Golf has returned home for the next 2 weeks on tour with the playing of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane and of course The 144th Open Championship at The Home of Golf, St Andrews. Many players have now targeted the likely links warmup during The Scottish Open of late as the idea preparation for The Open the following week, a quick look at the field would attest to this apart from notable exceptions in the form of World No.1, Rory McIlroy, and Grand Slam chasing Jordan Spieth. Many of those who will contend at the Old Course next week will come from the players teeing it up at Gullane over the next 4 days.
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Here’s a look at the leading contenders for The Scottish Open this week!
Jun 18, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Justin Rose hits out of a bunker on the 15th hole in the first round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
As defending champion and one of the best players in the world now, Rose is a leading contender most weeks he tees it up. He has shown decent form of late and although a playoff defeat at the Memorial was disappointing he did show glimpses of the quality shots needed to claim another Major. He is one of the longer straight hitters out there, which will be a benefit around Gullane and St Andrews alike. His experience of links golf helps a lot too, expect him to put together a strong defence albeit at a difference course than he won on. Odds of 12/1 are generous and well worth an each way shout, watch out for the bookies paying 6 places to make that value even better!
“Lefty” has made The Scottish Open part of his Open Championship preparations over the last few years and I’m sure the tournament organisers and sponsors are delighted he has chosen to follow suit once more. An unexpected visit to Padraig Harrington’s home club in Ireland, Stackstown Golf Club, has been part of his preparations this week as well and he has undoubtedly sought the 2-time Open Champ’s advice on links golf – I’m sure the few conversations Paddy & Phil had while they were in company was interesting to say the least, I wouldn’t have minded being a fly on the wall there!! Phil has the game to win on a links course, as he showed at Muirfield and also at the 2013 Scottish Open as well, odds of between 18-20/1 are testament to that.
The man who looked he was going to take advantage of the late slips from Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson slipped up himself also down the stretch at Chambers Bay during The US Open. He played some superb golf that week and his experience winning on links courses in the past will definitely stand him in good stead, he has also won plenty big tournaments and could well be the next South African to win a Major. Best price of 22/1 are a little short for me still but it shows just how highly the bookies rate Grace now.
The Players’ Champion has not scaled the heights he did back in May when he finished off “The 5th Major” to devastating effect. Fowler remains a wonderful wielder of all 14 clubs, however, and he has the game to win on a links course – he was well in contention back in 2011 when Darren Clarke won and also has many other creditable links performances to his name, let’s forget about those two 8s to finish off the 3rd round at Royal County Down during The Irish Open this year please! Rickie is priced at 22/1 best and that is fantastic value for me, I’d get on early.
The man from Clara, Co Offaly, has continued his development into one of the best golfers in the world of late, too many bogeys in the Final Round of The US Open definitely costing him a huge chance to claim his first Major title. Of all the players in the field this week, Lowry could well have the most links experience although some of the British and Irish players could definitely argue that point. Shane has a huge chance this week, odds of 25/1 best price reflect that, and I expect him to make any tremendous tilt at winning his first Major championship at The Home of Golf next week as well.
So those the main contenders I can see for this week at The Scottish Open, it’s easy pick the top golfers in the betting of course so here are a few longer price golfers to consider too – Luke Donald at 40/1 is a fine bet (he is coming back into the form that got him to World No.1), Tommy Fleetwood at 45/1, Joost Luiten at 50s, home player Richie Ramsay at 66/1, Michael Hoey at 125/1 and Peter Uihlein at 150/1. Hope you enjoy the links golf at Gullane this week, it should whet your appetite for what should be one of the openest of Opens next week at St Andrews.