With no PGA Tour event this week due to the Olympics Golf medals taking priority, the European Tour continues as normal with the ISPS HANDA Invitational at Galgorm Castle and Massereene, Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
This tournament will see three of the four rounds staged at Galgorm with the other round at Massereene.
Both are par 70 parkland tracks where the 144 field will be competing for the $1.5M purse with the winner receiving the title and $250,000.
Jack Senior returns to defend his crown when winning this event in 2019 when he beat Matt Baldwin in a play off.
The weather is forecast to be cloudy throughout with the chance of rain on Thursdays opening round with moderate breezes to contend with.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf with live coverage starting at 2pm GMT on Thursday.
For my first and main selection in Ballymena this week I’m going to advise Justin Harding 12/1 EW Betfair.
The 35yrs old South African, like many of the South Africans just now, is in fine form and was so unlucky to lose out to Nacho Elvira in a play-off last week at the Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor.
Harding has two Top 5 finishes in his last five events, 2nd last week as mentioned above and T5th at the BMW International Open.
He was more than impressive at The Open Championship finishing inside the Top 20 on T19th and surely has to be the one the all have to beat this week. He is currently ranked 9th for stroke average on the European Tour and can use these figures to his advantage this week.
Already a winner on the European Tour this year when winning the Magical Kenya Open, Harding can back that up with victory at the Qatar Masters in 2019 so will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of victories on the European Tour, something that most in this field can only dream about.
For my next selection I’m going to single out another South African as they just seem to be popping up on leaderboards everywhere whether it be the PGA or European Tours and also Majors. For that reason. I’m going to include Jacques Kruyswijk 40/1 EW Bet365.
The 28 yrs old is yet to win on the European Tour but is currently ranked 1st for stroke average and these figure can only spell a victory anytime soon and it could well be this week in Northern Ireland.
He was 10th last week at the Cazoo Open in Wales and has ten Top 20 finishes in his last fourteen events, I actually had to double check that, absolutely amazing consistent form.
Not only that, from those fourteen events, Kruyswijk has finished in the Top 10 on no less than five occasions, even more reason to suggest he is well on his way to a European crown and it surely just has to be a matter of time.
His two best finishes on the European Tour both came this year when finishing 5th at both the Kenya Savannah Classic and the Magical Kenya Open.
Consistency usually always pays off and I’m backing Kruyswijk to not only be contending for the title this week but also to finish in the Top 10, 7/2 Bet365.
For my next pick I’m liking the look of Maverick Antcliff 40/1 EW Bet365.
The 28 yrs old Aussie is another with stand out form and also looking for that elusive maiden European breakthrough.
With three victories already bagged on the China Tour and a runners up position this year at the Canary Islands Championship on the European Tour, this talented kid will for sure be claiming a victory on the big stage anytime soon, possibly this weekend.
He also has a 3rd place finish at the Irish Open on this very course at Galgorm so it’s fair to say he enjoyed himself here last time out.
Another notable finish to mention this year was T11th at the Porsche European Open. He is still young but looks like a promising and consistent golfer and I can only see Antcliff with many more victories after finally making that elusive maiden breakthrough.
Justin Harding v Andy Sullivan
For my final selection it’s the customary 72 hole matchbet and I’m going to advise my main selection Justin Harding to get the better of Andy Sullivan 9/10 Nap Betfair.