Find Me a 100 Winner: Westwood can show the way

Golfer Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood - can he start fast in Scotland again?

With the Open Championship now just a week away, Steve's concentrating on the Scottish Open where he fancies a pair of Englishman to go well around the Renaissance Course.

"Lee Westwood is an interesting runner at 130.0129/1 this week given he’s a magnificent links exponent and that he led this event last year after a stunning 62 around the Renaissance Course on day one."

It's never easy to predict how any player will trade throughout a tournament and last week illustrated that perfectly, with two of the three selections contending throughout but only one of them providing a return.

Chris Kirk, who was matched at a low of 7.413/2 during round two of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, comfortably hit the first lay back target of 10.09/1 before eventually finishing tied for 12th. But Richard Bland (was also backed at 130.0129/1 before the off), who finished fourth in the Irish Open, never traded any lower than 15.5, despite hitting the front on Friday.

It was a little frustrating not to get anything out of the Bland trade, but it was an encouraging result all the same so here's hoping we can build on that in Scotland where outsiders have fared quite well of late.

Last year's winner, Aaron Rai, was matched at 150.0149/1 when the market first opened. Huge outsider Benjamin Hebert traded at a low of 1.021/50 before losing a playoff to Bernd Wiesberger two years ago and the 2018 winner Brandon Stone was a 1000.0 chance.

Sullivan set for another strong week in Scotland

As highlighted in the preview, the English have a very fair record in the Scottish Open. As many as three of the last 10 Scottish Open winners have been English and the first three home last year were all English. All three traded at 2.01/1 and below.

Robert Rock, who eventually finished third, was matched at 2.01/1 in-running and Tommy Fleetwood, who was beaten in a playoff by Rai, was matched at a low of 1.3130/100 before becoming the fourth Englishman in five years to finish runner-up. I'm plumping for two Englishmen in this year's renewal and first up is the bang-in-form Andy Sullivan.

The 34-year-old has improving Scottish Open form figures that read 16-MC-MC-62-6-9-MC-28-26 but they should have been even better. In three of the last five renewals, included last year's, Sullivan has entered the final round inside the top-six places and he's failed to move forward on every occasion.

After some cracking recent results (sixth in the British Masters and fifth in the BMW International Open two weeks ago), a similar thing happened last week with Sullivan when he fell from second at halfway to finish 12th in the Irish Open.

Andy Sullivan at Werntworth.jpg

Although he won the English Championship, his fourth European Tour title, by seven strokes last summer, he couldn't be described as bombproof in-contention but that's more than factored in to the price of 120.00119/1 and another solid week looks likely.

Back 2 u Andy Sullivan @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

Westwood can show the way

Lee Westwood is an interesting runner at 130.0129/1 given he's a magnificent links exponent and that he led this event last year after a stunning 62 on day one.

After back-to-back second placed finishes in big events on the PGA Tour in March - at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship - Westwood has cooled off somewhat but he played nicely enough last time out in the US Open, where he eventually finished tied for 46th after a poor round on Sunday.

Westwood was one of my two ante-post picks for next week's Open Championship when I looked at the tournament just before Christmas. It's quite odd to see him available at bigger odds to win this event given he's already shown a liking for the venue.

In 15 attempts, Westwood has never bettered his debut fourth in 1996 in this event but he's most certainly one to look out for in the first round leader market.

Here are his form figures after round one for his last 10 Scottish Open appearances - 5-23-1-7-112-1-68-2-93-1.

He's yet to back up a first round lead the following year, so that's a very slight concern, but with five top-five finishes in his last 10 appearances, he's well worth a flutter at 75.074/1 on the exchange and each-way at 56.055/1 with the Sportsbook.

Back 2u Lee Westwood @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

Back 1u Lee Westwood @ 75.074/1 First Round Leader
1u each-way First Round Leader @ 56.055/1 Sportsbook

Given I've added the extra bets on Westwood in the First Round Leader markets, I'm going to leave it at that this week but there is one I like in the John Deere Classic - which I've previewed here.

Sebastian Munoz.jpg

Sebastian Munoz would have been a pick if his price of 100.0099/1 had held out but he's been backed into 90.089/1 over the last 24 hours or so. The Colombian is a strong putter with a recent high finish in an event that correlates nicely (third at the Charles Schwab Challenge) so I can see why he's been supported.

I'll be back on Thursday evening or Friday morning with the In-Play Blog.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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