out on top.
Big-hitting Quiros will surely fancy his chances as the event returns to the Real Club de Golf de Sevilla course, where he secured victory ahead of James Morrison in 2010.
Jimenez, meanwhile, has won an impressive four of 18 tournaments in his homeland and arrives on the back of an encouraging tie for fifth place at last week’s Ballantine’s Championship.
Everyone’s favourite cigar-smoking golfer (Darren Clarke aside, perhaps) is certainly relishing the prospect of securing a victory to dedicate to Ballesteros.
“I love the tournament and Sevilla is a very nice golf course, always in super condition,” said Jimenez.
“The Spanish Open is very special to all of us Spanish players and I would love to have a victory in the tournament in my career.
“It’s a big week because of everything that is going on and of course we will all have our thoughts about Seve and how we miss him.”
It would be no surprise to see a Spaniard lifting the trophy come Sunday and both Quiros and Jimenez look incredibly tempting options at odds of 25/1.
Punters registering with bwin can claim a free £25 bet and placing this on either of the duo to triumph would return a massive £650 if successful.
Failing that, backing Jimenez to win his first-round 3-balls against Simon Dyson and last year’s Open de Espana winner, South Africa’s Thomas Aiken, looks a solid investment at 29/20.
Elsewhere, Francesco Molinari heads the outright betting at 14/1, closely followed by Nicolas Colsaerts (16/1), Matteo Manassero and Paul Lawrie (both 20/1), while Rafael Cabrera-Bello – the only Spaniard with a European Tour win to his name this year – is a 40/1 shot to prevail.
And if you fancy backing a real outsider (he’s too much of a legend to call a no-hoper), how about a sneaky quid on 1994 champion Colin Montgomerie at 300/1?
No? Fair enough. Then pin your hopes on two prominent Spaniards delivering some Sevilla sparkle as the world stops to remember the country’s greatest golfing son.
Miguel Angel Jimenez to win 3-balls @ 29/20 Miguel Angel Jimenez to win tournament @ 25/1 Alvaro Quiros to win tournament @ 25/1
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