Irish Open Tips: Three to play in the First Round Leader market

Irish golfer Paul Dunne
Paul Dunne can get off to a flyer
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Dave Tindall picks out three players to get onside early at this week's Irish Open...

"The Irishman has come out flying on links tracks and, remarkably, he topped the Thursday leaderboard at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championships."

Back Paul Dunne each-way @ 40/1

*EW Terms: 1/4 Odds | 5 Places

Weather: As of Wednesday morning... it's predicted to be fairly mild with temperatures struggling to touch 60 degrees. Along with the cloud and sunshine are fairly modest winds of 8-10mph. There doesn't seem any obvious morning or afternoon bias.

Make it a Dunne deal

Paul Dunne hasn't quite got it right in his two appearances at his home Irish Open but I fancy a different story this week.

Dunne has been in excellent form this season and his good finishes have often been fuelled by fast starts.

He actually had a piece of the first-round lead in back-to-back starts after opening with a 64 at the Houston Open and a 66 at the Open de Espana.

The Irishman has also come out flying on links tracks and, remarkably, he topped the Thursday leaderboard at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.

He arrives on the back of T21 in the Open de France and said on Tuesday: "I feel like my game got better each day last week, the swing feels quite good. Looking forward to giving it a good go this week."

Dunne, who heads out at 13:10, is 40/1 for FRL.

Harrington can make a mark early

Padraig Harrington will always have an advantage over a large chunk of the field when the European Tour heads to linksland.

He's a two-time Open winner and gave us a recent reminder of his prowess on the links with a top four in last year's Scottish Open.

Harrington opened with a 67 at Dundonald Links to sit second after day one while he was third after the opening lap at Castle Stuart in 2016.

At the Irish Open, he's been in the top 10 following the first 18 holes no less than six times and was leader after day one at Royal County Down three years ago.

Interestingly, despite not carrying it through to the finish, he's also been starting fast on the PGA Tour in recent weeks.

Harrington opened with a 66 to sit T9 after R1 of the Travelers Championship last week and set out with a 68 at St Jude on his previous start. He was also in the top 10 after day one of the Houston Open thanks to a 67.

A morning starter at 08:30, Harrington offers FRL value at 80/1.

Rock can roar out of the traps

Robert Rock is a two-time runner-up at the Irish Open, finishing second at County Louth in 2009 and Carton House in 2013.

He also cracked the top 10 in last year's Scottish Open at Dundonald Links and made the top seven in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

With his links credentials established, he looks ripe for a first-round leader bet at a big price as long as we can find evidence of some quick starts.

The search throws up something straight away as, just two tournaments ago, he opened with a 63 to finish day one at the top of the Italian Open leaderboard.

Also in the top 15 after day one at Wentworth, Rock has played some good golf this year and is worth a play here at 100/1.

He's a morning starter, heading out from the 1st tee at 08:20.

Dave's 2017/18 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)

Staked: £420
Returned: £327.50
P/L: -£92.50
(After the Quicken Loans National)

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