Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for the Scottish Championship at Fairmont St. Andrews.
Scottish Championship Winner
- Golf expert Niall Lyons has four tips for the Scottish Championship, including a 14/1 headline selection.
- The Scottish Championship will take place at The Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews, between Thursday 15th and Sunday 18th October.
- The first group tees off at 08:00 BST on Thursday 15th October.
A new venue for the tour this week as we head back to Scotland and the Torrance Course in Fife. A handful of Seniors events have been played here but overall we don't know an awful lot about the track. It masquerades as a links track and has exposed areas that would cause havoc in the weather we saw a couple of weeks ago, but as of now the forecast looks favourable. Despite the decent weather, we'll look to those who specialise in this kind of test as seaside golf is certainly an acquired taste for some and we've seen the same names crop up time and time again when looking at events like these.
Eddie Pepperell to win at 14/1
Eddie Pepperell topped the strokes gained approach stat last week and that married with how he finished off in Scotland the week before. He is a difficult character to predict, however he has looked mighty focused and level headed the past two weeks and must quietly fancy his chances in a much weakened field this week in Scotland. The Peppmeister General has rocketed back into the top 100 in the world courtesy of two top ten finishes in the last two weeks, both being Rolex events. He should relish this drop down in grade and fancy his chances against the market principles who don't have the same pedigree on these tracks. A win at the British Masters is backed up with a win in Qatar, heavily linked to good links players. Runner up finishes at both the Scottish and Irish Opens added to his credentials means Eddie is the most likely winner in the field this week and should be jolly. Backing Pep is like a box of chocolates, but surely this week we can be assured of what we're going to get.
3.5pts WIN E. Pepperell 14/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat at 60/1 (7 places)
I think Eddie should be favourite in this field and the most likely winner, but the award for the most attractive bet of the week goes to Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The swashbuckling Thai has spent most of the last couple of years playing in the States and this represents a distinct drop in grade. When you consider the likes of Matthew Jordan and Paratore are around 5th or 6th in the betting here with the Barnrat almost three times their price, it doesn't quite add up. He ranked inside the top 30 in Scrambling last week and also in the same bracket in the putting stats so should fare well if he continues in that manner. He hadn't hit a barn door lately across the water but returned with a top 40 finish at a tough Wentworth last week. He won the Paul Lawrie Matchplay event in 2015 at Murcar Links and held every chance when leading the Dunhill Links the same year only to play his final 7 holes in two over par. Certainly represents the biggest chunk of value in the field for me as I'd make him closer to half that price.
2.5pts each-way K. Aphibarnrat 60/1 (1/5 7 places)
Clement Sordet at 60/1 (7 places)
Clement Sordet went agonisingly close for us in the 2019 Oman Open tragically three putting the last when in pole position. He followed that up with another top 10 the following year at the seaside track there. Overall conditions there, although a lot warmer over the past few years than what they'll face this week, are quite similar. A light breeze most of the four days is what they'll face here. A win and top 6 finish at Galgorm coupled with two top 20s at the British Masters show us the Frenchman is relatively comfortable on this terrain. Two top 30 finishes in Wales and Ballymena tell us his game is in decent shape and the flair he has shown in Oman the past couple of years should give him some confidence heading to Fife.
1.5pts each-way C. Sordet 60/1 (1/5 7 places)
Calum Hill at 66/1 (6 places)
Homegrown players have a great record in these UK events over the past year or two and when it comes to the colder climate of October they seem to fair even better. With Pepperell already backed I'll look to add at least one other homegrown player, and Calum Hill tops my list at the prices. He hasn't quite kicked on as quickly as many hoped he would, but he remains a special talent who will surely go places over the next couple of years on the European Tour. He had it going a month or two back when posting back to back top tens in the Wales Open and UK Championship. Venturing outside the UK upset his equilibrium maybe but two respectable efforts since has steadied the ship. He finished down the field in Scotland last time out but topped the strokes gained off the tee stats for the week. A powerful sort who could make hay this week with his long game, despite the fairways being fairly generous.
1pt each-way C. Hill 66/1 (1/5 6 places)