The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2017 Preview

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Betting Preview The European Tour heads for Ireland this week for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. 

The Portstewart Golf Club plays host to the nomadic Dubai Duty Free Irish Open this week, as hosted by Tiger Woods’ successor to the crown of world’s biggest drawcard in the sport: Rory McIlroy. McIlroy’s 5 wood into the heart of the 18th green at the K Club last season was one of the most indelible moments of the European calendar. One has to say, this week’s lineup in Northern Ireland bears testament to the amount of work that Rory has done in elevating the status of the tournament. This week’s roster has the beating of the PGA Tour lineup for the week and could be the strongest field thus far this season.

Hideki Matsuyama’s presence adds a certain frisson to proceedings. The world number two’s participation indicates the extent to which the European tour still has the capacity to lure some of the top players from America.

Rory himself, as host, will be hoping to do something he has never done before - defend a tournament. It won’t be easy for Rory though. Regardless of the depth of the tournament this season, Rory has traditionally fared better on tree-lined, parkland-style courses. His victory over Russell Knox last season at the K Club was perfectly emblematic of that. More traditional tree-lined courses in coastal areas seem to take him outside of his comfort zone.

Even his victory at Hoylake in the Open Championship was greatly aided by wet conditions that essentially suited his power game. The tour has been smart this year in having two links-style events in the lead-up to Birkdale. Perhaps that’s another reason why we are seeing the likes of Matsuyama and Rahm teeing it up this week. Current golden kid of European golf Tommy Fleetwood will be aiming to build on his success last week while the likes of Justin Rose and Thomas Pieters make this a far sexier event than in recent years.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open | Thursday 6 July- Sunday 9 July 2017 | The Strands Course Portstewart Golf Club

Past Winners
2016: Rory McIlroy (-12) | 2015: Soren Kjeldsen (-2) | 2014: Mikko Ilonen (-13) | 2013: Paul Casey (-14) | 2012: Jamie Donaldson (-18)

To Win Outright
Rory McIlroy 6/1 | Hideki Matsuyama 9/1 | Justin Rose 16/1 | Jon Rahm 16/1 | Tommy Fleetwood 16/1

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Value Bets

Tyrell Hatton - To Win 30/1 & To Place 13/2
After an electrifying start to the season stateside, Hatton has cooled somewhat and thus could represent great value this week: especially considering his brilliant links form. A previous winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links, he was second in the Scottish Open last season before finishing fifth in the Irish Open. He also went on to finish fifth in the Open Championship in the wake of a magnificent Links season. He has actually had successive top 5 finishes in this event and should represent good value following successive missed cuts.

Thorbjorn Olesen - To Win 35/1 & To Place 15/2
Strangely enough, Danish players seem to have a remarkable record at this event. Over the course of the last 15 years, Thomas Bjorn, Soren Kjeldsen and Anders Hansen have all won this event. Perhaps it’s connected to weather conditions. In any event, Olesen’s recent form reads 8-31-MC-4-34-3. He is thus in rather good form, and he just so happens to be a terrific exponent of the dark art that is links golf. He is a former winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links and looks an ultra-valuable choice to contend for his fifth European Tour title this week, particularly with three top 20’s in his last four Irish Opens.

Jamie Donaldson - To Win 80/1 & To Place 17/1 
Well, it never quite materialised for the former Ryder Cupper last week, the roughly hewn Welshman has still been on an upward trajectory of form. He had a tie for 14th in Germany before a tie for seventh at the Nordea Masters. He was the winner in Portrush in the 2012 edition of this event and finished in a tie for 10th at the K Club last year. Donaldson has shown an application for links-style courses and is heading into that time of the year that rewards the patient who attempt to minimise error.

The Man to Beat

Thomas Pieters - To Win 25/1 & To Place 11/2
This is one of those ones that just seems destined to happen. Rory represents pretty bad value near the upper echelons of the market, while you expect that the likes of Rahm and Matsuyama will be using this weekend as an acclimatisation session in preparation for the Open. Pieters may have missed the cut in the Irish Open in the past two seasons, but his potential has been fully on display this year. He finished in a tie for 13th in France last week after a poor final round. He finished in a tie for 14th at the flagship BMW PGA. He also finished in a tie for fourth at the Masters. He looks like the supreme value in the upper crust.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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