Out of the Rough: Open de Espana (2023)
After a week in Scotland for the unique Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the DP World Tour turns its attention to the Open de Espana.
This event dates back to 1912 and apart from 2017 when it was omitted from the DP World Tour schedule and 2020 due to the pandemic, this event has been played annually since the DP World Tour’s inception in 1972.
Club de Campo Villa de Madrid has been the host of this event for the last three editions.
Prior to it becoming the host of the Open de Espana, Club de Campo Villa de Madrid was familiar to the Tour. It was last played on the Tour in 2008 when it became the first of four editions of the now defunct Madrid Masters.
It was also the host of the now defunct Open de Madrid between 2001 and 2005 and also hosted that same event in 1996.
It additionally hosted the Turespana Masters in 2000.
This week’s field is headlined by Spanish hero Jon Rahm who is seeking his fourth Open de Espana title.
Rahm has won three-of-the-last-four editions and two-of-the-last three that were held at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid
Rahm is the odds on favorite and that’s for good reason.
Joining Rahm in this week’s field is fellow Team European and Ryder Cup Champion Justin Rose.
Other notable names include Yannik Paul, Joost Luiten and Thorbjorn Olesen.
Of course, there will be a heavy Spanish presence. Along with Rahm, Rafa Cabrera Bello is in this week’s field and is a former Open De Espana winner as well.
Additionally, the likes of Pablo Larrazabal, Adria Arnaus and Adrian Otaegui will be looking to claim victory on home soil
Club de Campo Villa de Madrid in Madrid, Spain is this week’s host and plays as a par 71 at 7,112 yards.
It is a Javier de Arana design and was opened in 1956.
It is best described as a traditional inland course that also sits 2,500 feet above sea level. In turn, this has the already shorter course play shorter than the yardage on the score card suggests.
It is a hilly course with sloping tree-lined fairways that suggests that driving accuracy will be of a premium this week opposed to distance off the tee.
The greens are well protected by a multitude of bunkers and the greens themselves are undulating.
Under ideal weather conditions, this track can feature some very low scoring.
Ross McGowan opened the 2021 edition of this event with a ten-under 61. Jon Rahm shot a nine-under 62 in round four a year ago when he claimed his third Open de Espana title.
In all, we can expect a birdie-fest this week.
Due to this, greens in regulation will be an important statistic to monitor and those who can scramble well to avoid dropping strokes will see a leg up.
As of the time of writing this, the weather for the first two days of this week’s event will be ideal. There is a zero-percent chance of precipitation for Thursday and Friday with highs set at 83 and 81 degrees respectively. Winds on Thursday will be non-existent as they’ll reach ten miles-per-hour on Friday. The weekend is a totally different story. Saturday and Sunday both feature 80-percent chances of precipitation. Temperatures are set at 73-degrees for Saturday and 65-degrees on Sunday. Winds won’t be much of a factor set at eight and seven miles-per-hour respectively for Saturday and Sunday.
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)
Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)
Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)
Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)
Sand Saves Percentage
Birdie or Better Percentage
Yannik Paul (+2500)
With Jon Rahm the heavy favorite and a near 2/1 to win, I’m only playing a unit on each of my suggestions this week. Of course I believe Rahm is to win for a fourth time in the last five years but in the event he doesn’t, I really like Paul. He is currently second on the DP World Tour in SG: APP, sixth in SG: TTG, seventh in GIR%, eighth in bogey avoidance, 15th in scrambling, 30th in birdie or better percentage, 41st in driving accuracy, 60th in SG: PUTT and 116th in sand saves percentage. In his last two outings, Paul has gone T6th at the Cazoo Open de France and T14th at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Joost Luiten (+2800)
Outside of Rahm, Luiten tops my overall model this week. When it comes to these shorter courses that require accuracy off the tee, you know Luiten is going to make an appearance on the card. Luiten did withdraw from last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship but prior to that placed T14th at the BMW PGA Championship, T12th at the Horizon Irish Open and T5th at the Omega European Masters. Luiten is also currently fifth on SG: TTG, seventh in bogey avoidance, 11th in SG: APP, 13th in GIR%, 15th in driving accuracy, 18th in scrambling, 25th in sand saves percentage, 36th in birdie or better percentage and 59th in SG: PUTT.
Adrian Otaegui (+3500)
I had to include at least one Spanaird this week and that just so happens to be Otaegui. He is currently first on the entire DP World Tour in driving accuracy. He is also second on Tour in scrambling, fourth in both SG: APP and bogey avoidance, eighth in SG: TTG, 11th in sand saves percentage, 40th in GIR% and 102nd in birdie or better percentage. His one downfall comes on the greens as he ranks 137th in SG: PUTT. The hope is that he finds a hot flat stick on home soil and the rest of his game carries him. In his last outing, Otaegui went T16th at the Cazoo Open De France.
Antoine Rozner (+5500)
Rozner had a strong showing at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a T10th. I’m hoping he rides that into this week as prior to that, he hasn’t been in good form by any means, missing three straight cuts. Statistically speaking, he’s currently ninth on Tour in GIR%, 15th in bogey avoidance, 27th in SG: TTG, 31st in SG: APP, 41st in both scrambling and birdie or better percentage, 50th in SG: PUTT, 52nd in driving accuracy and 55th in sand saves percentage.
Ewen Ferguson (+7000)
Ferguson is currently 11th on Tour in GIR%, 17th in bogey avoidance, 19th in both sand saves percentage and driving accuracy, 20th in SG: APP, 32nd in SG: TTG, 49th in scrambling, 57th in birdie or better percentage and 62nd in SG: PUTT. Although Ferguson placed T54th at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, he did place T10th at the Cazoo Open de France in the event prior.