Rory McIlroy headlines a cracking field as players get their links prep in ahead of the Open. Form expert Barry Plummer scopes out the runners at the Irish Open

Following a successful event in Germany last week, the European Tour rolls on to a real fan favourite this week with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. A strong field has flocked to County Kilkenny for what promises to be a real spectacle, so I have done the hard work for you and picked out three players I fancy to play well this week. But first…

DDF Irish Open details

Venue: Mount Juliet, County Kilkenny, Ireland

Date: July 1-4, 2021                                                                                      

Course stats: Par 72; 7,250 yards

Course summary: Mount Juliet is a true Irish classic, with rolling fairways framed by trees that shape the landscape of the course. Jack Nicklaus and Ron Kirby co-designed this course in 1991, so we can expect this to be a strategic test.

Purse: €3 million

Defending champion: John Catlin (-10)

DDF Irish Open TV times

Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 10am

Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm

Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 1pm

Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 1pm

Bazza’s Banker: Christiaan Bezuidenhout @ 18/1 with Bet365

On the US Open special of the Dialled In podcast I mentioned the strong position that South African golf is currently in, and this guy is one of the shining lights. When you look at his recent form it may look pretty ordinary, with four consecutive finishes in the 30s, but when you consider that they came in two major championships and two of the top PGA Tour events this certainly looks a more manageable task. Bezuidenhout is also a top putter, ranking 4th in the world in the last three months, so there is a lot to like about his chances this week.

The outsider: Joost Luiten @ 50/1 with Bet365

Luiten has been in very steady form of late, with five top-15 finishes in his last seven starts, and this could be a great opportunity for him to add a seventh European Tour win to his resume. Luiten was 11th at the DDF Irish Open last year, and was right in the mix over the first two rounds last time out in Scandinavia before a torrid weekend. His ability to consistently hit greens in regulation, and ultimately use his experience to navigate a new track will be valuable here and I like his chances at a big price.

The long shot: Justin Harding @ 55/1 with Bet365

Justin Harding shot back to form last week with a 5th place finish in Munich, and at a big price he may be worth gambling on to follow up with another strong performance. The South African ranked 20th for SG: Tee-to-green, 5th for SG: Around-the-green and 30th for SG: Putting at the BMW International Open, demonstrating an upturn in performance after a poor run by his standards recently. The two-time European Tour winner has plenty of win equity, and after finishing 11th in this event last year I think he could go close.

For more prices visit Bet365.

Subscribe to NCG