After the thrills, spills and ultimate disappointment of the Ryder Cup, you could be forgiven for thinking that golf’s close season is something of a comedown after a brilliant three days in Minnesota.
We’re happy to set you straight though in the knowledge that this week’s European Tour event is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which is a favourite with players and spectators alike. And punters, knowing that 200/1 shot Thorbjorn Olesen is the reigning champion, have plenty to sink their teeth into as well.
Surprisingly, a number of the European Ryder Cup team are in the field this week, and it will be interesting to see how they get over the physical and emotional exhaustion of an emotional rollercoaster of an event and dealing with the jet-lag from flying back from America to Scotland. With just two days to prepare, we’re happy to give these guys a swerve in our Alfred Dunhill Links betting tips, even though the likes of Thomas Pieters, Martin Kaymer and Rafa Cabrera-Bello would all enter our thinking on a ‘normal’ week.
Instead, we’ll look elsewhere for our selections.
That should read *courses* actually, as the Alfred Dunhill Links is a unique tournament played across three different set-ups: the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. The players play these on rotation across the first three days, the cut is then made with the final round on Sunday played at St Andrews.
The latter is a classic Par 72 playing 7,279 yards that is commonly affected by strong winds – especially at this time of year. It’s a low scoring track if conditions suit, but wind players are well suited to the set-up here.
Carnoustie is a slightly longer Par 72 at 7,412 yards, and is riddled with its famous pot bunkers that can lead to the downfall of any good man. It is the toughest of the three courses on rotation in this event.
Kingsbarns is perhaps the easiest of the trio, with Brandon Grace scorching a round of -12 here in his 2012 champion year. Making hay here will be key in the eventual winner’s portfolio.
Typically we take an analytical view with our golf betting tips, driving down into the data to find ideal picks for each tournament based on current form, course type and the player’s unique make-up.
But the theme here is slightly different, and instead we’re going to opt for proven Links players with a touch of form behind them. The conditions, the wind, the course management….Links golf is such a unique environment that some players excel here and others don’t; as evidenced by ‘repeat form’ in these kinds of test.
Alex Noren (22/1)
Returning to the scene of his best performances this term, few play these Links set-ups quite like Noren, who must have been pretty peeved to miss out on Ryder Cup selection after winning two tournaments in the past three months. With much of the European squad in the field here and captain Darren Clarke, the Swede will have his chance to prove them wrong.
Noren won the Scottish Open earlier this year and finished second in the Paul Lawrie Matchplay – both played on Links tracks, and he also has top ten finishes at the French Open 2016 and the BMW Championship in 2015 (both ‘Linksy’ in feel) under his belt.
We always like backing proven winners, especially at these short prices, and with six titles to his name Noren is a man we can trust if he gets into contention.
Tyrrell Hatton (60/1)
What a breakthrough season it has been for Hatton: back-to-back top tens in majors, including fifth at The Open played at the Links-style Royal Troon, and six top-10 finishes in all. He just needs to capture that maiden tour title to put the cherry on the cake.
A dip in form since has been alleviated by a couple of weeks off, and if Hatton comes to Scotland fit and refreshed then this Links fan – who has five relevant top-15 finishes to his name in the past 18 months in these kinds of conditions – could well sign off his season in glorious fashion.
Matthew Southgate (150/1)
What a glorious return it has been for Matt Southgate this season following treatment for testicular cancer; the emotion he showed after finishing fourth at the Irish Open – and thus booking his spot at The Open – has to be one of the finest moments of the campaign.
The Englishman hasn’t rested on his laurels though, and brings to the table a 122th place finish at Royal Troon and an eleventh at the French Open as well. The boy can really play, and he clearly likes it wind. A seventh last time out at the European Form shows form at just the right time, too.