Re-Cap From Last Week
So as your probably aware last weeks write up came to you from Hardelot in France whilst I was away looping for a friend at European Tour Qualifying School. Now unfortunately we didn't quiet get the job done, but we certainly gave it a great go to the end. Along the way I had so many memorable experiences. I got to see some amazing future talent, discovered lots to help my game, got to see a glimpse of the good and bad sides to life on tour and even got to share the flag and looping duties in the final round with the son of one of the greatest talents to have ever graced the game. Now, after all of that I couldn't be more determined to start smashing up courses again and get my own journey towards better golfing back on track but right now I have a few more contests to focus on until the end of the 2017 season and maybe a well deserved golfing break somewhere hot.
Anyway whilst I was away, I just about managed to get a write up out and I'm so pleased I found the time. Personally I had an ok week adding a little to the bank roll, but more importantly I loved seeing those shared tweets of Sunday sweats or better yet contests being taken down like one of our readers did last week.
Lets hope luck rides with us again, from me there's less or better yet no bullets to dodge and green screens are ever present.
Next up - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Personally I love this event, its great to see something a little different but without losing its ultra competitive nature. This week in Scotland we have a stela field gathering on 3 of the finest courses in the vicinity of one of and possibly the most iconic venues in the world, St. Andrews.
Not only do we have a monster field of 167 players competing but we have incredible talent spread right across the field. Gonna be a tough one narrowing down the picks and I'll probably regret not adding a few to the list.
There will be two events running side by side with all players partnered with an amateur.
The real test behind this event is being adaptable, as players will rotate between all 3 courses before returning back to the old course on Sunday, that is providing they make the cut through merit of their own score or an accumulation of theirs and their playing amateur partner.
St Andrews Old Course
The Old Course will feature twice and host the final days play. Steeped in grandure, glory and history this iconic venue doesn't need me to introduce it.
Nicknamed 'Car-Nasty' this beast of a links course in the wrong conditions can destroy players hopes, easily considered to be the tougher of the 3 and a level par score here is by no means a disaster especially if your players take advantage of the rare birdie opportunities on their trip around this track.
Players will be hoping conditions suit to be able to take advantage of this course, much easier than the other 2 and often coughs up very low scores. Although easier still not a complete push over. Players will be required to drive well, avoid the bunkering and hole putts to stay ahead or not lose ground.
What's Different this Week
* 3 courses in play (Carnoustie, KingsBarns and St. Andrews Old Course x2)
* Pro-Am Event with 2 competitions running side by side.
* Cut after round 3 (60 players and ties plus top 20 Pro-Am Teams)
* Huge field of 167 players including Rory and last years winner Hatton
Key Stats and Strategy
Absolutely anything could happen after all this is pure links there gonna be playing and spread across 3 courses for the first 3 days.
Trying to pin down what day you want your players to be playing what course is near on to impossible and needless to say unpredictable. Wind direction can change at a moments notice turning bogey holes into birdie holes and equally birdie holes into bogey holes. Having said that I might consider pivoting players based on what day their playing Carnoustie, that course with strong winds hurting the ball can be brutal and end up leaving your players with an uphill struggle to make the cut or with little chance of winning.
Course Fit and Previous Links History
Ball Flight Control and Ball Striking
Hot Putter and Impeccable Short Game
Rory McIlroy $12,500 - Looks like Rory's starting to find his game again. Placed 2nd last week with incredible weekend rounds of 64 and 63. Making 21 birdies for the week and only dropping 4 shots, Highest ranked player in the field, by far the most talented when hot and even with the crazy price could be a mistake not to have at least some ownership. Also has amazing form in this event, yet to pick up a win but has placed 2nd on 3 occasions and also had a 3rd and 8th in his 6 attempts.
$9,000 - $10,000
Shane Lowry $9,800 - Shane is sitting just outside the top 60 in the Race to Dubai so will be keen to have another solid performance and secure his spot in the Tour Champs. Fantastic links golfer with world class pedigree, amazing in the wind and a genius around the greens. Form in this event is also very impressive made 7 cuts in a row, only missed cut was in his first year. Not been outside top 20 in last 4 years and has had a best finish of 3rd here.
Tommy Fleetwood $9,600 - The form player of this event T5,T55,T5,T2,T13 and T15. One of the best players when looking at overall links form and if you believe in a little 'nappy factor' then all the more reason to throw him in your line ups.
Branden Grace $9,500 - Another player who plays well in tough conditions, world class talent and capable of shooting low if the conditions and tee times are in his favour. Holds the course record at Kingsbarns of 60. Has superb ball flight control, all round tidy game and from what I hear driving the ball well.
$8,000 - $9,000
George Coetzee $8,300 - Ive been rolling with George for a few weeks now, its served me well and I fully intend to continue. Driving the ball well and rolling in the putts. Has the length to score well on the par 5's and the ability to go on a good birdie blitz. Was a shame to see him fade away last Sunday but his form is very solid.. T15, T7 and T3 in last 3 efforts.
Thorbjorn Olesen $8,200 - Former winner of this event in 2015 and probably playing better golf now than he was then. Always a highly popular play so ownership will be high but maybe the perfect play for cash line ups.
Richie Ramsay $8,100 - Beware a Scotsman returning to home soil with form. Hasn't missed a cut since June and just been playing quality golf. Will be very keen to continue this impressive form in front of home support. Placed 8th last outing with all 4 rounds in the 60's. Links form earlier in the year was also exceptional. Cuts made in all 3 including the Open and even a 2nd place finish at the Irish Open
$7,000 - $8,000
Joakim Lagregen $8,000 - Has played this event twice and on both occasions placed 4th. Was a little unlucky o have missed the cut at the British Masters but hopefully this reduces his ownership. Prior to that looked impressive whilst playing the KLM where he placed 9th.
Lucas Bjerregaard $7,900 - Wow what sensational form coming into this event and a player I'm gonna continue to roll with. 1 win and 2 top 10's in his last 3 outings, he's also made the cut on all 6 of his last efforts
David Horsey $7,800 - Finished 9th and 11th in this event in the last two years, showing solid form since placing 2nd in Denmark making all 4 cuts and of his last 16 rounds, 13 of those rounds have been in the 60's.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat $7,600 - Has only had 1 experience of this event in 2015 where he placed 4th. His game looks very close leading into this event. Placed in T20 last week in the British masters and has played well recently in the KLM and European Masters
Graeme Storm $7,600 - Great form coming into this event, placing 3rd and 4th in his last 2 outings. Has plenty of experience playing this event with 12 attempts so far, only missed the cut on 3 occasions (last missed cut was 2011, made last 5)
Marc Warren $7,600 - Please excuse me for having 3 players at the same price but all 3 were impossible to ignore. With Marc its for prior history in this event. He has played this tournament 11 times so far and hasn't missed the cut on his last 6 attempts. During this period he has also picked up 5th place twice and one of those being last year.
Matthew Southgate $7,400 - If you looking for a true links player and someone that thrives on tough conditions on tough courses then Matts your man. Placed 2nd in the Irish Open and then followed that up with 6th in The Open at Royal Birkdale.
Austin Connelly $7,100 - Very well equipped to play links golf, made a name for himself and the Open and further impressed at the KLM where he finished 2nd. Missed the cut at Portugal so hoping this puts some off of him. Great short game, ideal game from the tee and should yet again impress on these 3 courses.
$7,000 or less
Florian Fritch $7,000 - Has only played this event twice but finished 7th last year and 19th in 2015. Will be coming into this event after 4 rounds in the 60's and an 4th place finish in the British Masters
Alexander Bjork $7,000 - Solid, Solid, Solid... what more do I need to say about Alex, all aspects of the game are simple and extremely effective. This is the main reason why he is a cut making machine and very adaptable player. Ideally suited to this format of play.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout $7,000 - Game will suit the test ahead and showing great form away from the European Tour. Will probably the lowest owned of my picks but I fancy him to place well and score well especially at Kingsbarns.
Scott Jamieson $6,500 - Starting to find his game yet again at the right time, still neds to do some work to get into the top 60 so a top ten finish could get him very close. With that incentive and a very strong adaptable game he should be a fairly safe and very low priced pick.
Connor Syme $6,500 - Turned professional only a few weeks back and I believe was ranked 6th in the amateur world rankings before turning pro, Played his first event as a pro 2 weeks ago in the Portugal masters where he impressed everyone with a debut T12 placing and all 4 rounds in the 60's. He is also very familiar with these courses and the majority of his golfing career as an amateur has been played on links courses so should have plenty of experience and feel comfortable on this style of layout.