Monday, 8 July 2013

Scottish Open 2013 - Castle Stuart, Inverness

For the third year running, the Scottish Open will be staged at Castle Stuart GC in Inverness. It's a new course, but quite a stunning course as can be seen by this video flyover, and will give many of the players playing this week an opportunity to hone their links skills before heading to Muirfield the week after for The Open. As reported on the European Tour website it is also seeking a hat-trick of a different kind as the winner of the last 2 Opens competed in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart the week before. Phil Mickelson will once again compete in the Scottish Open and could be worth a nibble at 20/1 but I'm inclined to back someone who might just want to win without the fear of jinxing his chances the week after. Scoring has been very low the past 2 years, with softish conditions, but the recent weather may provide us with a faster track and despite generous fairways scoring may not be as easy. That taken into account, the course will reward accurate shotmakers and those that can make birdies.

I put up Francesco Molinari to win in Ireland a couple of weeks back and then chose to watch how he fared in Paris. He did "OK" but his 3rd round, 67 did catch my eye and despite a closing 73 finished with a TOP 20 on what is widely accepted as a tough course. Castle Stuart will suit "Frani" this week and is one of those players simmering before a decent week. I was pleasantly surprised to see 33/1 available for the Italian who was beaten by Jeev Milka Singh in a playoff last year. He is gradually returning to form and I'm quite happy to back him to go one better than last year at that price.

My second pick is homeboy, Stephen Gallacher,who obliged for this blog back in January in winning the Dubai Desert Classic. With John Daly to undergo surgery on his elbow, the Scot claimed his place at The Open this morning (Monday) at his expense,and that should put him in a more relaxed mood for this week. Tied 8th last week in France, Gallacher is becoming increasingly consistent and the former Alfred Dunhill Links winner will be right at home on this course where he finished T24th last year. He also finished 5th & 6th in his 2 starts in Scotland last year so clearly likes playing his homeland and he's on the betting slip this time round at a lovely 66/1 with , who along with most bookies are paying 6 places this week.

My third pick is Thorbjorn Olesen @ 66/1 also with . The Dane had a horrible front 9 at Le Golf Nacional last week but he tried hard to get back into it and was going great guns in rd 2 before the bogeys arrived leaving him with a 70 and no chance of making the cut. He hasn't made a cut since the Masters but as I pointed out last week, I'm happy to ignore this stat as he is the type of player to find his game any given week. He's well rested and will be smarting after the 78 last Thursday and he should take heart from GMac's win off the back of 3 straight missed cuts. He is a top player, will bounce back, and knows how to score on this course having thrown in a 65 last year. He too, like Gallacher, has Scottish & links form with a runners up placing at the Alfred Dunhill Links last year to go along with his TOP 15 at Gleneagles, his T9th at Royal Lytham and his T8th at Portrush. I won't "dump" him just yet.

I had considered Simon Dyson this week on the back of a very strong performance last week and decent returns here the past 2 years but am not totally convinced he has found form to make a bunch of birdies at Castle Stuart. I have decided instead to opt for Robert Rock @ 125/1 with Boylesports. H missd the cut last year but finished T31st in the reduced to 54 holes event the previous years where he shot 65, 66 in his final 2 rounds. He was 2nd to Paul Casey in Ireland 2 weeks ago so his game is in good shape and is my outside bet this week. Needs a big result to make the field for Muirfield.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w F.Molinari @ 33/1 Betpack

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w S.Gallacher @ 66/1

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w T.Olesen @ 66/1

TIP 4: 0.5 pts e/w R.Rock @ 125/1 Boylesports