After a highly successful week of tipping, our golf scribe will try and find some more winners at this week's Scottish Open.
It’s the penultimate week before my favourite major of the year and we’re gearing up with the Scottish Open. Much like Dustin Johnson, I find myself in the form of my life having gone back-to-back on the European Tour before falling agonisingly short with Scott Piercy over in the States last week. Confidence is high. What’s all this fuss about golf betting being hard?
The Scottish Open returns to Castle Stuart golf links which was the venue of the Open Championship curtain raiser from 2011 through 2013. It isn’t the hardest of links courses, as the low scores across those three editions will attest. Length and bunkers have been added to try spruce things up, but I have little doubt the winner will go low again this weekend.
Who that will be remains the biggest question. Henrik Stenson leads the betting courtesy of his triumph at the BMW International a fortnight ago, while Branden Grace will look to put his 2013 play-off defeat to Phil Mickelson behind him. Other notable names include Martin Kaymer, the aforementioned Mickelson and a bunch of Americans looking to acclimatise before next week’s Open.
AAM Scottish Open | Thursday 7 July - Sunday 10 July | Castle Stuart Golf Links
2015 Rickie Fowler -12 | 2014 Justin Rose -16 | 2013 Phil Mickelson -17 (playoff) | 2012 Jeev Milkha Singh -17 (playoff) | 2011 Luke Donald -19
To Win Outright
Henrik Stenson 10/1 | Branden Grace 12/1 | Martin Kaymer 18/1 | Phil Mickelson 20/1 | Shane Lowry 20/1 | Patrick Reed 28/1
By The Numbers
8 – The number of major champions in the field. Esteemed.
5 – Five of the last six British Open winners have played in the Scottish Open. Foresight.
Matthew Southgate (200/1 Win & 44/1 Place)
It may be easy to get carried away with Southgate’s remarkable back story, but this betting column is not the place. Instead, we’ll focus on his golf, and that has been pretty damn decent of late. Following a great showing at the Irish Open where he finished fourth, Southgate has finished 19th in Austria, 11th in France and qualified for the Open Championship. He finished down in 57th on his only visit here in 2013, but that doesn’t quite tell the full story. He was in fact, one shot off the lead after two rounds before imploding over the weekend. He is a known lover of links golf and, at 200/1, he is well worth a punt.
Lucas Bjerregaard (175/1 Win & 38/1 Place)
Bjerregaard is a player who loves to play aggressive golf and fire at flags. The layout at Castle Stuart should play to those strengths, where distance is favoured over accuracy. The big hitting Dane was as low as 28/1 for the Lyoness Open three weeks ago, but a missed cut there and at the BMW International has seen his odds blowout once again. A 66 in the first round of the Open de France last week has me believing he can recapture some of his early season form this week. While I don’t expect him to claim the title, a place bet at 38/1 won’t go amiss.
Marc Warren (125/1 Win & 28/1 Place)
Could 2016 finally be the year when Marc Warren claims his national title? The Glaswegian has finished third on three occasions, including last year’s edition at Gullane. A final round 64 wasn’t enough as he fell just short of Rickie Fowler. The golfing gods deserted him once again. He may be having a torrid time of things on the Tour of late, but he always lifts his game for this one. I’m confident he’ll make the cut here and with a slice of luck, we could be in for a big pay day.
Horse for the course
Raphael Jacquelin (100/1 Win & 22/1 Place)
Now normally I’d go for a previous winner or a player with shorter odds, but Jacquelin deserves a fair bit of respect on this layout. His record at Castle Stuart from three appearances reads 49-16-8, while he finished runner-up to Rickie Fowler last year, albeit on a different course. This week marks his 19th start at the Scottish Open, a history that includes five top ten finishes. He has two top tens in his last three starts – including a season-best fourth at the BMW International – and is primed for another good finish in Scotland. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.