The European Tour returns to the sensational Valderrama this week. Who does our tipster think will win?

Andalucia Valderrama Masters Golf Betting Tips 2021

Andrew Johnston 2pts each way at 50/1 with Bet365
It’s easy to make a case for the steady Andrew “Beef” Johnston because Valderrama was the scene of his only tour triumph in the 2016 Spanish Open. He has caught the eye more than once recently, notably a sixth to Danny Willett in the tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship a few weeks back.

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Shubhankar Sharma 1.5pts each way at 66/1 with Bet365
He’s now back in the groove that got him two wins in two months around the turn of the year in 2017-18. Third place to Rafa on Sunday was his best finish for ages but was on the cards after a hot run that kicked off with 12th place in Rome and ninth in top company at Wentworth.

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John Catlin 1pt each way at 70/1 with Bet365
He’s not in great form but one thing you can be sure about is that the former Valderrama winner knows how to win when he gets the chance.

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Richard Bland 0.5pts each way at 40/1 with Bet365
Bland, who added yet another top-ten to his growing portfolio in Madrid, was 11th to Johnston in the Spanish Open here five years ago and is a vastly different proposition since chalking up the long-overdue first win at The Belfry.

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Andalucia Valderrama Masters Golf Betting Tips 2021

It was a Spanish one-two in Madrid without world No. 1 and hot favourite Jon Rahm even coming into the conversation. Sometimes golf is totally incomprehensible!

With Rahm having a rare rough week at the office, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus stepped into the breach to fight out the Spanish Open and we saw why Arnaus, for all his ability, remains a maiden as he failed to hole the 7ft par putt on the home hole that would have given him the long-awaited breakthrough.

It wasn’t so much that he missed it, more the awful stroke he put on that life-changing putt.

As for Cabrera Bello, the 55/1 winner, I couldn’t have backed him with a dud fiver after two years where his game, once good enough for Ryder Cup honours, had gone into freefall.

Based mainly in the USA, he hadn’t posted even a top-ten there since Bay Hill in April 2019 while a fourth place first time out in Abu Dhabi in his European campaign turned out to be a false dawn as there had not been even a top-30 since … until Sunday.

Rafa Cabrera Bello Open

Cabrera-Bello secured his fourth European Tour title at last week’s Spanish Open. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

The clue, if there was one, was his second place to Rahm on the same Madrid course when the Open was last staged two years ago.

Somehow the Canary Islander reached back into his memory bank to pluck out the good and shove the bad out of bounds.

With the European Tour staying in Spain this week for a far different examination at Valderrama for the Andalucian Masters, Rahm and Rafa resume hostilities and it would take a brave man to predict Cabrera Bello putting Rahm to the sword in consecutive weeks.

After Rahm’s opening 63 on Thursday virtually killed off the betting side of the tournament, or so we all thought, but explaining away what unfurled over the next three days takes a deal of understanding.

Maybe the lingering effects of Covid were to blame but something must have been bothering him apart from the noisy crowd.

When you’re making mistakes, the crowd is often the easiest thing to blame – Jacklin and Monty always gave the fans a glare after duffing a shot – and it was a shame to see the old temperament problem returning.

He will probably win but his chance is less obvious than last week and taking the 16/5 is a matter of personal judgment.

I am less keen to be involved on a course which may drive him nuts.

Great players like great fighters – wasn’t Tyson Fury fabulous? – get up after being knocked down and proud Rahm, who was a remote runner-up to Christiaan Bezuidenhout in the 2019 edition, won’t be turning out to finish 17th again, that’s for sure.

The 7028 yards of par-71 Valderrama are a mystery wrapped in a riddle for some.

Valderrama 8th hole

Valderrama is known as one of Europe’s trickiest courses.

It’s a one-off with its trees in the fairway or overhanging to prevent golfers not in the perfect spot on the fairway getting a clear sight of the green.

It’s a shot-makers’ course where the driver often has to be kept in the bag and positive course experience of the 1997 Ryder Cup venue is a huge plus.

That’s why Sergio Garcia has such a fabulous record there, so it’s a great pity he won’t be there to attempt a fourth course victory.

That said, I’m making an executive decision to overlook the fact that Indian ace Shubhankar Sharma missed the cut on his last two visits to Valderrama and put him up as an each-way alternative to the favourite.

My argument is that his game was in a parlous state for the past two seasons but now he’s back in the groove that got him two wins in two months around the turn of the year in 2017-18.

Shubhankar Sharma defends Maybank Championship

When in form, Sharma knows how to get the job done.

Third place to Rafa on Sunday was his best finish for ages but was on the cards after a hot run that kicked off with 12th place in Rome and ninth in top company at Wentworth.

With five top-16s from his eight pre-Madrid appearances, he’s been revving up for a while and this course really should show this accurate, tidy player in a good light.

Also easy to make a case for is steady Andrew “Beef” Johnston because Valderrama was the scene of his only tour triumph in the 2016 Spanish Open.

Andrew Johnston wins Open de Espana

Beef won his first European Tour title at Valderrama in 2016.

He couldn’t handle a spell in the States but back on his home tour he has caught the eye more than once, notably a sixth to Danny Willett in the tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship a few weeks back.

Following on 14th in Munich and ninth in Ireland, this great character would be one of 2021’s most popular winners.

Johnston’s winning score in 2016 was one over par, so don’t expect a flood of birdies this week.

Old Joe Par was also the winner of last year’s Masters, quiet American John Catlin’s two-over 286 good enough for a one-stroke victory over the disappointing Martin Kaymer.

He’s not in great form but one thing you can be sure about is that he knows how to win when he gets the chance.

Two more victories, in Ireland and Austria, followed that Valderrama breakthrough and although he missed the cut in Madrid, the two tests have little in common.

With confidence restored, there’s no reason why Cabrera Bello can’t follow up other than the fact that Valderrama is rarely on his itinerary – 16th in 2016 on his last visit – which suggests it’s not a course that suits him.

There are plenty more with a chance in a slightly stronger field than Madrid – Matt Fitzpatrick and Arron Rai are there this time but 12/1 is just too short for what the former has achieved this year.

Bernd Wiesberger can never be ignored and Hero Open winner Grant Forrest covered the last nine in Madrid in 28 blows for third place so could hardly be heading south in a better frame of mind.

The long-hitting Scot may find the course too claustrophobic for his game and marginal preference is for Richard Bland who is more likely to enjoy Valderrama’s bag of tricks.

Bland, who added yet another top-ten to his growing portfolio in Madrid, was 11th to Johnston in the Spanish Open here five years ago and is a vastly different proposition since chalking up the long-overdue first win at The Belfry.

Check out how the GM Tipster is getting on this year on our Golf Betting Tips homepage.

Andalucia Valderrama Masters Golf Betting Tips 2021 – advised bets

Andrew Johnston 2pts each way at 50/1 with Bet365
It’s easy to make a case for the steady Andrew “Beef” Johnston because Valderrama was the scene of his only tour triumph in the 2016 Spanish Open. He has caught the eye more than once recently, notably a sixth to Danny Willett in the tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship a few weeks back.

BET NOW

Shubhankar Sharma 1.5pts each way at 66/1 with Bet365
He’s now back in the groove that got him two wins in two months around the turn of the year in 2017-18. Third place to Rafa on Sunday was his best finish for ages but was on the cards after a hot run that kicked off with 12th place in Rome and ninth in top company at Wentworth.

BET NOW

John Catlin 1pt each way at 70/1 with Bet365
He’s not in great form but one thing you can be sure about is that the former Valderrama winner knows how to win when he gets the chance.

BET NOW

Richard Bland 0.5pts each way at 40/1 with Bet365
Bland, who added yet another top-ten to his growing portfolio in Madrid, was 11th to Johnston in the Spanish Open here five years ago and is a vastly different proposition since chalking up the long-overdue first win at The Belfry.

BET NOW

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