Once again my apologies for the late release of this write up, as you may know I was a little busy caddying at Royal Cinque Ports in Final Open Qualifying. Unfortunately we didn't pick up one of the 3 spots but gave it a very good go, finishing above many big names and in the top quarter of the field. Regardless of the disappointment of missing out it was still an incredible journey and experience, hopefully next year I will be writing about my own journey on the road to the Open as a player
Anyway everything will be back to normal next week as I return to a little normality and a far less hectic schedule.
Re-Cap Open de France, Le Golf National
Personally I had a very nice return from my picks, loads of 6/6 LU's and some that contended for top spots
We also and more importantly had one of our readers take down almost every GPP contest, winning 6/7 gpp contests, he just missed out on the big return in the FORE but still placed a very healthy 4th.
As for the tournament itself, it was a complete success and showcased perfectly what's on offer for next years Ryder Cup.
Great to see Tommy pick up another win and on a course that had plagued him before. He spoke about how happy he is with everything both on and of the course, proving that the mental state of the player can be he difference in fine form and close to form. Something I always look out for and value highly when making selections
Next Up - The Irish Open
Were in for yet another big tournament. Hosted and defended by Rory, Part of the Rolex Series and consequently a large prize fund on offer. We also have the pleasure of an extremely strong field to enjoy and a chance to see how well some can take on a pure links layout.
Venue - Portstewart Golf Club, County Londendary, Northern Ireland
The club was first formed in 1984, back then there were only 9 holes constructed for play and the course measured a staggering 1,495 yards, fast forward to today and the venue now boasts three 18 hole courses. It will be the first time Portstewart has hosted the DDF Irish Open and this venue is truly worthy of hosting a tournament of such high calibre.
This massive event will of course be played on their very pure championship strand course. This gorgeous links layout measures 7,004 yards and has a par of 72.
Under calm conditions players wont find the layout overly complicated or tricky, however as always the weather on a links course will determine how tough it plays. Multiple changes in wind direction throughout the day aren't uncommon and will alter each holes playability in a dramatic fashion... For some of the field they will be hitting wedge into holes and for others it could be hybrid.
Key Stats and Strategy
Links course performances, ability to control ball flight, solid short game, excellent course management and recent form will be the key factors I will be considering whilst picking players.
I will also be paying close attention to the draw and looking for any advantage one half of the field might have over the other. As it stands right now that could be early tee times on Thursday.
Rory McIlroy $11,700 - Its very rare that I back the top priced player in the field, however with such great value further down I will have a few LU's featuring him. Motivation will be high to perform well on home turf and build confidence heading towards The Open. Rory is arguably the best links style player in the field as well so if all aspects of the game are working he could walk away with this one and score big points in the process
$9,000 - $10,000
Jon Rahm $9,700 - I have to roll with Rahm its so rare to see him less than 10k now, he has started to make birdie again and find some form. Obviously full of World class talent so lets hope he's back to tearing up courses and earning us big points in the process
Tommy Fleetwood $9,600 - You have to play Tommy on any links style course, has amazing control of his game and temperament right now. Was no surprise to see him win in France even though he had never made the cut before and I wouldn't be surprised to se him win here. I will once again have very high exposure of Tommy in my LU's.
Thomas Pieters $9,500 - Big point scorer and very close to big things. Has the obvious advantage of length from the tee and also processes a delightful short-game. Seems to be in contention every time he plays so I will continue to back that exceptional form.
Andy Sullivan $9,200 - Very much suited to playing Links golf, finished T13 in France, even after a sloppy round on Sunday, Expecting his 2nd top 10 of the year here and to find important form leading up to Birkdale.
$8,000 - $9,000
Lee Westwood $8,900 - I made the mistake of fading Lee in France, thought he had been a little distracted with other commitments and not fully focused on his own game, I will admit I was wrong and not prepared to make the same mistake again this time out. He is world class and always a solid performer, perfect for any balance LU.
Peter Uihlein $8,400 - I'm sticking with Peter after he did me well with his 2nd in France. Even without a top placing he scores well through excellent birdie or better performance. will feature mainly as a Gpp pick for me.
Pablo Larrazabal $8,300 - Another player capable of a win and with superb birdie or better performance stats. Has incredible ball flight control and a stunning short game... I'm a little disappointed with how he placed in France and I hope he is too and uses that a motivation for a much better placing here.
$7,000 - $8,000
Alexander Bjork $7,900 - I have to back Alex yet again even though the price has jumped by $1k. He placed 3rd in France, has been impressing all year and has the perfect temperament for what's on offer in Northern Ireland. Great driver of the ball and very accurate throughout the bag
Ian Poulter $7,700 - Since his 2nd place at The Players Poults has continued to make cuts but not much more than that. He has however just secured his spot at this years Open, doing things the hard way and qualifying with 3rd place at Woburn. Confidence will be high after playing so well.
Hao-Tong Li $7,100 - T7 in France, playing impressive golf right now and more importantly really enjoying it, surely a win is just round the corner might not be here but I still expect at least T20.
Thomas Aiken $7,200 - Fairways, Greens, Ball flight control, excellent course management skills and a bucket load of patience. Should be a very good week if the short games in good order.
$7,000 or less
George Coetzee $6,900 - Potentially a lot of value here, His blowout round in France will put a lot off. George has the capabilities to win or at least place well so certainly worth the gamble
Matthew Southgate $6,900 - Great-Fantastic links course player, also grabbed a spot at The Open through final qualifying. He did that at Royal Cinque Ports GC, the same venue I was caddying at, trust me his score in the afternoon was extremely impressive. Spoke to him after his round and came across very confident about having a good week in Ireland.
Graeme Storm $6,800 - Solid performances and controlled style of play are the reasons for this pick, I fully expect another made cut and there's always a good chance of a top 25 or even top 10
Jordan Smith $6,600 - Likely to be the highest owned low cost player however I'm not going to let this put me off, At this price he has the potential to present incredible valueSolid final round of 67 on Sunday in France so hoping this better play continues here.
Another write up done and time for me to get back out on the range.. Hope you all have an incredible end to the week and as always get any of those questions you might have across to me on twitter. @AshleyMorrisson