Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour’s ISPS Handa World Invitational taking place at the Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Clubs in Northern Ireland.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
ISPS Handa World Invitational
Galgorm Castle Golf Club and Massereene Golf Club, Northern Ireland
DP World Tour struggles laid bare this week
This is exactly the sort of event that is struggling for relevance on the golfing calendar. Keith Pelley and his cohorts can’t be faulted in their efforts to reinvigorate the European Tour.
But they are still struggling to attract the elite European talent (a point obviously exacerbated this week by the start of the FedEx Cup Playoff). The ISPS Handa Invitational was only elevated to full DP World Tour status last year.
It started life as a Challenge Tour event in 2013 and was previously known as the Northern Ireland Open. This year’s event is a mixed event that is co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour.
The men and women play the same courses at the same time. However, it is different from the Scandinavian Mixed in that the men’s and women events are totally separate entities.
Galgorm and Massereene Golf Clubs
This year’s event will be played over two courses: Galgorm Castle Golf Club and Massereene Golf Club. The players will alternate between the courses for the first two days before playing Galgorm on the weekend.
It’s hard to extrapolate too much from the statistical analysis as the Challenge Tour doesn’t keep stats. But you can still make some pretty strong inferences in regards to Galgorm.
It hosted the 2020 Irish Open won by John Catlin. The American puts much more emphasis on accuracy than power. And I think those will be the players to watch around Galgorm.
The heavily tree-lined course has some juicy rough and water is in play on over half the holes. Players simply need to be in the fairway. Massereene is a bit of a mystery though their website states that ‘the narrow fairways and small greens place a priority on accuracy rather than distance’.
So, it would seem that it is pretty similar to Galgorm. Keep the ball in the fairway and bring your short-game to the party.
It’s quite a sad indictment of the quality of this field that the man heading the markets- Jordan Smith- actually missed the cut last week. To be fair, Smith has been ultra-consistent of late and he does possess some sturdy course form.
John Catlin’s form has dipped somewhat in recent weeks and he should relish returning to the scene of his brilliant 2020 Irish Open triumph. David Law and Richard Mansell have been playing some quality golf of late and I wouldn’t discount veteran ball-striker Richard Bland.
Past Winners of Northern Irish Open and Handa Invitational
2021: Daniel Gavins (-13)
2020: Tyler Koivisto (-13)
2019: Jack Senior (-11)
2018: Calum Hill (-19)
2017: Robin Sciot-Siegrist (-3)
2020 Irish Open hosted at Galgorm
Winner: John Catlin (-10)
To Win Outright:
Jordan Smith 10/1 | John Catlin 18/1 | Ewen Ferguson 22/1 | Santiago Tarrio 22/1 | Johannes Veerman 22/1
Santiago Tarrio- To Win 22/1 | To Place 48/10
Could this be the week that Santiago Tarrio picks up his maiden DP World Tour title? He just looks like he has a nice combination of current and course form. He finished T11 last time out at Hillside. He finished inside the top 10 here in 2020 and he was 15th last year. Just take a look at the line-up this week. This event is practically screaming breakthrough victory for me. I think Tarrio will possibly never have a better chance to claim his debut title.
Marcus Kinhult- To Win 30/1 | To Place 13/2
Kinhult arrives this week off the back of his joint-best finish of the year (a third place at the Cazoo Classic three weeks back). That performance broke a sequence of truly dreadful form for Kinhult (he has missed six of his previous eight cuts). But the Swede is a streaky player who tends to play well in bursts. At the start of the season, he finished eighth in Kenya and third in Qatar in successive weeks. I think it’s fair to say that the 2019 British Masters champ hasn’t really lived up to his potential as a pro. But I think he has the game to really contest in this fairly limited field.
The Man to Beat- John Catlin- To Win 18/1 | To Place 22/10
You just have to play 2020 Irish Open champ John Catlin at this price. This course is almost tailormade for the accurate American. He is currently the fifth straightest hitter on the DP World Tour and that’s a massive plus this week. Sure, he missed the cut at both the Scottish Open and Open Championship. But you really can’t compare the fields of those events to this. Before those missed cuts he was fourth at the Irish Open. He also finished seventh in this event last year. He is absolutely the closest thing in the field to a Galgorm specialist and 18/1.