The European Tour heads to Scotland for this week for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, one of the most popular and revered events on the tour’s roster.
As always with links events, the courses will play very differently depending on conditions, but, at this stage, the weather forecast is reasonable.
In the last five years, there have been three winners from Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Simon Dyson, Michael Hoey and Nick Dougherty), all of whom played links golf growing up, and I would expect this week’s winner to be proficient and experienced in playing on such courses.
Three members of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup winning team – Paul Lawrie, Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson – will be in action this week. They will all be afforded a hero’s reception, but I would we wary about backing any of them this week, despite Kaymer being a past champion (2010).
Instead, I would favour someone who is more rested and refreshed, as the Alfred Dunhill is an exhausting week both on and off the golf course.
The bookmakers have installed 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen as the favourite, and whilst he looks a perfect fit for for the event, there is good value throughout the field.
Martin Laird, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good price this week. He isn’t in the best of form, but grew up playing links golf in his native Scotland. He is a very good driver of the golf ball and has enjoyed another solid season on the PGA Tour. He will be well rested after missing out on the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship and confident, having finished 5th the last time he took part in this tournament in 2010.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello is generously priced at 33/1 with Ladbrokes. The Spaniard is in a good run of form, finishing 9th at the BMW Italian Open and 10th the week before at the KLM Open. He came 4th at the Alfred Dunhill in 2008 and currently sits 4th on the European Tour in Greens in Regulation.
Branden Grace, at 33/1 with Ladbrokes, has been quiet of late, but looks poised for a return to form on the European Tour. The South African won his fourth professional title last week in the Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins Final at The Links at Fancourt, and was one of only three players to shoot under par in the miserable final-round conditions. He is also no stranger to wining back-to-back titles, having prevailed at the Joburg Open and the Volvo Golf Champions in consecutive weeks earlier this season.
Scotsman Marc Warren is an excellent price this week at 50/1 with Ladbrokes. He recorded a 12th place finish at the KLM Open and a 10th place finish at the BMW Italian Open on his last European Tour outing. He is currently 12th in Putts per Round and has an excellent record in the Alfred Dunhill, having finished 13th in 2008, 19th in 2009 and 5th in 2011.
Englishman Anthony Wall is a good each way bet this week at 125/1 with Ladbrokes. He finished 5th in this event in 2008, followed by two top 30s in 2009 and 2010. He also came second in this year’s Irish Open, played over the links at Royal Portrush.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship advised bets:
2pts outright on Martin Laird at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Rafael Cabrera-Bello at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Branden Grace at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Marc Warren at 50/1 with Ladbrokes
1pt each way on Anthony Wall at 125/1 with Ladbrokes