Alex Noren ensured another win for the oracle and that I had to upgrade my flights for Barcelona to First Class. Will I be upping a star on the hotel too? Here’s his take on this week’s Irish Open.
I recognise there are some of you out there brave enough to place a win-only bet pre-tournament and with Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm already duelling it out for the favourites tag at 7/1, my advice is to wait at least until Thursday or Friday before placing your on the nose bet. As always though I’m looking for each way value and we are coming off four payouts in a row so the formula does work!
Rafa Cabrera Bello 20/1
The good thing about Rors and Rahm occupying the bookies attention is that Rafa Cabrera Bello has gone completely under the radar at 20/1. He’s out at those odds after missing the cut in Paris last week but Rafa is having a brilliant season on the whole and it’s worth remembering that he has four top-8 finishes in Ireland since 2012 including a T2 on links in Portrush and a T4 at Royal County Down. With conditions set bright and sunny he should be in the mix.
Russell Knox 30/1
I tipped Russell each way last week at 50/1 and he paid out big with a T2 finish so it makes perfect sense to keep him on the betslip this week from a still generous 30/1. As I said last week, Russell’s form has been improving from the Byron Nelson to Fort Worth, then there was a brilliant T12 at Shinnecock in the US Open and of course that stunning Sunday 65 at Le Golf National last week. AND as if that is not enough…the last time he played the Irish Open in 2016 he was T2 behind Rory McIlroy. Confidence will be super high, he’s playing great, he’ll be there again this week.
Andy Sullivan 30/1
I’m going to stick with Andy also this week from around the 30/1 mark. Stumbled in the second round in Paris last week with a 75 but rallied with a 68 on Sunday for a T21 finish. Sully has had a super solid year to date without really breaking through but he’s had top-10’s in Dubai, Morocco, Sicily, Italy and Germany, he’s 27th in Race To Dubai, his stroke average is two shots better than 2017 (the best on the European Tour) and a win has to be coming soon. Now the Irish Open hasn’t been his best event but he was T6 at Royal County Down in 2015 and I fancy Andy to score a good finish this week.
Chris Wood 40/1
Looking down the odds I see Chris Wood at 40/1 and he’s coming in off a T2 in France where he hit 50 greens in regulation and scored a clip of T14 in putting. Chris has been improving since Wentworth and having contended in Paris he will be full of confidence on this firm fast links at Ballyliffin. He’s had four career top 20’s finishes at the Irish Open, we know from British Opens that he can handle links, and I think he can contend.
Matthew Southgate 100/1
Has to be the best value tip of the week. Solo fourth at the K Club in 2016 and T2 behind Jon Rahm last year in Portstewart and Matthew comes in on the back off a T5 finish in Paris where he hit 55 greens in regulation and shot a 65 on Sunday. And he’s a gent! Well worth an each way flutter.
Long Odds Glory Shots
David Drysdale is 250/1 and he loves the Irish Open, especially when staged on links. Shot a course record 63 at Portstewart last year to jump up into a T4 finish and was T7 on the links at Portrush in 2012. He was on the range with his wife Vicky testing some clubs yesterday so best of luck to them.
Another Scot who loves the links and the Irish Open is Richie Ramsay and he is at 150/1. He tied 2nd at Portstewart and was T10 at Royal County Down so it might be worth charting his progress as the tournament progresses.
It promises to be a great Irish Open, the course in Ballyliffin is terrific and with the sun set to shine throughout it could be a classic!