3rd July 2018 at 9:57 pm #139673aceventurerModerator
The Irish Open moves from Portstewart, County Londonderry, last year to Ballyliffin on the northern tip of Donegal. The course is consistently being ranked in the top ten of the best courses in Ireland. The 7,200 yards course is a true test of golf with stunning scenery and the signature par 5 13th hole is one of the best around.
Jon Rahm is returning to defend his title and if he manages to do that he will be among some illustrious names like Seve, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Mark James. There are two courses on it’s grounds, the Old Links and the Glashedy Links, which the pros will play this week.
As the Irish Open is a qualifying event for The Open those that have not got their invitation yet this is their chance to grab their spot. Also it will be a great chance for those who already have qualified to hone their links game for Carnoustie.
COURSE: Ballyliffin Golf Club, Donegal: 7,20 yards, Par 72
RAFA CABRERA BELLO
One player I fancy quite strongly this week is Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello. He plays well on links courses and is having a good season with five top tens from 11 events on the European Tour. At the moment he is sitting 11th in the Ryder Cup standings and still has a bit to do over to get his place. The Gran Canarian missed the cut here last year but then went on the following week to win the Scottish Open then finished T4 in The Open. In 2016 he finished T8 in the Irish Open and was T4 the year before. So he has good form on links courses and with his overall form this year I have confidence in this selection.
Scrambling: 64.6% (9th) Strokes Gained Putting: .726 (26th)
Although a three time winner on the European Tour I’ve always expected a bit more from the 6ft 6in Englishman. He has a good record on links courses, including three top tens in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (over St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns), a couple of to tens in the Irish Open and who can forget his brilliant showing in the 138th Open at Turnberry in 2009 when he finished T3. He also finished T5 the previous year at Royal Birkdale. Hasn’t won since he 2016 BMW PGA Championship, which to be honest I find hard to explain. Infact he probably should have won last week, or at least be in a play off with my selection Alex Noren. He dropped a shot at the 17th and needed a birdie to tie with Noren, but his second shot landed in a bunker and that was that. It does show that his game is in relatively good condition and with the next three competitions all on links courses looks a good bet.
Scrambling: 52.5% (176th) Strokes Gained Putting: .617 (40th)
Englishman Sullivan has not a bad links game. In 2015 he finished 6th at this event, the following year he was T6 at the Scottish Open then followed that up with a T12th at the Open. in 2017 he had a T9 a the Scottish, following a T20 at the Irish. Since April this year he has had four top tens from his six tournaments and I expect a win to be not far away.
Scrambling: 57.5% (79th) Strokes Gained Putting: .774 (23rd)
1.50 ew Rafa Cabrera Bello (PaddyPower 20-1) Pay 8
1.50 ew Chris Wood (Coral 40-1) Pay 7
1.50 ew Andy Sullivan (BetFred 28-1) Pay 7
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