The Scottish Open | Thursday 09 July - Sunday 12 July | Gullane Golf Club
With the Open just around the corner a host of big names from the PGA Tour have made the trip to Europe this week for the Scottish Open and with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler participating, this promises to be a hotly contested affair. This installment of the tournament will be hosted at Gullane Golf Club for the first time in its history and from a punting perspective this is a bit of a disappointment as there’s not much information available regarding the course. What we do know is that it is a typical Scottish links layout and will be playing difficult. Measuring 7,100 yards, the course is exposed to the elements and if the wind gets up the field will find it difficult to avoid the fescue that can be found just off the fairway. Although the fairways are said to be generous don’t let that fool you, hitting them will be easier said than done. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the course will be the greens which are said to be incredibly tough to read and very quick. Finally, don’t forget to have a look at players who are good out of the bunkers as on this course they’ll be unavoidable.
To Win Outright
Justin Rose 11/1
Phil Mickelson 16/1
Rickie Fowler 18/1
Branden Grace 25/1
Shane Lowry 25/1
Thongchai Jaidee (33/1 a win, 72/10 a place)
A few weeks ago I mentioned that it was inevitable that Jaidee would win a tournament soon and for just a moment it looked like that prophecy would be fulfilled last weekend. Unfortunately, an average final round put paid to that chance but given the way he played for the first three days, I cannot ignore him this week. He showed then that he’s one of the most consistent strikers of the ball on the European Tour and although he lacks those flashes of brilliance that could set him apart, he could be among the leaders and give himself a chance come Sunday. A runner-up finish at the BMW Championship shows he has what it takes to beat the best, this week I’m hoping for more of the same. Each way is the bet for me.
Tommy Fleetwood (45/1 a win, 99/10 a place)
As his career progresses Fleetwood is making a bit of a name for himself as a links specialist and this week he’ll be looking forward to playing on a layout that should suit his game perfectly. Although he hasn’t shot the lights out so far this season he is going from strength to strength and I reckon over the second half of the year he’ll be one to keep an eye on. Three Top 10s in nine starts can’t be ignored, although he does face a stiffer test against players of this calibre. I reckon he has what it takes though and again each way is the bet for me.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello (35/1 a win, 77/10 a place)
There aren’t many players out there who can boast that they’ve experienced a run of form like Cabrera-Bello is in at the moment and I’m going to strike while the iron is hot and back him to go close again in Scotland. Sure, there are concerns that he lacks that killer instinct and lets things fall apart on Sundays but after watching him shoot a back-nine 29 in France last week I reckon he’s past that now. Sure, he started off terribly and carded more double and triple bogeys than I’ve seen in a long time but the fact that he managed to turn that around shows he has the mental game to compete at the highest level. Each way is the bet for me.
Branden Grace (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
Branden Grace did South Africans proud in the US Open and after his third round we dared to dream that we would have another Major winner. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be but although he didn’t win he did end up in a respectable fourth-place against the best in the world. With the Open just around the corner he’ll be thinking that he can improve on that finish and what better way to get his Major preparation under way than on a tough links course. Grace is another player who has earned a reputation as a bit of a specialist over the years, let’s see if that is justified this week.