Dave Tindall

Across the Pond

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Alfred Dunhill Links Preview

Monday, October 2, 2017


 

 

The Next Rung

 

Eddie Pepperell

After a hot run of 5-3-3 on The European mainland, Englishman Pepperell missed the cut on his return home to the British Masters where he didn’t think much of the greens. “Ahh shoot. One week too far. A weekend off probably a good thing. One of my favourite events next week to look forward to,” he tweeted. The good vibes for the Alfred Dunhill Links haven’t been based on results there however as he’s just 1-for-4 after three MCs since a promising T26 on debut in 2013. A good links player though as shown by a second place in the 2015 Irish Open at Royal County Down.

 

Thorbjorn Olesen

Danish players often thrive on windy links and Olesen has highlighted that as well as any of his countrymen with a win in this event in 2015 after a second place in 2012. Starting with a top four at the Nordea Masters he’s 10-for-10 and that stretch of consistent golf includes three top 10s and a T14 at his home Made In Denmark two starts ago.

 

Lucas Bjerregaard

While Olesen is the Dane with the best event form, Bjerregaard boasts the hottest current form after a first European Tour win sandwiched by T9 in the European Masters and T8 at the British Masters. He’s had three goes at this event with T32 on debut in 2014 but MCs the last two years. He’s doing everything well at the moment so expectations should remain high.

 

Ross Fisher

Fisher finished runner-up to Tyrrell Hatton last year to make it an English 1-2 while he also took second place in this event in 2008. He’s no sure thing though as his tournament form from 2013-2015 reads MC-61-MC. He’s also missed three of his last four cuts on the European Tour (T31 at the KLM during that run), including an early exit at last week’s British Masters. For the time being, his hot early-season form seems to have vanished.

 

Richie Ramsay

He’ll be carrying much of the home hopes this week and looks equipped to give the locals plenty to cheer. Ramsay made the top four on his tournament debut in 2009 and was runner-up three years ago. There’s been some disappointments too (three MCs) but he took second place on the links at the Irish Open in July and has banked recent top 10s in the European Open and last week’s British Masters.

 

George Coetzee

Another with twin course and current form appeal. The South African banked T5 here in 2012 and has backed it up with T25s in both 2014 and 2016. He’ll return on a run of 3-7-15 the last three weeks (KLM Open, Portugal Masters, British Masters) and the last two events he’s opened with 64 and 63 respectively to hold a piece of the first-round lead on both occasions.

 

Joost Luiten

He’s won his home KLM Open twice in windy conditions but the idea that he’s not a great links player is fuelled by a trio of missed cuts here (2014-2016). The Dutchman did take T9 in 2011 but it’s his only top 20 in nine tries. Brighter news is provided by his T12 (best finish since June) in the Portugal Masters on his last appearance a fortnight ago.

 

J.B. Holmes

It’s a shame more Americans don’t make the journey, especially those who love playing in Opens at St. Andrews. Holmes was T14 at the Old Course in 2010 and showed his mettle in bad weather when T3 in the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon. Also note the 2015 final leaderboard here when two Americans tied for second – Brooks Koepka (not really a surprise) and Chris Stroud (a big surprise). Holmes hasn’t played since lasting just one leg of the FedExCup Playoffs (MC) but he did post a couple of decent results in July with T9 at the Greenbrier and T14 in the Canadian Open. He might just have a blast this week (not available for official European Tour fantasy game).

 

Graeme Storm

After bouncing back to form with T3 in Portugal, Storm rewarded managers who took the ‘local man’ angle when he shot 65-67-67-67 at Close House, a venue near to his home, to take T4 in the British Masters last week. He’s got four top 25s in this event (T25 last year) and has cashed on his last five visits although Storm has yet to crack the top 10 since making his tournament debut in 2001.

 

David Horsey

Since finishing runner-up at the Made In Denmark, Horsey has fired 10 of 12 rounds in the 60s although that solid play has only been enough for T30, T38 and T31. Also second at June’s Lyoness Open, this looks another good opportunity for the Englishman to shine. He’s cracked the top 20 in three of the last four years and that includes T9 and T11 the last two.

 

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

A winner of the Paul Lawrie Match Play in Scotland, the big Thai also posted T4 in this event on his first and only start in 2015. Although he blew a golden chance for victory when slipping from leader with five to play to T9 at the KLM Open, he shot a pair of 66s for T20 at last week’s British Masters and that was a third top 20 in four starts so his form is strong. His GIR numbers are notably impressive.

 

Richard Sterne

Sterne has always enjoyed his trips here, especially the last two. In 2014 he posted T6 while last year the South African holed out from the fairway on the famous Road Hole 17th at St. Andrews and went on to finish runner-up. Current form (31-20-9 and four top 20s in last seven) suggests he can make an impression again.

 

 

Sleeper Picks

 

Marc Warren

Local man jumped from 125th to 70th on Race to Dubai with fifth last year, a repeat of his finish in 2011. Has three other top 25s in the event and back in form with second place in Portugal and T15 at British Masters.

 

Bradley Dredge

Runner-up in 2006 and top 15 in both 2015 and 2016. Disappointing results over last few months but round scores are okay and took T15 on links course at July’s Irish Open.

 

Matthew Southgate

Links form? Second at Irish Open, T6 at this summer’s Open Championship. Current form? Top five at Web.com’s Boise Open a couple of weeks ago. As a bonus, he’s a long-standing member at Carnoustie and once won the St. Andrews Links Trophy as an amateur.

 

Joakim Lagergren

Quiz question: Who is the only player to have finished in the top five at this event in both of the last two years. Unless you followed both events closely or have exceptional recall, you’d have a thousand guesses and not come up with Lagergren. But the Swede loves it here (he once shot a back-nine 28 at Kingsbarns) and T9 at the KLM Open suggests he could thrive again.

 

Florian Fritsch

Unlikely owner of converging trends. The German, who won’t fly, was T4 in last week’s British Masters after a closing 63 and has T7 (2016) and T19 (2015) in two starts here.

 

Romain Wattel

First start since KLM Open victory (his first on the European Tour) and not worse than T33 on his last four starts in Scotland. That includes T18 and T33 in last two cracks at this event.

 

Tom Lewis

Shot bookend 64s when third in the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Links although he’s since gone MC-MC-MC. Had two top 10s in September, including a top three at the Czech Masters.

 

Ernie Els

A slightly sentimental mention for the ‘Big Easy’ but he’s been a masters at links golf and is a two-time runner-up in this event. Way off the force he once was but can still make a mark as shown by T27 here last year and he also made the cut in three of this year’s majors.

 

 

Who’s On The Team?

 

Tournament specialist Rory McIlroy is very much the go-to pick here after bouncing back with a second place at last week’s British Masters.

 

Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry love the links and return in good heart while, much further down the betting, Matthew Southgate has some interesting form.

 

I’ll reveal my full line-up for the European Tour’s official fantasy game in Tuesday’s Playing The Tips feature.

 

 

One To Swerve

 

After a hectic week hosting the British Masters where he tired as the tournament went on, Lee Westwood probably won’t feature in my plans.



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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky Sports.com in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on tindall_david@hotmail.com and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.
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