With the Open Championship just over a week away, the DP World Tour heads to North Berwick for the Scottish Open and Steve 'The Punter' Rawlings has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's start...
Steve says: "As always with a links tournament, previous links form is a huge plus, so the usual rules apply: look at form at this event over the last 10 years, the 2009, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 editions of the Irish Open, the 2019 British Masters from Hillside Links, the Open Championship, and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship for clues. Links golf is unique and those events have all been staged on links courses.
"Stats-wise, putting has been key. Both the playoff protagonists in 2019 putted really well, ranking third and fifth for Putting Average. The 2019 winner, Rai, only ranked 29th for Putting Average, but he was the only player in the top-five to rank outside the top-20 for PA. Last year's winner Lee ranked third for PA. Fitzpatrick, who was beaten in the playoff, ranked first for Strokes Gained Putting.
"Looking at the latest forecasts, a late start on day one may be very slightly beneficial. Wednesday looks very windy but it will die down almost completely during Thursday before picking up again fractionally as Friday progresses...
"Jack Senior went into last week's final round in Ireland in a tie for second place but a miserable 79 in round four saw him finish the week tied for 36th and 14 strokes adrift of his playing partner, the eventual winner, Adrian Meronk.
"Senior led this event 12 months ago after rounds one and two before finishing 10th so he's clearly not one to rely on in the win markets but given his somewhat hidden course and current form, the 11/1 with the Sportsbook about him finishing inside the top-20 looks worth chancing."
Steve's bet: Back Jack Senior for Top-20 Finish @ 11/1 (Sportsbook)
The PGA Tour's heavyweights cross the Atlantic for the Scottish Open and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks for the action at The Renaissance Club...
Dave says: "The one I like at the prices is Jordan Spieth at 28/1. While Spieth has done a great job of peaking for the majors, he's also played some excellent golf in the weeks either side.
"He showed that earlier this year when capturing the RBC Heritage, the post US Masters bash at Hilton Head. Last year he won the week before the US Masters and hopefully the World No.12 can get the job done here with the battle for the Claret Jug starting next Thursday.
"Spieth hasn't teed it up at this course, or indeed in this event, due to it previously clashing with the John Deere. But he's finished fourth (2015, St Andrews) and ninth (2019, Carnoustie) in two of his last three starts in Scotland and loves playing here.
"The three-time major winner got some links golf under his belt with a round at Tralee Golf Club on Sunday, even finding time to neck a pint of Guinness during his round."
Dave's bet: Back Jordan Spieth each-way @ 29.028/1
Will we get another shock winner at the Renaissance Course? Steve Rawlings thinks we might...
Steve says: "Winning back-to-back is unusual and not an easy task but last month's BMW International Open winner, Haotong Li, has already done it twice, so the fact that this is the 26-year-old's first start since his victory in Germany isn't necessarily a negative.
"As highlighted in the preview, the stats at previous renewals around the Renaissance Course tell us that putting is the most important aspect of a player's game around this venue so the fact that Haotong ranked second for Putting Average and 12th for Strokes Gained Putting in Germany is another plus and we know he's a fine links exponent too. Li finished third in his first Open Championship appearance back in 2017."
Steve's bet: Back Haotong Li @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
If you're looking for an early pay-out at this week's main event than look no further than the First Rounder Leader market. Dave Tindall has a trio of picks for Thursday at the Renaissance Club, including a former world number 4.
Dave says: "Rickie Fowler has a strong connection with the Scottish Open. He won this event at Gullane in 2015 and has enjoyed three other top 10s.
"Of course, the argument with him these days is 'that was then but this is now' and Fowler has really struggled over the last few years. But while 72-hole consistency is still a battle, he's still capable of good things.
"Whether this counts as any sort of guide or not is open to debate but his sixth place in a world-class 50-man field at the 36-hole JP McManus Pro Am earlier this week was surely a confidence booster.
"Fowler opened with a 67 to sit second after 18 holes in that Irish event while he was eighth after the opening lap in May's Wells Fargo Championship thanks to a 66.
"There's enough in his profile to suggest the 100/1 for FRL leader here is worth a dabble. Fowler tees off at 12.45."
Dave's bet: Back Rickie Fowler each-way at 101.0100/1
Andy Swales provides the lowdown on the course at the Renaissance Club, the players' form stats and picks his four to watch...
Andy says: "The Renaissance Club is a links course with a little more vegetation than normal, as well as a scarcity of dunes, while water will not be an issue this week. The venue's main defence is its heavily contoured putting surfaces, along with fluctuating coastal wind.
"The Scottish Opens of 2019 and 2021 were also played in July when the winners' under par totals for 72 holes were 22 and 18 respectively. When a rearranged schedule - because of Covid - forced the event to move to early October two years ago, 11 under par was enough to force a play-off. The course has five par-3s and four par-5s.
"For Matt Fitzpatrick this is a British homecoming for the recently-crowned US Open champion. He was runner-up here two years ago."
Andy's Player to Watch: Back Matt Fitzpatrick @ 21.020/1
The Scottish Open features on the PGA Tour for the first time this week, but it's not the only co-sanctioned action in town. Steve Rawlings previews the seventh edition of the Barbasol Championship.
Steve says: "Last week's event, the John Deere Classic, is a low-scoring birdie-fest on bentgrass greens so a decent warm up there should be ideal for this week, and JT Poston has cemented the link now that he's contended strongly at both tracks. He should have won this last year and he won the JDC last week.
"Michael Thompson would have been trading at quite a bit shorter than 80.079/1 had he shot a better round on Sunday at the John Deere Classic, when he fell from 21st to 59th with a 75 in round four.
"We haven't seen a lot from the 2020 3M Open winner since he finished fifth in the Sony Open and 11th in the Farmers Insurance Open at the start of the year, but he's been showing sign of life of late, having finished 25th in the Byron Nelson Championship and 40th in the Charles Schwab before last week and I thought 80.079/1 was fair."
Steve's bet: Back Michael Thompson @ 80.079/1
Dave Tindall has three each-way picks for the action at Keene Trace Golf Club, beginning with a rising star...
Dave says: "I'm going to the front of the market to select Chris Gotterup at 20/1.
"I'm wincing a bit given that he was 80s in an admittedly better field at the John Deere but there's a good chance he's in a different league to most of these rivals.
"Gotterup won the prestigious Fred Haskins Award earlier this year for being the nation's top collegiate golfer. Previous winners include Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay while Matthew Wolff and Sahith Theegala won in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
"A star-studded college career is one thing but has Gotterup been able to make an early impression in his pro career? The answer is a very clear yes. Gotterup was tied seventh at March's Puerto Rico Open on his very first PGA Tour start and then made the cut at the US Open last month, finishing tied 43rd."
Dave's bet: Back Chris Gotterup each-way @ 21.020/1
Check out the form stats for this dual-sanctioned event which takes place at Keene Trace for the fourth time. Andy Swales has the stats and his four to watch...
Andy says: "More than 40 DP World Tour pros have travelled across the Atlantic to tee-up in the Barbasol Championship. As part of a 'pact', which was agreed in the autumn of 2021, the next two events in Kentucky and California will appear on the schedules of both Tours.
"And for the fourth time the Barbasol Championship will take place at Keene Trace Golf Club, which is situated around six miles south-west of Lexington city centre. The Champions' layout at Keene Trace is a rolling parkland course designed by Arthur Hills and opened 35 years ago...
"It's difficult to predict how these run-of-the-mill Europeans will perform in this traditional PGA Tour event, but at least the 32-year-old German Marcel Schneider has been enjoying a solid season on the other side of the Atlantic. There have been six T20s, including twice inside the top-six."
Andy's Player to Watch: Back Marcel Schneider @ 85.084/1