Alfred Dunhill Links Tips: Links form the key for this week's quintet of picks

Golfer Ross Fisher
Ross Fisher is one of five excellent links golf players selected for the Alfred Dunhill Links
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The column went very close to another winner a fortnight ago when Lucas Herbert finished runner-up at 80/1, so the team remain very confident of success as they tackle this week's links test in Scotland...

"Fox finished runner-up at the Irish Open, his best performance to date on the European Tour, and just a week later he contended against at the Scottish Open, eventually finishing T6. He obviously loves a links golf test, and starting his career on the Australasia Tour he'll be well used to playing in windy conditions."

*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 7 Places

Dave Tindall: Back Erik Van Rooyen @ 50/1

Erik Van Rooyen gave us a big clue on Instagram earlier this season that he was relishing the upcoming events played on linksland. And he walked the walk too. Van Rooyen was the 36-hole and 54-hole leader at the Irish Open before finishing fourth and was sixth at halfway in the Open Championship before completing an excellent debut in the event with T17. Encouragingly, he's kept his good form going since and September brought a top five in the Made In Denmark and T11 in the KLM Open despite being outside the top 100 on day one. Although he didn't make much of an impression on his only start here in 2016, at least he went all four rounds (T59) which was okay for a guy ranked 596th in the world at the time and based on his home Sunshine Tour. Compatriot Branden Grace won this event a few years ago, Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els are fantastic links players and South Africans just get this type of golf as they've been brought up in windy conditions. Take the 50/1.

Paul Krishnamurty: Back Callum Shinkwin @ 150/1

For me, there are two particularly useful form guides for the Dunhill Links. Previous renewals, obviously, and the Scottish Open - another easy set-up around a classic links. Callum Shinkwin was runner-up in that Open prelude in 2017 and eighth in 2016. He's a superb ball-striker, who certainly won't mind this week's forecast wind, who evidently enjoys playing links golf. At 119th on the Race to Dubai, this high-class prospect needs to do something fast to preserve full playing rights and there are promising signs, registering consecutive top-20s in Switzerland and Denmark last month. Note also that Callum's best two results of 2018 came when eighth in another high-class birdie-fest, at the Italian Open.

Steve Rawlings: Back Ross Fisher @ 45/1

Having finished runner-up for a second time in this event in 2016, Ross Fisher came in to last year's renewal with uninspiring form figures reading MC-MC-31-MC and he started the tournament slowly too with rounds of 71 and 68. Slow starts are notoriously hard to overcome in this event and he didn't seem to be going anywhere but he couldn't have finished the event any better. He birdied six of his final seven holes on Saturday before skipping around St Andrews in a record-breaking 61 strokes on Sunday. That saw him finish second for the second year in-a-row and for a third time in total and it saw him finish four strokes clear of everyone bar the ridiculously impressive winner, Tyrrell Hatton. Although not in sparkling form, he's playing better than he was 12 months ago and he clearly loves the event. I thought 45/1 was more than fair given he was no bigger than 50/1 12 months ago.

Joe Dyer: Back Padraig Harrington @ 50/1

A trio of wind-whipped, pure links course await the field this week and I can get 50/1 about a former champ, and two-time Open winner, with a runner-up and top-five finish to his name from his last three appearances? Sometimes you can get too clever in this game, and I'm happy to plump for the obvious by backing Padraig Harrington to win another Alfred Dunhill Links. True, Harrington's win in the event came 12 years ago - and those Open wins weren't much more recent - but the links class remains and tough conditions should be in his favour. I do like that recent patch of good form, too, and another strong week will do Harrington's Race to Dubai hopes a very good turn. He's currently 122nd so needs some big results.

Mike Norman: Back Ryan Fox @ 66/1

Like Paul I'm keeping it simple this week and backing a man who has some very strong recent links form to his name in low-scoring links events; Ryan Fox's best performances last season were at the Irish and Scottish Opens where he recorded back-to-back top four finishes. New Zealand's top golfer didn't make too much of an impression on the European Tour in the remainder of the season, and barring a couple of top 10 finishes in Malaysia and Italy he didn't really catch the eye this season either until returning to a links course. Fox finished runner-up at the Irish Open, his best performance to date on the European Tour, and just a week later he contended against at the Scottish Open, eventually finishing T6. He obviously loves a links golf test, and starting his career on the Australasia Tour he'll be well used to playing in windy conditions. His recent form has been fine if not spectacular - four top 40 finishes from five starts since the Scottish Open - and he could well go close to that breakthrough victory this week.

2018 Season P/L to date: + £932.83

- Portugal Masters, Lucas Herbert @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- KLM Dutch Open, Thomas Detry @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Omega European Masters, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 28/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Made In Denmark, Matt Wallace @ 33/1 - WIN (Mike)
- Made In Denmark, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Czech Masters, Andrea Pavan @ 50/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Czech Masters, Lee Slattery @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- US PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka @ 20/1 - WIN (Dave)
- US PGA Championship, Gary Woodland @ 125/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- WGC-Bridgestone, Brooks Koepka @ 25/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- The Open, Tiger Woods @ 30/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Scottish Open, Ryan Fox @ 45/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Irish Open, Russell Knox @ 28/1 - WIN (Dave)
- BMW International Open, Matt Wallace @ 33/1 - WIN (Steve)
- BMW International Open, Martin Kaymer @ 33/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Italian Open, Lee Westwood @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- BMW PGA Championship, Kiradech Aphibarnrat @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Belgian Knockout, Benjamin Hebert @ 50/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Belgian Knockout, Jorge Campillo @ 28/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Rocco Forte Open, Lucas Herbert @ 125/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Golf Sixes, South Korea @ 16/1 - PLACE (Steve & Paul)
- Volvo China Open, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 200/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- US Masters, Bubba Watson @ 16/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Hero Indian Open, Andrew Johnston @ 33/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Oman Open, Jorge Campillo @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Maybank Championship, Shubhankar Sharma @ 60/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Dubai Desert Classic, Alex Levy @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- UBS Hong Kong Open, Paul Peterson @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)

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