Double Delight: Bank on Rory to shine on his Fota debut

Rory McIlroy looks a strong contender for the Irish Open
Rory McIlroy looks a strong contender for the Irish Open

Two decent events on either side of the pond this week and Mike Norman returns with his Double Delight column, hoping Rory McIlroy can do the business in his homeland and anyone of five to go well at the Travelers...

10 x 1pt E/W Doubles

McIlroy @ 5.59/2
Pepperell @ 67.066/1


De Jonge @ 51.050/1
Moore @ 34.033/1
Jacobson @ 41.040/1
Hoffman @ 41.040/1
DeLaet @ 41.040/1

Irish Open (¼ odds, 5 places)

Back Rory McIlroy @ 5.59/2
Back Eddie Pepperell @ 67.066/1

Banking on a 5.59/2 chance who has never set foot in the city he's about to play in, never mind on the golf course, perhaps isn't the best idea but if Rory McIlroy plays anywhere near his best this week then it's impossible not to see him figure in his home Open.

A decent field has been assembled in County Cork but it's not a top class one by any means and McIlroy is by far and away the safest option to be in the shake-up come Sunday afternoon.

That's not to say I believe he's a good bet to win because at the odds I don't think he is. He has been in contention so many times this season and to some extent disappointed, but at the same time he's produced some rounds of golf that have been as good as his best ever career form; his final round at Wentworth last month being one such example.

He beat the cream of Europe that day in the BMW PGA International and with a much weaker field in opposition this week, and a course that I sense will suit his game, McIlroy has to backed for a place at least.

The Northern Irishman has never before played Fota Island but he's relishing the test, knowing that the relatively short parkland venue, with its receptive greens, will yield loads of birdie opportunities. At number six in the world and third on the Race to Dubai standings, playing in front of his home crowd, McIlroy has some huge incentives to do well this week and it's hard to envisage him slipping up.

But slip-up he might, and with myself having a dreadful record when banking on just one player this season then I'm also going to include Eddie Pepperell in this week's selections.

For whatever reason the young Englishman seems to thrive at this time of the year. His good performances 12 months ago - most notably at Wentworth - are well documented but he also won and finished sixth on the Challenge Tour in the month of May two years ago. And this year he's at it again.

Pepperell has been steadily improving as the summer months have approached, registering an upward curve of results - T57, T24, T21, T6 - from late April onwards. If he keeps that curve going in the right direction he's certain to place this week and I fancy him to give it a very good go.

He's played well in excellent company at Wentworth and in Norway recently and at odds of 67.066/1 he rates a live contender to build on his 22nd place finish on his Irish Open debut 12 months ago.

Travelers Championship (¼ odds, 5 places)

Back Brendan de Jonge @ 51.050/1
Back Ryan Moore @ 34.033/1
Back Freddie Jacobson @ 41.040/1
Back Charlie Hoffman @ 41.040/1
Back Graham DeLaet 41.040/1

The PGA Tour has been a tough hunting ground for me this season with only a few places to shout home about, though Bubba Watson was a selection when winning the US Masters so it hasn't all been bad.

I still feel like I need to go in with five selections this week however as it looks like we're set for another wide open affair, and who knows, perhaps yet another shock winner on this most open of Tours.

Lots of birdies and low scores are going to be the order of the day at TPC River Highlands and whenever I think of a man who can go on a birdie barage I think of Brendan de Jonge (51.050/1) so he's my first selection for this event.

The man from Zimbabwe is yet to win on the PGA Tour but that's perhaps a good thing this week as the Travelers has a habit of producing first-time winners and De Jonge is certainly a man who can go on a birdie trail.

And he has form at River Highlands too; he opened with a pair of 67s before falling away last year and 12 months prior he started very slowly before recording rounds of 65-66-66 to finish in a tie for eighth. He's recorded top-30 finishes in each of his last four events and I fancy he will contend this week.

Ryan Moore (34.033/1) tends to be a lot more consistent than De Jonge but he is also very capable of going low on a course where accurate second shots will be rewarded - arguably Moore's biggest strength. He simply has to be a selection this week purely on course form - runner up in 2006 and 2011 and tied seventh last year.

Freddie Jacobson has been a regular play of mine this season though rather frustratingly, not when he's finished in a place. He won this event in 2011 and put up a more than respectable defence a year later when recording a top-10 finish so we know that the course suits his game.

Throw in his nine top-20 finishes on Tour this season and we have a generally consistent performer with a liking for this week's venue - a great combination and at 41.040/1 to back, a perfect each-way candidate.

Another man with decent course form - which may or may not prove key this week - is Charlie Hoffman (41.040/1). He arrives at TPC River Highlands on the back of nine consecutive cuts made and a top-20 finish when last seen at the Memorial, while at this venue he has finished runner-up in 2012 and seventh 12 months ago - all very encouraging ahead of a title challenge come Sunday afternoon.

And last, and perhaps not least, is another man who I have regularly backed this season, Graham DeLaet (41.040/1).

With birdies expected and accurate second shots to be rewarded then the ever-improving Canadian is a man to have on your side. DeLaet leads the PGA Tour's stas for Greens In Regulation, and in the Proximity to Hole list - something I really like - he sits seventh.

After a stunning start to his season (five top-eight finishes by February including two runner-up spots) he went off the boil slightly, but in recent weeks he has shown signs that he is getting back to that form, and with a course that is set to suit his game it may just need a good week with the putter for him to contend throughout.

10 x 1pt E/W Doubles

McIlroy, Pepperell (Irish Open)


De Jonge, Moore, Jacobson, Hoffman, DeLaet (Travelers Championship)

*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

E/W Doubles
Wagered: 262pts
Returned: 184.75pts
P/L: - 77.25pts

Win Singles (1pt win each selection)
Wagered: 90pts
Returned: 120pts
P/L: + 30pts

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