Lahinch takes centre stage this week for the first of a trio of 'Open' events that culminates at magnificent Portrush in a few weeks time. It will be a fascinating few weeks and as far as the Europeans go we will get a lot of evidence as to how many of them are playing heading into the final major. A new course for the Irish Open so we have little to go on other than previous links form and a general idea that those who contend at this tournament usually rank high on the Greens In Regulation statistic.
Former winner Jon Rahm heads a slightly underwhelming field given Rory McIlroy's absence from tournament host duties. Nevertheless the Irish turn out in their droves for events like these and there are plenty of stars to keep the masses interested. Rahm coped admirably with the test in Spain last week and it is noted that he can adapt his game to courses that don't suit his style. He has every chance this week of improving on last weeks effort but he wilted somewhat disappointingly towards the end at Valderrama and that's enough to make me avoid backing at the 8/1 mark. Fleetwood, Wallace and Oosthuizen are all lively runners and of those I'd probably choose Wallace whose appetite for winning has not diminished and he will no doubt be giving 100% once again. Another win can not be far away and the 16/1 on offer is fair enough.
Eddie Pepperell hasn't teed it up since the PGA Championship in May but previous to that he finished 2nd at the British Masters and appears to be slightly overpriced this week. Like Quiros (to follow) he is one who has the Qatar form having won there in 2018. The win at Walton Heath was more evidence as to how he likes this type of test. At the Scottish he has a runner up and 4th placed finish. He was a beaten in a playoff at Royal County Down in 2015. Another top 5 in Qatar and a 6th at last years Open at Carnoustie and this spells out some of the best links form you can hope for heading into these three weeks. It could be a risk given he is arriving here after a fair enough lay off but I'd have him no bigger than 25/1.
2u - E.Pepperell To Win @+5000
2u - E.Pepperell To Finish Top 10 @+550
I was surprised to see three figure quotes about Alvaro Quiros this week. He is a roller coaster type golfer who isn't easy to support at any time but he is in the throws of some of his best form for many years. Indeed he has climbed over 130 places in the world rankings in his last three appearances with a top 20 in Denmark followed by 3rd at the BMW and a runner up spot last week at Valderrama. Quiros achieved a lot in his 'pomp' so to speak in or around the 2010 mark and success has been thin on the ground since apart from a sole victory in Sicily. That Rocco Forte form is important this week as it is by the sea and often exposed to wind and natural links players have gone well there. Similarly his win and two runner up finishes in Qatar are synonymous with fine links players. There are a lot of positives to his name this week and 3 figures screams a chunky enough each-way wager.
2u - A.Quiros To Win @+12500
2u - A.Quiros To Finish Top 10 @+1100
Bernd Wiesberger has turned another corner and I see no reason why not to expect another solid performance this week in Lahinch. At his peak he was easily a top 50 in the world golfer and he could be heading back that way if his recent form continues. A win in Denmark was backed up with a made cut at Pebble Beach then another top 20 last time out at the BMW. He shows no signs of slowing down quickly and given he has a runner up spot at Royal County Down to his name and a top 3 finish in Qatar I think the 50/1 has be included in our staking plan.
1u - B.Wiesberger To Win @+5000
1u - B.Wiesberger To Finish Top 10 @+550
Thomas Detry has been frustrating to follow for many over the past year or so but with four top 20s in his last six starts he may not be far away from competing at the business end of a big event. Two solid rounds of 68 on Thursday and Friday last week were as good as they come around a track like Valderrama and a top 10 around a track that wouldn't necessarily can be seen as a big positive. Nobody could live with Bezuidenhout last week but Detry was only two shots off Rahm's total in second spot. Finished 11th in Qatar earlier in the year that always translates to links tracks and the 80/1 looks worthy of a few shillings each way. Knox, Harding, MacIntyre and Herbert were the next four on my list who didn't quite make the grade.
0.75u - T.Detry To Win @+8000
0.75u - T.Detry To Finish Top 10 @+750
Erik Van Rooyen can look back at this event twelve months ago and although tinged with disappointment can look to it as a steep learning curve. He took a four shot lead heading into the final day at Ballyliffin and a level par round would have been enough to get into the playoff. Instead he stumbled to a 2 over 74 and more question marks were bestowed upon him about his inability to get over the line. Some question marks still lie obviously but he has become a much better golfer since and has climbed over 70 spots in the world rankings. A top 10 in the PGA was a spectacular result for the South African and he backed it up with a top 20 in Canada a few weeks later. Second in Qatar this year is another positive and shows how much he has been knocking on the door given that another runner up finish came in Morocco. It won't be long surely and his form both sides of the Atlantic is holding up and it'd be no surprise if he sheds the maiden tag over the next few weeks.
1.5u - E.Van Rooyen To Win @+3300
1.5u - E.Van Rooyen To Finish Top 10 @+400