Get the latest news and views ahead of the tournament in Scotland
RORY McILROY headlines a relatively strong field as the European Tour heads to Scotland for the Alfred Dunhill Links.
The tournament itself is always a special one for two reasons. Firstly, the four days will be played over three courses. All players will play one round at each of St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns before the top 60 head back to St Andrews for a Sunday shootout.
Secondly, it will be a Pro-Am format where celebrities and amateurs alike pair up with the professionals to fight it out for a separate trophy.
From Luis Figo to Wladimir Klitschko, Sir Steve Redgrave to Ronan Keating – there will be no shortage of selfie opportunities.
⛳ European Tour Tips ⛳
- Shane Lowry 20/1: “The Irishman is one of the best in the game” (add to your betslip)
- Martin Kaymer 40/1: “He comes to Scotland in fine form” (add to your betslip)
- Marc Warren 66/1: “He has jumped over 200 places in the World Rankings” (add to your betslip)
- Ryan Fox 66/1: “Ryan’s long game should allow him to take advantage of the wide links fairways” (add to your betslip)
- Joakim Lagergren 80/1: “He ranked inside the top ten in putting stats” (add to your betslip)
- Matteo Manassero 200/1: “Solid performances in the last two weeks have shown us enough to make him our outside tip” (add to your betslip)
All three tracks are links, as the tournament name suggests. This means the links specialists out there will have an advantage with their vast array of shots and immense patience. The weather is likely to play a factor this week which only benefits these guys more.
Although tournament form is useful to look at, the key to this week is coming in playing well. Teeing it up on three different courses will allow little time for rhythm or intricate course management. Players will need to be finding greens regularly and holing plenty of putts, especially with easier pin positioning for the amateurs.
We expect the score to be another low one with Tyrrell Hatton winning last season’s edition at a score of -23. Not since 2008 has the title been won with a score less than -17.
The Irishman is one of the best in the game when it comes to links golf. Lowry has made this event a permanent fixture in his calendar for that exact reason. Unsurprisingly, he’s not finished outside the top 20 in the last four years here. He has a best of 3rd in 2013.
With Rory McIlroy battling injury and Tyrell Hatton facing the pressures of being reigning champion, Lowry is the standout at the top of the betting market. Importantly, he comes to Scotland in fine form after finishing 7th at the British Masters. He ranked 1st for the week in GIR and ranked similarly in Portugal. If the putts start dropping Shane Lowry will go close.
Having had a quiet few months, the double-major winner registered a T20 last week at the British Masters where he ranked level first in GIR. As a former Alfred Dunhill champion, this makes for good reading.
His links experience speaks for itself with three top 12 finishes in the Open and four top seven finishes at this event. A no-brainer this week given his love for the tournament.
Warren earned his stripes with us a couple of weeks ago as we backed him at 150/1 on his way to a runner-up finish in Portugal. He followed that up with a T15 finish at the weekend meaning he has jumped over 200 places in the World Rankings.
The Scot has two top five finishes at the Alfred Dunhill which rank has two of the best finishes of his career. He will be no stranger to links golf and crucially tee-to-green he’s playing as good as ever.
Warren ranked 19th in England and 4th in Portugal in the GIR column.
A rather instinctive pick but Fox has all the ingredients in his locker to go low this week. Ryan’s long game should allow him to take advantage of the wide links fairways.
The last time we saw the Kiwi in Scotland he finished T4 at the national Open which followed a T4 at the Irish Open.
Two events that will hold him in good stead for this week. These finishes allowed him to break into the world’s top 100.
He ranks 27th in scoring average for the season and is only surpassed by Rory McIlroy when it comes to distance off the tee. An exciting price if he can rekindle his Summer form.
In only two starts at the Alfred Dunhil, Lagergren has finished 4th both times. With form like that the Swede will become a tournament specialist before long.
Despite not contending in recent tournaments he will take plenty of confidence from his T9 at the KLM Open three weeks ago. He ranked inside the top 10 in putting stats which he will need to emulate in Scotland if he is to go close.
A couple of solid performances in the last two weeks have shown us enough to make him our outside tip of the week. He ranked 4th putts per round at the British Masters and was 4th in GIR in Portugal.
In both events he finished inside the top 35. A best of 17th in his previous starts here is enough to show he can get it done on all three courses.