IT'S back to “normal” golf this week with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.
Each pro will be partnered by an amateur and take part on the three courses with the final round back on the Old Course. A few of the defeated European team will be taking part and although I would love to back Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera-Bello I think last week plus the long journey home might just have taken a bit out of them and will therefore give them a miss.
I shall be looking at GIR stats, form and good links golfers for my picks therefore my first choice is Louis Oosthuizen. We all know his links play is good, winning The Open at St Andrews and losing in a play-off at the Old Course last year. His GIR stats are 74.2% (16th) and his form has not been too bad, finishing 38th in the FedEx standings. He won the ISPS Handa Perth International earlier in the year and has wins in six of the last seven years on the European Tour.
With a second in the KLM Open and following that up with a fifth at the Porsche European Open Bernd Wiesberger is certainly in form. The Austrian has still to get his first win of the season but can’t be that far away. In his last three years here he has finished T12 (2013), T14 (2014) and T4 last year so he seems to like the format. His GIR stat this season sits at 74.3% (14th) and like the look of him for this.
Shane Lowry’s form on links courses looks impressive. In 2014 he was T4 in the Aberdeen Asset, T9 in The Open and T6 in this event. In fact in the last three years at this event he has not finished outside the top 20 (T3 2013, T19 last year). His GIR stat is 65.3% and he sits 22nd in the Road To Dubai. Losing out to Dustin Johnson in the US Open took a lot out of the Irishman but he returned to some sort of form in the Made in Denmark tourney. Well worth a bet.