Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Scottish Open 2015 - Gullane Golf Club

We've been treated to some wonderful golf tournaments the past month featuring Europe's finest and following a very competitive Irish Open at Royal County Down, this week's Europeantour event heads to Gullane Golf Club for the first time for the Scottish Open for another instalment of links golf. Rickie Fowler is back following a decent effort in Ireland and he is joined by fellow Americans in, ever-present Phil Mickelson, Ryan Palmer, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein, Brooks Koepka, Brendan Steele, Ben Martin, Dan Berger, Cameron Tringale as well as former Open Champion, David Duval. They have competition though as defending champion Justin Rose heads the betting.

It looks as if we will have a stern test this week with the weather expected to throw in some wind and it should mean that our focus should concentrate on those that have links experience. There are many in the field that do and perhaps Ireland's Shane Lowry is the pick of the bunch along with South African, Branden Grace. The Irishman does offer me some value @ 33/1 this week and was one of the first down on the shortlist for this to follow on from his strong showing at Chambers Bay where he produced a TOP10. He finished down the field at RCD but hung in there despite putting for most of the second round with his wedge, (although Robert Streb seemed to fare much better last week than Shano). Lowry, of course, won the Irish Open at Baltray and is a well experienced links player and will always relish these events in pretty much the same vein as compatriots, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke, both former Open Champions. Shano will be rested following his TOP30 in Munich last time out and he can take confidence from his results the past three years at Royal Aberdeen and Castle Staurt where he finished 4-31-11. He'll be out for a bold showing the next two weeks before he takes up his temporary PGA Tour membership and he is bound to figure this week to keep recent form tipping along.

Pablo Larrazabal won in Munich, took last week off and returns to Scotland where he finished 11th last year and 16th in 2012.  He's 9/13 this season with 5 TOP20s which also included a TOP3 in Morocco.Pablo has a further two T10s in Morocco as well as  a handful of T10s in Holland at the Kennemer, not to mention solid efforts when winning at the Open de France and Abu Dhabi against quality fields. Those courses and Pablo's form indicate the Spaniard's fondness for links golf. We know what we get with Pablo, mercurial to say the least but he's a winner and if he gets into contention he'll fight it out to the end. He's also streaky, and he will be buoyed by his latest win following early season frustration. Perhaps he handed out too many shirts last season (promised to donate his playing shirts every time he missed the cut) or else it served as motivation, but Pablo cannot be ignored this week @ 76.00 or indeed 4.00 for TOP20.

Marc Warren @ 67.00 for the Scottish Open is another decent price for me.  He's been third in his home open twice the past three years! He was a decent TOP30 at Chambers Bay too yet he missed the cut at RCD. He's a three time winner on tour with those wins coming at the Scandanavian Masters at Barseback GC, the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles and the Made in Denmark at Himmerland. Warren thrives on links and seems to play well on home soil. From his ten starts this season he's posted five TOP20's and the 3.75 for another here is worth taking. He commented on twitter this week that Gullane was "flawless", so let's hope he puts in performance to match the description.

Lastly, I tried to talk myself out of having an interest in Padraig Harrington here. Yes he missed the BMW PGA at Wentworth due to shoulder injury but he did show up on day one at RCD to lead. He again showed up on day one at the recent Travelers Championship with a 66 before missing the cut, but the signs are there that he can still go low and can add to his European Tour win tally of 14 soon. Double Open Champion, Harrington used to play the Irish PGA prior to the Open to fine tune his game so he'll be approaching this week in very much the same way as Phil Mickelson will.  125/1 e/w is tempting as is the 6.00 for TOP20. I'm also interested in the 100/1 e/w First Round Leader (FRL).

Staking Plan (11.25 pts)
1.0 pts e/w S. Lowry @ 33/1
.50 pts win P. Larrazabal @ 76.00
.50 pts win M.Warren @ 67.00
.25 pts win P.Harrington @ 126.00
.50 pts e/w FRL P.Harrington @ 100/1

TOP20
3 pts TOP20 P. Larrazabal @ 4.00
2 pts TOP20 M.Warren @ 3.75
2 pts TOP20 P.Harrington @ 6.00