St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns – three bucket list venues for most of us and a big draw for a decent field that’s once again turned up for this annual fest of autumn links and celebrity spotting. But who will hold that massive trophy on the Swilcan Bridge come Sunday night? Here are my Alfred Dunhill Links Championship betting tips…
Venues: St Andrews (Old Course), Carnoustie (Championship), Kingsbarns; Fife and Angus, Scotland
Date: September 26-29, 2019
Course stats: St Andrews: Par 72, 7,318 yards; Carnoustie: Par 72, 7,394 yards; Kingsbarns: Par 72, 7,227 yards
Course summaries: These iconic venues will not be playing at their most potent, with gentle flag positions catering to the needs of the amateurs rather than the pros. That usually means low scoring – Ross Fisher dismantled the Old Course with a 61 in 2017 and Tommy Fleetwood made a mockery of the ‘Carnastie’ nickname when setting a course-record 63 in the same year. Kingsbarns is usually the most friendly but, in all cases, if the weather is inclement then danger still awaits.
Purse: $5 million
Defending champion: Lucas Bjerregaard (-15)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf, 1pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf, 1pm; Sky Sports Main Event, 2.50pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf, 1pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf, 12.30pm
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship betting tips: Steve’s players to follow
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is surely unfinished business for Rory McIlroy (5/1 with bet365). Runner up three times, in 2009, 2011 and 2014, he was 3rd in 2007 when seriously contending for his first win on tour and it does seem rather inconceivable that McIlroy could go throughout his professional career without triumphing at the Home of Golf.
Wentworth trudged a familiar journey for the Northern Irishman on the few occasions he has failed this season – mess it up early and then make a heroic revival.
That’s usually set him up quite well going into subsequent weeks, though, and he is rightly the favourite here.
If he’s sorted out the alignment issues that dogged him on day one at the BMW PGA Championship, then the Old Course in friendly conditions really could be at his mercy.
Everyone remembers his second-round 80 at the Open in 2010, but that clouded the 63 he shot the day before. Yes, he’s a short price but there is a reason for that.
You’ll often see the same old faces contending at the Dunhill and that’s why – even though he never seems to ever have a week off – Tommy Fleetwood (18/1) should also be in the mix this week.
Twice a runner up himself, including last year with Tyrrell Hatton, he also boasts two other top fives and two top 20s.
Although tied-60th at Wentworth last week is nothing at all to shout about, I’d be surprised if he didn’t find some inspiration as he bids to bag his first win since January 2018.
After that shot crowned a back-nine 29 in the third round, he faded somewhat with a Sunday 76. But that’s only to be expected after driving off with a £140,000 BMW.
Second at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as recently as 2016 and 2017, he could salvage a mediocre season with a strong performance here.
Berndt Wiesberger (25/1) hasn’t lost any of his relentless focus – even after picking up his second win of the year at the Scottish Open.
The Austrian returned to the top 5 at the European Open and then warmed up for this week with a top 20 at Wentworth.
And if his triumph at Renaissance wasn’t enough of an advertisement of his links talents, then a record at this tournament of 12-14-4-7 from 2013 to 2016 should be compelling.
For the latest prices, visit bet365.