The celebrity jaunt around St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie takes place this week.
The annual pilgrimage to some of the best links in the land takes place this week with three courses expected to take some battering from the great and the ghastly who play this game. A decent field of pros turn up to Scotland this week with a host of A,B and Z list celebrities in tow. Kim Kardashian's diary was full so unfortunately doesn't make the trip and we're left to ogle the likes of Bill Murray and Hugh Grant. St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnousite are the three courses where the players will try to post upwards of 20 under to have a chance of winning come Sunday evening.
The weather throughout these isles is reasonably fair for this time of year. For once it looks like we might avoid the rain and have a pleasant enough tournament. With perfect conditions expect the scores to be as low as usual. Whether any of the courses play a bit firmer due to a lack of recent rain is anyones guess but with all courses set up favourably I expect the usual totals. Personally I feel it's not an event to get too heavily involved with. I will be keeping stakes to a minimum as I usually do with this event. There are a number of selections worth supporting at tasty odds.
Many people will be turned off by Martin Kaymer's recent collapse when in the lead in Italy. I will not be though. You would be foolish to stroke this guy off your list and label him a 'choker'. He is most certainly not, he's a class operator with a few chinks in his armour. He has a win and 2nd placed finish posted at this event down the years and stands every chance of contending again. With the volatility of this event though I will be passing him up for smaller investments on bigger prices. Branden Grace has plenty of wins tucked away in his locker with this event being one of them. He has shown some serious major form this year and will also arrive in good nick. Once again though I'm not overly keen to get involved at odds of 18/1.
Our top selection is determined by the price. Max Kieffer
broke the record last week for consecutive cuts made on the tour and I was expecting his price to be closer to half that of the 80/1 on offer. He showed his likeness for Links golf when going close at this years Irish Open. He tends to play the tougher courses better and is maybe one for the tougher examination but I still can't pass up his price this week. Oliver Wilson landed a fairytale win here last year and it'd be fitting if the next champ was Kieffer who has worked hard on his game for top results. This years Nordea masters was played in some tough conditions where he posted a tied 3rd finish. There is definitely a lot to this lads game and he will land a win sooner or later. Stakes will be kept low mind you with this event. Surely one of the more value bets of the week.
Max Kieffer - 0.75pt e/w @ 80/1Lost 1.5pt
Alongside Kieffer as our top bet is Matt Fitzpatrick
. Fitzpatrick has not played this event before but with GB&Ire's superb record in this event it would be silly not to include him in our staking plan. I am even more convinced this lad is special after he finished one shot off the winning mark in Italy despite not playing his best golf all week. In his short career he has managed to post totals of 16 and 18 under in the easier events, and this may just be up his street. Plenty of birdies will be on offer and with pleasant conditions expected on courses he will know well he represents a decent chance. Nine top 25 finishes this term shows his consistency and quality among the best on the European tour. The price is nothing out of the ordinary although considering his form he shouldn't be too far away.
Matt Fitzpatrick - 0.75pt e/w @ 35/1Lost 1.5pt
is another participant in the homegrown field and represents value at 75/1. Good finishes this season posted in Ireland, Holland and France demonstrate Sullivan's ability to play these weathered courses quite well. He landed two events in South Africa at the start of the season and after a topsy turvy experience in the States is back home for one of the player's most favourite events of the year. Playing with amateurs may present problems for many but Sullivan is a joker and has a great attitude on the course. He doesn't overthink things and with all his recent experience now tucked away he may well be better equipped to tackle this event. Ranked 54th in the world there is only a handful of golfers ahead of him in this field. His price is definitely worth investing in.
Andy Sullivan - 0.5pt e/w @ 75/1Lost 1pt
I'll finish up with a risky selection in the rotund shape of Kiradech Aphibarnrat
. I say 'risky' as he has posted a lot of poor results recently. However he did win the Matchplay event at the Murcar links last month and he just be developing a taste for this type of golf. He is an attacking golfer and if he's on his game this week he could make plenty of birdies to contend. He won in Shenzhen in April also so the Thai maestro definitely has a game to contend regularly on tour. A number of missed cuts have been posted in the summer which is a slight worry, although at odds of 150/1 I'm more than prepared to risk a small amount. It is difficult to land this event. A 1000/1 poke walked away with the spoils last year, so stakes are relatively small.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat - 0.5pt e/w @ 150/1Placed 6.7pt