09:55 – April 23, 2021
After an opening ten-under-par 62, the Norwegian duo of Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura are tied at the top of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans leaderboard, alongside Americans Brice Garnett and Scott Stallings but with as many as 28 teams within just three strokes, it’s an event to leave alone for now.
This is the fourth edition of the event in this format and although the first two to take the title, Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith, were up with the pace throughout, the team they beat in extra time, Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, trailed by four strokes in a tie for 37th after round one and the last two winning pairs both sat further back than three strokes after the opening day.
Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm were four adrift in a tie for 33rd in 2019 and Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy were five back and tied for 44th a year earlier suggesting a slow start can be overcome.
After yesterday’s four balls action, all 80 teams are under-par but the scoring won’t be anywhere near as good today as the teams play alternate ball ands I’m happy to sit and see what today brings.
After the preview was published, I added Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler to the portfolio when they drifted from 17.016/1 to 20.019/1 before the off and like both my other selections, Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett, and my Find Me a 100 Winner picks, Peter Uihlein and Richy Werenski, they’ve started nicely but there’s a long way to go yet.
The second round of the Gran Canaria Open is already underway and as detailed below, I’ve already added one in-running as I believe the frontrunners should figure come Sunday.
Scoring isn’t going to let up at the Gran Canaria Open so we should be concentrating on the early pacesetters. Managed to get a small bet matched on Kieffer overnight at 16.5 and he still looks a fair price to me at 15. He was impressive in-contention last week. Tees off at 8:40
? Steve Rawlings (@SteveThePunter) April 23, 2021
The scoring was low on day one and it could go even lower as the players get used to the course. As highlighted in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, it’s very hard to make up ground on an easy course and Meloneras is certainly that. Talk before the off amongst the caddies was of a possible 58!
Who’s gonna win?
The lads reckon it’s #58watch at the #GranCanariaLopesanOpen
? The Tour Caddies (@thetourcaddies) April 21, 2021
Find Me a 100 Winner pick, Zander Lombard, finished his opening round with a pair of fives to trail by three, so he may have too much to do to get involved already but I certainly haven’t given up on my only other pre-event pick, tournament host, Rafa Cabrera Bello.
This is Rafa’s local course and he knows it like the back of his hand. Looking at his stats, he didn’t play well from tee-to-green yesterday but he still shot a five-under-par 65 and he looks a fair price still.
When Rafa got off the mark on the European Tour he did so by shooting 60 in round four of the Austrian Open back in 2009 so we know he’s capable of super-low scoring and if anyone can muscle in after a slightly sluggish start it could be him.
This is an easy course and only six holes averaged over-par yesterday but if you’re going to bet in-running throughout the week, it’s worth bearing in mind that the three hardest holes are encountered around the turn. The 10th is a straightforward par four that averaged 3.74 in round one but holes nine, 11 and 12 all averaged over-par.
Gran Canaria Pre-Event Selection:
Rafa Cabrera Bello @ 29.028/1
Max Kieffer @ 16.5
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Pre-Event Selections:
Watson/Scheffler @ 20.019/1 (Placed after preview published)
Willett/Hatton @ 36.035/1
Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Gran Canaria Open
Back Zander Lombard @ 280.0279/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Back Werenski/Uihlein 2 u @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter