Irish Open First-Round Leader Tips: Lorenzo-Vera can mount early bid

Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera
Mike Lorenzo-Vera can start fast

The European Tour heads to Ireland and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at Mount Juliet...

"The Frenchman has banked a piece of the first-round lead on four occasions at this level while he managed it five times on the Challenge Tour."

Back Mike Lorenzo-Vera E/W @ 101.0100/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Mount Juliet: Well, this isn't exactly cold and windy links weather. Mount Juliet is inland and temperatures could reach a high of 24 degrees celsius on Thursday afternoon. It's pleasant in the morning too. Winds are very light for the early starters, rising towards 8-10mph around 3pm.

First-round leader history at the Irish Open:

2020 - Aaron Rai, Jordan Smith, Dean Burmester (65)
2019 - Padraig Harrington (63)
2018 - Ryan Fox (67)
2017 - Daniel Im, Benjamin Hebert (64)
2016 - Danny Willett (65)
2015 - Max Kieffer, Padraig Harrington (67)
2014 - Mikko Ilonen (64)

Strategy: It's nice golfing weather all day but the very light winds in the morning persuade me to go for a 2:1 split and pick two from the early wave.

Make it Mike

Mike Lorenzo-Vera's bid to win a European Tour title for the first time has been a continuing drama but he's not felt the same tension in first rounds.

In fact, the Frenchman has banked a piece of the first-round lead on four occasions at this level while he managed it five times on the Challenge Tour.

He's had some low opening rounds in this event too. MLV has teed it up in six previous Irish Opens and twice he's ended day one in third place.

The latest came last year when he opened with a 65 at Lahinch.

His current form, driven by some fine approach play, has gone up a notch in the last month and, if the putter comes to the table too, low rounds await.

Lorenzo-Vera showed that with middle 66s in the Canary Islands Championship and a closing 64 in the British Masters.

Take the 08:40 starter at 100/1.

Jump in for Jordan

Jordan Smith is a player known for starting fast and he held the first-round lead in the 2020 Irish Open after a 65.

That came just three tournaments after he'd set the pace at the Wales Open so there's a history there for bursting out of the blocks on UK shores.

He's not managed a low one on Thursday in recent times but clearly his form is good: Smith has finished 17-3-11 in his last three regular European Tour starts and closed out the Made In Himmerland with a 65.

Smith went on to finish tied seventh in last year's Irish Open while he also cracked the top 20 in the 2017 edition.

His latest SG: Tee To Green numbers are strong and reliable so a good day with the flatstick and he can turn that into something in the mid-60s.

The Englishman, who starts off at 09:00, is 66/1 for FRL.

Count on Kalle

For my afternoon punt, I'll have a whirl on Kalle Samooja at 95/1. He heads off at 13:50.

The main thrust here is that he's had a string of quick starts on the European Tour, and on a variety of different courses.

Let's reel his 18-hole positions off: second at the Qatar Masters and Kenya Open, third at the Scandinavian Mixed on his latest start, sixth at both the Tenerife Open and Canary Islands Championship and ninth at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Overall, he's been in the top six after 18 holes in five of his last eight events: that's some strike-rate.

Samooja can't bring any Irish Open form to the mix as he missed the cut on his only start in 2019 but that was at a different venue.

And it's encouraging to see that Samooja has posted tied ninth and tied 20th in two Scottish Open appearances: he was fifth after round one in both those events.

The price on this proven fast starter looks a good one.

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles