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Dunhill Links Championship

Who to back at the Dunhill Links Championship

Our betting expert is expecting familiar faces to be challenging at the top of the leaderboard this week
 

Dunhill Links betting: Steve’s top tips

Rory McIlroy (7/1) shot 64 and 63 on the weekend at Close House and didn’t win. He can, though, bring the curtain down on 2017 in fine fashion at the Dunhill Links Championship.

The Northern Irishman clicked into gear during the second half of the British Masters and, importantly, enjoyed the pressure of contention again.

He didn’t take a backward step and birdied five of the last seven holes. Only Paul Dunne’s brilliance prevented him bagging a first win of the season.

With the putter in good touch, and McIlroy’s exceptional long game always likely to put him in strong position, you’d fancy he has to be in the frame.

While he’s not won the Dunhill, he’s played well in this tournament – which takes in rounds at the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.

He was 2nd in 2009 and runner-up again in 2014 – the last time he played.

Now, I’m sure many of you out there don’t like the price. Neither do I. Should it blow, there’s always question marks about McIlroy in the wind.

Dunhill Links Championship

So I’m also looking at Chris Wood (25/1) to have a strong week. Wood played pretty nicely at Close House – hovering around the fringes but unable to get anything going on the final day.

A 71 looks horrible in the light of some of the low scores struck round the Newcastle venue but – like Lee Westwood in his group – he just couldn’t get the putts to drop.

He’s got really solid form in the Dunhill Links Championship and I tend to believe the format of this event – it’s a week-long pro-am – means decent performances that are repeated are significant.

In his last three appearances, Wood has finished 7th, 9th and 4th.

Dunhill Links betting: Steve’s each-way bet

Dunhill Links Championship

A very small play on the German and it’s judged on past performances only. Martin Kaymer (40/1) has no real European Tour form to go on. His top 20 at Close House was his best since March.

But he absolutely loves this tournament. He won it in 2010 and has finished 7th, 12th and 6th recently.

Last year’s top 10 came on the back of a similarly uninspired spell. There were enough signs of life at the British Masters to merit a minor investment.

Dunhill Links betting: Steve’s outsider pick

Dunhill Links Championship

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (80/1) looked like making a major run at the British Masters – striking a couple of early blows before fading away to a 69 on Sunday.

That gave him a top 20 finish and he can build on that at a tournament where he was 4th the last time he played in 2015.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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