Duo ready to star in Spain

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: May 15 2014, 9:00 BST

Emiliano Grillo and Eddie Pepperell are David John's big-price fancies for this week's Open de Espana in Girona.

Eddie Pepperell can outplay his huge odds this week in Spain
Eddie Pepperell can outplay his huge odds this week in Spain

There is some decent depth at the top end of the market for this week's Open de Espana and as an obvious consequence, the bookmakers have come up with very little in the way of surprises.

Top of the shop is Sergio Garcia at 5/1 after another splendid effort at last week's Players Championship where he filled third place behind Martin Kaymer.

The 2002 winner of his national title may well wish he could have a couple of shots back from his inward nine and hence may have exerted a little more pressure on the German in the closing stages.

But he labelled it another "positive week" chock-full of beautiful ball-striking and it would be no shock to see him go very close indeed considering he has the aura of the marquee name for his rivals to deal with.

Evergreen compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez is back in action after a short break following a swashbuckling top 10 at the Masters and subsequent Champions Tour win while Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano could also fancy his chances back on home soil.

The man who heralds from Madrid has spent 2014 settling into his new surroundings in Florida and a first full year on the PGA Tour which has yielded a batch of results that can be accurately labelled as hit and miss.

Familiar surroundings could be a boost to his prospects but he has been tinkering around with the shafts in his driver and three-wood so looks to be a bit of a work in progress in the moment.

That little bit of inconsistency would explain an opening 36 holes at Sawgrass of 67-77 last week and I am happy to leave him alone on this occasion.

Alvaro Quiros looks on the way back but it has not taken the bookmakers long to start slashing his odds again while an extremely good judge thinks there could be some mileage in Joost Luiten's price at 33/1.

I have a great deal of time for the Dutchman but you will have to forgive him a third-round 82 in the Players Championship which saw him miss the additional cut on the Saturday of the event.

The two players I am keen on can be backed at three-figure odds and are Emiliano Grillo and Eddie Pepperell.

The former had the Africa Open in his grasp going into the final round back in February but a shocking start that saw him card a nine on the first hole left him and his backers asking "why me?".

To his credit, he did stage an excellent late rally with five straight birdies to close out the day and he has been seen only fleetingly since - including an outing on the PGA Tour in Puerto Rico - as he perhaps wisely took some time out to regather his poise.

Grillo missed the cut in Malaysia recently but showed more signs of life at his next event in China (T24) and that certainly hinted to me that he could not be far away from getting right back in the groove.

The Latin connection has certainly seen fellow Argentines like Eduardo Romero and Ricardo Gonzalez go well in this event - and Spain in general - and while his golfing experience was perhaps unpleasant in East London, it is all part of the learning curve.

And believe me, at 21-years-old he better snap out of any funk he is in pretty smartish as a potential 25-year career is a very long time to carry that mental baggage around.

The bottom line is that Grillo is a class performer (solo second in Dubai this year on his resume) and I don't think he will be teeing it up too often in the future at such generous prices when it comes to regular European Tour events.

Pepperell is another player I have a great deal of time for and that makes me quietly optimistic he can outplay his odds of 500/1.

A cerebral and intelligent young man, he has written a very interesting blog about his experiences on Tour and it was this time last year that he really started to turn some heads with a top-10 finish in this tournament followed shortly after by another at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship.

His form rather tailed off in the second half of the season but he put that down to watching an old video of Ben Hogan on YouTube and then trying to model his swing in a similar way.

The modest run has continued into 2014 but he returned to working hard on the fundamentals with his coach and finally felt he had turned a corner after going through some drills on the range over a weekend in Kuala Lumpur after missing the cut.

He played all four rounds in China and I just think that Pepperell could be worth a shot back in Spain where he can feed of some positive memories from 12 months ago which can get his year moving firmly in the right direction.

The final bet this week is a bit of a cover shot and goes on France's Gregory Bourdy to bag a top-10 finish at 7/2.

You have to go back to the middle of last year for the last time that the Bourdy cash register did not ring and his ultra-consistency yielded a victory at Celtic Manor in Wales early in the autumn.

His record in Spain is solid, he arrives after a T6 in Singapore while his last visit to this venue when the event was staged here in 2009 yielded a T8.

So Bourdy looks all set to give us a good run for our money and is fancied feature at the right end of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.

  • Posted at 1550 BST on 13/05/2014.