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Jon Riley 12th May 2010 - 10:37

Back to the Balearics for the European Tour

The European Tour heads to the Balearic Islands this week for the Iberdrola Open, or to give it it's full title, the Iberdrola Open Cala Millor Mallorca.

The Spanish island last featured on Tour in 2007 when the same course hosted the Mallorca Classic. This year the tour returns after a three year absence.

The course that will host the Iberdrola open is the beautifully picturesque Pula Golf Club. Since hosting the inaugural event seven years ago, won by Miguel Angel Jimenez, Pula has undergone a number of changes carried out by two-time Masters' winner Jose Maria Olazabal.

The course is undulating, has numerous water hazards, and with out of bounds coming into play on many holes from the tee. Accuracy is a definite must. Trees line many of the fairways and the aforementioned water hazards lie in wait for any wayward drives.

Soren Hansen leads the betting as he looks to cement his position in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. The Danish Ryder Cup star has been installed as the early 11/1 favourite.

The World Number 50, only the second Dane to play in The Ryder Cup after Thomas Björn, has already accumulated four top tens this season and will make his first appearance since the Masters Tournament.

At the Masters he failed to make the cut and hasn't generally been in great form which might make his favourite tag and price seem a little too short. However, Hansen undoubtedly has the talent to pull something out of the bag here.

When it comes to some tour events it is very worthwhile examining player's course and event history before deciding on whom to back. Two players that know this course well are Jose Manuel Lara and Robert-Jan Derksen.

The former will be playing on home Spanish soil where he is at his most potent. The 32 year old Valencian golfer had a tremendous record at the Pula course during the years that the Mallorca Classic was hosted here. Lara finished tied-11th or better every year from 2003 to 2007 including finishing second behind Jose Maria Olazabal in 2005 and third behind Nicholas Fasth in 2006.

Despite suffering a string of disappointing performances this season he looked to be recovering his form at the Italian Open last week. The Spaniard can be backed at odds of 25/1 to triumph in Mallorca.

The latter, Robert-Jan Derksen, is no stranger to the fairways and greens of this stunning island either. His previous three visits to Mallorca have all yielded top-12 finishes, while also posting three top-20s in his most recent four starts on Tour.

The Dutchman is definitely in form at present and returning to a course he knows so well could prove the catalyst for a tour win. At 16/1 he could be well fancied.

Chris Wood is flying the English golfing flag this week at the Iberdrola Open. The young Englishman, who heralds form Bristol, impressively finished in third place at last year's Open Championship.

However, he is still waiting for his first win on tour and he certainly has the game to do so this week in Mallorca. He finished in a very creditable tie for third place last week in the Italian Open. He will know that if he can bring that form with him to the Balearics then he could go very close to winning here. Wood is currently 16/1 to earn his first European title.



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