Canary Islands Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis
EXPECT to see some seriously low scoring in this week’s Canary Islands Championship at Golf Costa Adeje in Tenerife. The course measures just 6,816 yards, which makes it a comparative tiddler by today’s standards. It also features five par fives, so don’t be too surprised to see somebody coming very close to breaking that magical 60 barrier, something that has still been done only once on the European Tour.
And there are plenty of players in the field who enjoy making birdies for fun. Pick the bone out of Garrick Higgo, Martin Kaymer, Alexander Levy, Ashun Wu, Justin Harding, Adrian Otaegui, Callum Shinkwin, Renato Paratore, Andy Sullivan, Eddie Pepperell, Romain Langasque, Maximilian Kieffer and Dean Burmester for starters.
Renatio Paratore may be due another big week. As an amateur, Paratore had his breakthrough reaching the quarterfinals of the 2013 Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports. Between 2013 and 2014 he won the Junior Orange Bowl in Miami, the Portuguese Amateur Championship, the Trofeo International Umberto Agnelli, the Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the Men’s Individual Gold at the Youth Olympics.He played in the Junior Ryder Cup twice.
In November 2014, at 17 years of age, Paratore obtained his European Tour card and wasted little time in making his mark. He made his European Tour debut in December 2014 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Malelane, South Africa, where he finished tied for the 26th place. After a decent start to the season, where he made seven consecutive cuts, but then struggled. In July 2015 at the French Open he created a bit of history when he became the first player in European Tour history to score a four on every hole. He achieved the best result of his first season at the end of August with a fifth place at the Czech Masters and finished 109th in the Race to Dubai, which was just good enough to keep his card for 2017. Paratore earned his first European Tour win at the 2017 Nordea Masters and added his second title at last year’s British Masters, beating Rasmus Hojgaard by three strokes.
Paratore does everything well and also gets on with things. He is a joy to watch.
Ashun Wu played on the Asian Tour in 2008 and 2009. His best finish was tied fourth at the 2009 Thailand Open. He competed on the Japan Tour from 2012 to 2015, winning his first title in September 2012 at the Toshin Golf Tournament in Ryosen, becoming the first golfer from China to win on the Japan Golf Tour. In 2013, Wu won for the second time on the Japan Tour, with a one-stroke victory at the Hwiwa PGM Championship. His first win on the European Tour came at the China Open in 2015.
Since that victory he has spent most of his time on the European Tour, winning the Lyoness Open in 2016 and the KLM Open two years later, when he became the first Chinese golfer to win three times on the European Tour. He has struggled of late but has recently shown some signs of the form that took him to these victories.
And then there is the enigma that is Alexander Levy, a man with more European Tour wins than any Frenchman other than Thomas Levet. He won the French Amateur Championship in 2009, and the French International Amateur Championship the next year. Turning pro in 2011, his first wins of the European Tour came in 2014 at the China Open and Portugal Masters. He also won the 2016 European Open and took the China Open again in 12017.
And when he also claimed the Trophy Hassan II in 2018 he rose to 47th in the world rankings and seemingly had the world at his feet. But like so many before him, he decided to tinker with a swing and a technique that had brought him tremendous success, and that is when the wheels started to come off. He was devastated not to make the 2018 European Ryder Cup team, played at Le Golf National, near Paris. Levy was desperate to perform in front of a home crowd in European colours.
He has now decided to go back to the technique that served him so well in the past. He is still waiting for it all to click into place again, but he is far too talented not to win again.
It will also be fascinating to see how Kieffer fares. He came from nowhere to lose the Austrian Open in a playoff after dumping three balls in the water, and proved he had dismissed that disappointment by finished runner-up to Higgo the following week.
Andy Sullivan. Course is made for him
Garrick Higgo. On the crest of a wave
Renato Paratore. Overdue
Andy Sullivan. Mercurial
Garrick Higgo. Fabulous talent
Renato Paratore. Refreshing approach to the game
Martin Kaymer,. Still searching
Romain Langasque. Vastly underrated
Ashun Wu. Showing signs of his best
Alexander Levy,. Too good to keep on struggling
Justin Harding. Terrific ball striker
Eddie Pepperell. Looking for a big week
Maximilian Kieffer. In sensational form
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