The European Tour is back in Scotland this week at the home of golf but not exactly where it all began at The Old Course. Instead it’s only a few miles away for the Hero Open at the Torrance Course, Fairmont, St Andrew’s, Fife.
The 146 field will all be competing on this stunning par 72 links course – a course I’ve actually attempted to conquer on a few occasions – for the €1.25M prize pot with the winner collecting the title and €191,570.
The key attribute this week around this layout will be power and not so much accuracy, but a tidy short game around the greens will prove pivotal with plenty birdies on offer.
I actually got a couple myself around here and my game is way below average.
The weather is to be cloudy throughout with some showers expected over the weekend with light to moderate breezes.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf with live coverage starting from 1pm GMT on Thursday.
I’ve already posted my preview for the main event this week, the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis, Tennessee where the world's golfing elite will be on display, challenging for FedEx points, the title and $1.82M to the winner.
I’ve also posted a few selections for the Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour with a much depleted field with the WGC event taking priority.
So let’s get on with some selections for the Hero Open up at St Andrew’s.
For my first and main selection I’m liking the look of Marcus Armitage 25/1 EW Bet365.
The experienced 34yrs old from Salford, Manchester will be looking to add to his maiden European Tour victory earlier this year when winning the Porsche European Open in Hamburg, Germany.
He won with two shots to spare over the chasing pack to claim that holy grail title he’s been chasing for over two decades.
With the pressure now off Armitage – the first ones always the hardest – I feel he will almost certainly go on to win a few more European Titles and he can start here this weekend winning the Hero Open.
This year Armitage has form to his name and with that win already under his belt he was also 4th at the Austrian Golf Open, T8th at The Made in Himmerland and T10th at the Kenya Savannah Classic.
With not to much in the way of fierce competition this week in St Andrew’s I have a feeling Armitage may show the field why he’s a winner on the European Tour and go on the claim another crown this weekend.
For my next selection I’m going to advise the only course winner in the field this week, Adrian Otaegui 25/1 EW Betfair.
The 28 yrs old from San Sabastian, Spain won the Scottish Championship here at this venue last year so has a proven track record and this could well be a pointer again for the week ahead.
He has already bagged three crowns on the European Tour when winning the above mentioned Scottish Championship in 2020, he won the Saltire Energy Matchplay in 2017 and also bagged the Belgium Knockout in 2018.
His best performances this year include the Scandinavian where he finished runner up to Jonathan Caldwell and 12th at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
With previous course winning experience and knowledge around Fairmont, Otaegui can use this to his advantage and power on to victory with his excellent short game around the greens to help him on his way.
Daniel Van Tonder
For my next pick I’m going to look for some value and for that reason I’m going to single out Daniel Van Tonder 40/1 EW Bet365.
I know a few may be saying, “Who?” but this 30 yrs old South African is on my radar just like every other South African at the moment.
They just seem to be all over leaderboards at almost every tournament on the planet. Van Tonder is currently ranked inside the world's Top 100 at No.91 and is another who won his maiden European Tour title this year when winning the Kenya Savannah Classic which would have been a massive weight off his shoulders.
Again with the pressure relieved Van Tonder is another who I feel will win a few more European titles. He really enjoys links golf and finished a very respectable 40th last time out at The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s.
At The USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island he finished 44th and at the BMW International Open he was 12th so comes here with much better form than most in this field.
I think again the firms may have overpriced the South African so my only advise is take it while it’s available with the luxury that a place in the first eight will return a tidy profit.
Andy Sullivan v Masahiro Kawamura
For my final selection it’s the customary matchbet and I’m going to pick Andy Sullivan to get the better of Masahiro Kawamura 10/11 Nap Betfair.