Dougherty can lift the gloom
The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the fourth edition of the Bankia Madrid Masters. The holder of the title is no other than the world number one Luke Donald. He is sure to attract the crowds and he has had thirteen top ten finishes this season.
He is 4/1 to win the renewal but that is too short a price for what looks a strong field. He is not defending his title on the same course, the players will be looking to collect valuable Euros in the Race To Dubai at the El Encin at Alcala de Henares.
The course does not play to Donald's main strengths. It will suit the big-hitters and it is one of the longest courses on the European Tour. Donald has one of the best short games in the world, if not the best.
At the Dunhill Links Championship last weekend, he had his first competitive three putts in over two months and he should have no problem coping with these long undulating greens.
George Coetzee (25/1) is a powerful South African and he is yet to win on the European Tour. He is only young but he has put in some stellar rounds this season. He is often let down by his first round but he is thirty-fourth in the Race To Dubai and has the attributes to be a winner this week.
His driving accuracy has improved this season and he is the eighteenth biggest driver on the Tour. He finds over sixty-five percent of Greens In Regulation and he lost in a play-off at the Johnnie walker Championship. He was fifteenth at the Open and third at the Barclays Scottish Open.
His compatriot Thomas Aiken (33/1) should also not be overlooked and he is coming back into form after a poor summer. He disappeared off the radar in July and August but he is proven in Spain.
He came seventh in the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca and won the Open de Espana in May. He enjoys the warm weather and started the European Tour season in good form in South Africa in December. He is another big hitter, he has played a lot of events but he could excel in Madrid.
Nick Dougherty (200/1) would never have been seen at that price a few years ago and at the moment, he is looking at ending the season at qualifying school. He has found some form of late and he was the first round leader at the Omega European Masters recently. He is 125/1 to repeat the feat in Madrid.
He hit a 65 in the second round at the Dunhill Links and won the pro am with Chris Evans. He looks a big price at 200/1, he knows he has to produce something spectacular so late in the season to avoid qualifying school. His driving accuracy is as low as forty-four percent this season but it has improved of late and he has altered his swing.
Alvaro Quiros (28/1) has home advantage and Colsaerts (16/1) has played some quality golf this season and it is difficult to ignore these two big-hitters. The Czech Open is another long course and Fabrizio Zanotti finished third earlier this season, he is another who has had a problem with his driving accuracy. The Paraguayan (150/1) could be another with an each-way chance at a massive price.