What I like about this week is you can just throw out course history. The Irish Open hasn’t been hosted by Royal County Down since 1939. Courses such as: Fota Island, Carton House, Royal Portrush, Killarney, County Louth, and Adare have hosted the Irish Open in recent years.
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So, results of past years don’t matter at all. It’s all about analyzing the course, seeing who has the game to succeed here at Royal County Down and who is playing well right now.
As always, we have a lot to go over so let’s get into the 2015 Irish Open Golf Channel fantasy picks.
Group 1: 79% picked Rory McIlroy and got burned for it. I picked McIlroy last week as well and I’m picking him again this week. There’s absolutely no way McIlroy is missing back-to-back cuts and he’s especially not going to do it a course he loves and has said is his favorite. It didn’t work out last week and kudos to the crazy 21% that faded McIlroy, but I would put a disclaimer on it again this week: Fade McIlroy at your own risk.
Group 2: I mentioned last week how I wanted to see Victor Dubuisson show some solid form and he did a little bit. He was up-and-down all week long but ended up making the cut and finishing T-63.
I’m hoping Dubuisson will show enough that he’ll be peaking at the right time for the U.S. Open because he has the game to be a force this year at Chambers Bay. I’m not taking him this week at the Irish Open, but it was encouraging to seem him play decently last week.
May 2, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; Tommy Fleetwood tees off on the fourth hole during day four of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac March Play at TPC Harding Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Realistically, there are about ten golfers who I would like to pick. But, the one I’m taking is Tommy Fleetwood. Last week in group 4, it came down to the veteran, the safe pick, Robert Rock or the young wild card prospect in Maximilian Kieffer. If I would have taken the steady, safe play in Rock, well that would have been the wrong choice as he missed the cut. While on the other side Kieffer made the cut and he had a solid showing finishing T-27.
I feel that Fleetwood is right on the verge of doing something great. It’s coming sooner rather than later and coming off his T-6 at the BMW PGA Championship you know that he is brimming with confidence.
Graeme McDowell has been struggling this year, but things might turn around for him this week. G-Mac has the kind of game that works here at Royal County Down plus factor in weather this week and it would be realistic to think that G-Mac will be competing for the win on Sunday.
Right now, the weather shows that there will be a lot of wind as the week progresses and a good chance of rain in the morning on Friday and rain all day Sunday. The sloppier the better it is for McDowell.
Shane Lowry reminds me of Francesco Molinari in a sense that they both have struggled on the PGA Tour, but on the European Tour they are lighting it up. Molinari has finished inside the top five the past two weeks, he’s a great pick this week as is Shane Lowry.
You might look at his recent results and hold your nose, but when you dig deeper his missed cuts have come on the PGA Tour. Last week, he stepped right up and finished T-6. Lowry has the home field advantage this week and is another great pick to consider on your team.
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David Howell is also in group 2 this week, but after 56% of people took him in group 3 last week no one is going to be jumping up and down to taking Howell. I only see maybe 5% taking him this week. Howell might be a sneaky good contrarian play, just someone else to consider in group 2.
Group 3: Ah, Chris Wood. He was one of the golfers I came close to taking last week, but didn’t. I don’t want to make the mistake again this week, but at the same time I don’t want to go chasing results that just aren’t there. Plus, I do believe Wood’s bandwagon will be fuller this week given his excellent performance last week. So, instead, I’m going to take a chance and fade Wood for Alexander Noren.
Aug 7, 2013; Rochester, NY, USA; Alexander Noren plays a shot on the 18th hole during the practice round of the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Noren quietly had a great week himself finishing in the top ten. My hope is that Wood really sticks out for the majority of people and they take him, but Noren ends up having the better week.
I considered Gregory Bourdy last week, but he was kind of disappointing. Bourdy finished T-55, which is okay. Peter Uihlein should be highly owned again after a quality showing last week. Nicolas Colsaerts is interesting as he broke his string of missed cuts and was actually in contention. Colsaerts ended up dropping down a bit, but still had a strong showing finishing T-22. Colsaerts in an interesting play; I’m not really strongly considering him since I just don’t trust him, but he is interesting. I’ll be keeping a close eye on him this week.
Group 4: There aren’t too many golfers I’m crazy about in group 4. I’m only strongly considering a few and they are: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Magnus A. Carlsson, Matteo Manassero, Rock, and Kieffer. With that said, I’m going back to the well with Kieffer.
Kieffer was solid last week finishing T-27 in a highly competitive field and with the field not as strong I kind of like Kieffer’s chance a little bit more. Kieffer could potentially be the Byeong-Hun An this week where not many know about him and he just has that breakthrough tournament. You never know. Even if he doesn’t, making the cut and finishing inside the top 25 will do just fine.