Double Delight: Back links specialists in Scotland and the favourites in America

Thomas Bjorn is one of Mike's picks in Scotland this week
Thomas Bjorn is one of Mike's picks in Scotland this week

After landing a place double last week Mike Norman is confident that he has turned the corner and that this week's selections either side of the pond will give his Double Delight followers an excellent run for their money...

12 x 1pt E/W Doubles

Gallacher @ 41.040/1
Bjorn @ 41.040/1
Karlsson @ 51.050/1
Jimenez @ 67.066/1


Spieth @ 10.09/1
Johnson @ 13.012/1
Moore @ 21.020/1

Scottish Open (¼ odds, 6 places)

Back Stephen Gallacher @ 41.040/1
Back Thomas Bjorn @ 41.040/1
Back Robert Karlsson @ 51.050/1
Back Miguel Angel Jimenez @ 67.066/1

Our recommended each-way doubles returned a small profit last week thanks to 40/1 shot Robert Karlsson placing in France and red-hot Brendon Todd (25/1) finishing in a tie for fourth in America.

Unfortunately there was a large bunch of players tied fourth at the Greenbrier Classic meaning our returns were somewhat reduced, but after a losing spell we're happy to take any profit.

It's rub your hands in excitement time ahead of the next two weeks of action in the UK starting with this week's renewal of the Scottish Open, an event that has deservedly been rewarded with a top class field that includes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, and Lee Westwood amongst others.

None of the above quartet feature in my selections however, though don't despair, all four of my picks can be classed in either (or both) of the proven links or in-form player categories.

My main fancy is Scotland's Stephen Gallacher (41.040/1), and although it's always difficult for a player to win his home Open it's certainly not impossible, just ask Miguel Angel Jimenez.

With little course form to go on we're left mainy to divulge links form, current form, and statistics. Gallacher ticks all three boxes.

The likeable Scot has became one of the very best players in Europe in recent years and this season defended one of the best tournaments on Tour, the Dubai Desert Classic, before going on to record a top-five finish at the high class BMW PGA International. He's also finished second in Sweden recently and was always in contention at the Open de France last week, meaning Gallacher's current form is impossible to knock.

So add in the fact that Gallacher has previously gone well at other links venues such as Gleneagles (second in the Johnnie Walker Championship last year) and the St Andrews/Carnoustie/Kingsbarns rotation (previous winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championsip) then we're on safe ground on that score also.

It's difficult to be certain what stats will be key this week but Scrambling and Putting are usually key on windy links courses, and with Royal Aberdeen being relatively short in length then Greens in Regulation could also be vital. Thankfully Gallacher has excelled in all three departments when contending this season. He looks a solid each-way selection.

Thomas Bjorn (41.040/1) is developing into a 'which side of the bed did he get out of' player this season; get out the wrong side and he throws in some dreadful rounds (French and Spanish Opens for example), but get out the right side and he is capable of producing some stunning golf (day one at Wentworth).

But you get the feeling with Bjorn that the tougher the test, and the stronger the competition, then the better he plays these days.

That in itself is enough to make him worthy of consideration this week but throw in his links pedigree and the fact that in my opinion he is one of the best players in the world in both wind and with a short iron in his hand (could be crucial this week) then he's another player who I'm confident can go well.

At 51.050/1 to back - a bigger price than last week - Karlsson has to be a selection once more. The tall Swede doesn't have an oustanding links CV by any means but he is a previous winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links as well as recording top-10 finishes at Gleneagles and in an Open Championship.

It's more Karlsson's recent form that I'm encouraged about however. At his best he is an outstanding player and in recent weeks there's been signs that he's getting back to that best. Sixth in Sweden last month and fourth in France last week (beaten just two shots) after being +3 early on in the best of the conditions offers plenty of encouragement.

I feel it's almost disrespectful to try and pick through Jimenez's links CV because this a a player who just goes on improving and getting results. It's as if you can just discount anythig he achieved 10 years ago, five years ago, even five months ago - whatever he does, at whatever venue, nothing comes as a surprise anymore.

The extremely popular Spaniard has been in tremendous form this season, winning form to boot, and on a short course that levels matters up a bit against the big hitters I can see Jimenez giving us a very good run for our money at 67.066/1.

John Deere Classic (¼ odds, 5 places)

Back Jordan Spieth @ 10.09/1
Back Zach Johnson @ 13.012/1
Back Ryan Moore @ 21.020/1

The favourites look to have an outstanding chance on the PGA Tour this week and I make no apologies for including three of them in this week's multiples, so I'll keep this brief.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth (10.09/1) looks set to go well in his first ever title defence and even allowing for the extra media attention and off-course duties he'll have in the lead-up to the tournament I still believe he's the man to beat.

Spieth has been in wonderful consistent form this season recording no less than 15 top-25 finishes and seven top-20 finishes from his last eight starts. His performances at both the Masters and the Players demonstrate what an incredible talent this 20-year-old is, so now back at a venue that will hold fond memories in arguably one of the season's weakest fields we can expect Spieth to be in contention throughout.

Some players on Tour, regardless of current form, target certain events and usally play well in them. That is exactly the case with Zach Johnson (13.012/1), and a bit like Spieth, it's impossible to envisage him not contending this week.

Johnson - an Iowa resident - is a former winner of this event (2012) and went very close to defending the title last year meaning he has recorded four top-five finishes at TPC Deere Run since 2009. The course suits his game perfectly and more often than not he will have a short iron in his hand ready to dial in another stunning approach shot. A good week with the putter will see him go close.

Ryan Moore (21.020/1) is given another chance after flopping in the final round of the Travelers Championship when a selection almost three weeks ago.

The Deere Run course should suit this excellent ball-striker's game given that he ranks very highly for both Greens in Regulation and Driving Accuracy on the PGA Tour, so the fact that he has demonstrated good recent form as well as finishing in a tie for eighth here last year augurs well for his chances this week.

12 x 1pt E/W Doubles

Gallacher, Bjorn, Karlsson, Jimenez (Scottish Open)


Spieth, Johnson, Moore (John Deere Classic)

*Each-way doubles are settled on a win-to-win place-to-place basis using Betfair's Sportsbook product and therefore any winnings are exempt from commission

You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

Season P/L

E/W Doubles
Wagered: 310pts
Returned: 205.54pts
P/L: - 104.46pts

Win Singles (1pt win each selection)
Wagered: 111pts
Returned: 120pts
P/L: + 9pts

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