Dunhill Links Championship betting tips and preview

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The European Tour returns to Scotland this week for the Dunhill Links Championship. Who is our resident tipster backing for glory?

Venue: St. Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbarns, Scotland
Date: October 4-7, 2018
Course statsSt. Andrews: Par 72, 7,307 yards. Carnoustie: Par 72, 7,345 yards. Kingsbarns: Par 72, 7,227 yards
Purse: $5 million (£3.8m)
Defending champion: Tyrrell Hatton (-24)

TV coverage

Thursday: Sky Sports Golf – from 1.00pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf – from 1.00pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf – from 1.00pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf – from 12.30pm

Dunhill Links Championship preview

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

The biggest question we have to ask when tackling the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is how might last week’s Ryder Cup affect the players?

Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau and Tyrrell Hatton are all due to tee it up on Thursday morning around these three fine Scottish links courses, but will the Le Golf National exertions take its toll? Particularly for the European players who were likely roaming the streets of Paris at 5am on Monday morning.

As for the Americans, Koepka is the betting favourite with Finau not so far behind – could they bounce back from the disappointment of losing the cup to win this, one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour schedule?

Two years ago, fresh off the disappointment of losing the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood and Danny Willett all missed the cut, while Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera Bello made the weekend but never challenged. Only Martin Kaymer was in contention on Sunday on his way to a 6th place finish. In 2014, when the Ryder Cup was just a few miles away at Gleneagles, Rory McIlroy, the then incumbent world No1, was the only one of the 12 who contended here at the Dunhill Links.

Dunhill Links Championship betting tips

In short, while the Ryder Cuppers can go close – after all, these are the best players in the world – I’m of the belief that it’s best to look elsewhere.

And so I’ll start off with Eddie Pepperell (25/1, 8 places), a player who narrowly missed out on Bjorn’s side, but will no doubt be inspired by Europe’s stunning performance.

The Englishman is a links specialist, evidenced by recent performances in The Open and Scottish Open, and he produced his best finish in this event last year when finishing seventh.

Pepperell hasn’t exactly been a prolific winner in his five years on the European Tour, but he’s racked up enough top-10 finishes in recent years, and indeed the past couple of months, to offer excellent each-way value with eight places paid.

Only Alexander Bjork is ahead of Pepperell in Strokes Gained: Approach on tour, and that’s perhaps the most important stat when looking for winners at St. Andrews where driving accuracy isn’t much of a factor – instead, the premium is placed on finding the correct portions of the huge greens. Of course, the players aren’t just playing St. Andrews – they will also play one round each on Carnoustie – where Pepperell finished sixth at The Open in the summer – and Kingsbarns.

This is precisely the sort of test that the 27-year-old thrives on, and I believe he is the pick of the market leaders.

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At a slightly bigger price, Matt Kuchar (40/1, 7 places) looks a touch underrated.

The veteran was part of the American Ryder Cup setup last week as a vice-captain, but I don’t envisage that having any bearing on his performance this week.

The 40-year-old has three top-10 finishes in Open Championships to his name, most recently at Carnoustie this summer, but some will argue that he really could have won the year before at Birkdale when Jordan Spieth staged a miraculous late back-nine comeback.

Kuchar isn’t in particularly great form having failed to make the final two events of the FedEx Cup Play-offs on the PGA Tour, but he’s undoubtedly stepping down in class this week and, at 40/1 with seven places paid, there’s definite value here for a typically classy performer.

Those are Keel’s top tips for the week – but where does he think you can really make some profit this week? His betting tips continue on the next page…

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