The European Tour continues this week with the Irish Open at Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland and The Caddy, who is in red-hot form picks his three to watch.
The 156 field will feature two Irish superstars, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry who have traveled across the Atlantic to the joy of many Irish golf fanatics that will be in attendance this week, 5,000 every day to be exact. It’s the first time in over a year we have seen that many fans at a European Tour event.
The players will all be competing for the €3M prize pot on this stunning par 72 parkland with the winner collecting €500,100 and the trophy.
The weather is forecast to be cloudy throughout, with showers expected for Sunday’s final round and light to moderate breezes to contend with.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf with live coverage starting at 10am GMT on Thursday morning.
It was yet another good week for my selections on the European Tour last week as we landed the winning 1-2 at the BMW International in Munich. My main selection Viktor Hovland won his first maiden European Tour title while my next best Martin Kaymer finished runner up.
My other pick, Bernd Wiesberger finished in fifth place to make it a very profitable weekend. Well done to everyone who followed my selections.
So let’s get on with this week's action in Kilkenny. For my main selection this week I’m liking the look of Sam Horsfield 25/1 EW Bet365.
The 24yrs old Englishman from Manchester comes here with some decent form and this track should certainly suit his game. In his last nine tournaments Horsfield has finished in the Top 20 on no less than seven occasions with four of those in the Top 10 and three in the Top 5. That's form you can’t ignore and that not many in this field can boast.
If Horsfield hadn’t carded a second round 77 in Munich last week he may well have won the BMW International.
The talented Horsfield won his breakthrough European Tour title last year when winning the Hero Open then followed that up with a victory at the Celtic Classic so knows what it takes to win on the European Tour.
The Englishman is ranked fifth on the tour stokes gained approach play and it’s these figures that could prove pivotal this week in Kilkenny.
I can only see Horsfield getting off to a good start yet again this week after opening rounds of 64 in both he’s previous two events and he will be in contention from start to finish on his way to winning the Irish Open to make it a hat-trick of European crowns.
For my next pick I’m going to single out the one and only Rory McIlroy 11/2 EW Bet365.
Sorry, but you all know he’s one of my favourites so I just can’t ignore Rory even if the price is a tad on the skinny side.
Rory has almost certainly found a groove after struggling with his swing for a while but it all seems to be coming together again and he looks threatening, the Rory we all know and adore.
Since winning the Wells Fargo Championship just a few weeks back, his first victory in over eighteen months, the 32 yrs old Irishman has had a Top 20 finish at the Memorial Tournament and finished 7th at the US Open.
He will definitely be the main attraction in Thomastown this week and he won’t want to disappoint those adoring Irish fans and will be fired up for this one. He comes here this week as the highest ranked golfer in the field, currently ranked at number ten in the world and for sure he is the one they all have to beat.
I can only predict Rory being more than up for this on home soil in front of his home crowd and powering on to victory to the delight of everyone so I have to include him even though the price is shabby.
Remember if you back him each way then just a place in the top eight will see a full return on your money but Rory won’t be content with a place as he roars on to victory and I’m not missing out on this one.
For my next suggestion I’m going to advise Martin Kaymer 25/1 EW Betfair.
I selected the 36 yrs old veteran German for the BMW International last week and he certainly didn’t disappoint finishing runner up at 28/1 EW to eventual winner, my main selection Victor Hovland.
Kaymer seems to have returned to form after a quieter couple of years in his decorated career. In his last six events the German has missed the cut on three occasions, enough to put most off but in the other three events he was 2nd at the BMW International last week, a very respectable T26th at the US Open at Torrey Pines and 3rd at the Austrian Open.
I’m concentrating on the latter and not the missed cuts as I just feel Kaymer is going to bag another title soon and it could well be this week at the Irish Open.
I simply cannot mention all the titles Kaymer has to his name as there are too many but the three time major champion is a class above most in this field and has been popping up on my radar recently.
This week could well see Kaymer returning to winning ways and if not landing the trophy then he will be challenging on the back nine on Sunday afternoon.
Antoine Rozner v Justin Harding
For my final selection it’s the customary matchbet and I’m advising Antoine Rozner to get the better off Justin Harding 10/11 Nap Betfair.