Scottish Open 2018: Back these five guys for the Gullane test

Golfer Paul Dunne
Paul Dunne can play the links game
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The BB Golf column put up another winner last week when Russell Knox obliged for Dave Tindall and we have another quintet to consider for the Scottish Open...

"There may be some juice in Paul Dunne's odds in the wake of a slightly disappointing week on home soil. The Irishman is improving fast, impacting both main tours and evidently well-suited to links golf - having led an Open through 54 holes an amateur and finished seventh in last year's Dunhill Links."

*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 7 Places

Dave Tindall: Back Alexander Bjork @ 50/1

After the little dip that inevitably follows the breakthrough first win, Alexander Bjork looks ready to throw in another really big performance. April's China Open winner has reminded us of his talents with T8 (Open de France) and T14 (Irish Open) in the last two weeks and is up to 14th in the Race to Dubai. Scrambling was a key asset at Gullane in 2015 and Bjork is 14th in that category on the European Tour this year, ranking third for Scrambling at Le Golf National and 11th at Ballyliffin. The rather inflated 50/1 is probably due to a lack of standout form in links golf yet. But the key word is 'yet'. The Swede was T35 on his Scottish Open debut at Dundonald Links last year and cracked the top 15 in Ireland on Sunday after a closing 69 so he's learning fast. This looks a good chance to get him at a tasty price.

Paul Krishnamurty: Back Paul Dunne @ 50/1

There may be some juice in Paul Dunne's odds in the wake of a slightly disappointing week on home soil. The Irishman is improving fast, impacting both main tours and evidently well-suited to links golf - having led an Open through 54 holes an amateur and finished seventh in last year's Dunhill Links. Dunne looks bound to make an impact in such an event soon and may improve in Scotland, without carrying the weight of home expectations. When the Scottish Open was last held at Gullane, the key to success was short-game excellence. Dunne has no problems on that score, ranking 13th and tenth respectively for scrambling and putting average among this field over the past year

Steve Rawlings: Back Chris Wood @ 40/1

Nothing prepares a golfer for links golf better than a week of competitive links golf, which is why we have such a stellar line-up for this week's Scottish Open with the Open Championship looming large on the horizon. I'm actually quite surprised a few other star names aren't in the line-up given six of the last eight Open winners warmed up in this event the week before they won, and it doesn't surprise me to see that seven of the top-eight in this tournament 12 months ago had warmed up in the Irish Open at the Portstewart Links in Ireland the week before. Last year was the first time the Irish Open on a links layout preceded the Scottish Open on a links course so it's a brand-new trend but it's one I expect to see boosted so I've largely concentrated on players that played at Ballyliffin last week and the one I like best at the prices is Chris Wood. A superb links exponent, Wood did well to finish as high as 14th last week after the disappointment of narrowly missing out on victory in France the week before and he looks fairly priced at 40/1.

Joe Dyer: Back Jorge Campillo @ 50/1

Jorge Campillo's golden 2018 continued last week with a third-place at the Irish Open. That's now six finishes of fifth or better in the calendar year, plus one further top 10. It's a wonderfully consistent run of high level golf and it's no flash in the pan as his first of those top fives came back in February. No wonder Campillo sits 10th on the Race to Dubai rankings. His third place last week seems to confirm a growing love for the links game - the Spaniard was eighth in the Scottish Open in 2016 and 26th in this event last year - so I have few qualms about backing him again at a classic, wind-battered seaside track. A long and straight driver, accurate from the fairways and one of the best putters on tour, Campillo has the tools to contend this week and the 50/1 is enough to tempt me in given the consistent excellence he has shown this year.

Mike Norman: Back Ryan Fox @ 45/1

Missing fairways at last week's Irish Open generally resulted in trouble, but in the case of Ryan Fox taking the aggressive approach nearly paid the ultimate dividend. The powerful Kiwi ranked outside of the top 30 for Driving Accuracy, but no player in last week's field hit the ball further off the tee, and that meant when Fox did miss a fairway he was more times than not close enough to still have a shot at the green. In fact as well as ranking number one for Driving Distance at Ballyliffin he also ranked third for Greens in Regulation, and that bodes extremely well ahead of this week's trip to Gullane. Fox was extremely unlucky not to win last week, but his second place finish means he's now been placed in all of his last three visits to either the Irish or Scottish Open so links golf is clearly right up his street. His confidence must be sky high, and he should be licking his lips at the prospect of over-powering what is a relatively short course this week by modern day standards. At 45/1, I'm happy to take a chance that his strong links form continues.

2018 Season P/L to date: +£381.00

- 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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