EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 8 Places
Jorge Campillo enters this week ranked fifth on the Race to Dubai so there's an immediate argument that he's a spot of value at 50/1. Since the start of March, the Spaniard has racked up five top-three finishes, highlighted by a first European Tour win when landing the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco. There was a brief pause in his run of excellent results but he's hit back with T15 and T7 in the last two weeks. The only real question is can he play links golf? He certainly showed he could with rounds of 69-64-69-66 for seventh place in last week's Irish Open while he was tied eighth in this event at Castle Stuart in 2016 when not the player he is now. That result could be significant as local Scottish pro, Grant Forrest, has likened this week's course, The Renaissance Club (opened 2008), with Castle Stuart, describing them both as modern links with big undulating greens. Campillo hit over 80% of greens in regulation last week (ranked third) and a repeat of that strong iron play could take him far.
Following a surprising missed cut in Ireland when widely tipped, Erik Van Rooyen's odds might be inflated. Every leading South African to emerge in the last 30 years went on to make an impact at the highest level - winning majors or at least going very close. There's plenty of evidence from his early form on either side of the Atlantic that Van Rooyen will do the same and links golf looks a particular forte. He led through 54 holes of last year's Irish Open and contended for a long way in the Open Championship at Carnoustie on what was his major debut. His best 2019 results were at exposed courses that correlate very well with links, when runner-up in the Trophee Hassan and Qatar Masters. He's reinforced that positive impression with cuts made in his first two US majors, including a fine eighth place in the USPGA.
It takes a leap of faith to back anyone after four missed cuts in-a-row but Lucas Bjerregaard has found form from nowhere before and he's a juicy enough price to chance this week. On the last occasion that he missed four straight weekends he placed at the China Open next time out, rewarding followers of this column last year at 200/1. A missed cut at Lahinch was confirmed with a double-bogey six at the 10th last Friday but he picked up a couple of birdies before hitting an eagle on the 18th and he might just be raring to get going again this week. The last time we saw Lucas in Scotland he won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last October so this week's test won't faze him one bit.
Two 2018 events on the European Tour suggested that Andrea Pavan had more than a little love for links golf and I'll stick him in as one of this week's long shot plays at a three figure price. The Italian, a two-time winner, signalled his ability to play seaside golf with a 14th place in this event last year which was followed by a fifth at the Alfred Dunhill Links. Pavan secured his second Tour win at he BMW International only last month and while he has missed two cuts since has not disgraced himself on either outing, only missing out by a solitary shot last week when joined by his family at Lahinch. And as our expert Steve Rawlings tells us a missed cut at the Irish does not have much of a bearing on this week's performance so Pavan is not without a hope despite going off at 110/1.
A lack of some significant Links golf form is a concern for my selection this week, and as the odds suggest Mikko Korhonen is far more likely to finish way down the field than he is up and around the top eight places, but I felt 150/1 - joint industry best - was simply too big for a multiple, recent winner. Just over 12 months ago Korhonen won the Shot Clock Masters before finishing runner-up at the BMW International Open a week later. Those results took the Finn into the world's top 100 and he's stayed around those positions ever since, though he reached a career-high of 84 in the world when winning the China Open just four outings ago. He was bang in contention at halfway at the Valderrama Masters a fortnight ago suggesting he's still holding his form, and a decent showing at the Qatar Masters - a tournament that often correlates well with links form - earlier this season offers hope that he can go well on the Scottish links this week.