Golf Form Guide: Back to form Fisher can gain overdue win

Back from the doldrums - Ross Fisher has looked close to being back to his best in recent weeks

Mike Norman isn't excited one bit about this week's PGA Tour event, but up in Scotland our man fancies a bang in-form player who looks close to being back to his very best...

"There’s arguably no player in hotter form than Fisher currently, he’s performed well on links courses in the past, and he recorded back-to-back top-10 finishes in this event - albeit at Loch Lomond - in 2009 and 2010."

It was nice to see gritty German Marcel Siem gain a much deserved win at last week's Open de France, but again, he's a player that we backed in consecutive weeks just a couple of months ago.

We'll perhaps tweak the Form Guide for next season so that it includes players who performed well prior to the current 'six-week' qualifying period.

With the Open Championship getting underway next week the attention of the golfing world very much turns to the links course at Castle Stuart for this week's Scottish Open. This event was hit by terrible weather conditions last year, and looking at the forecast for the next few days it's fingers crossed that they don't have a repeat.

European Tour - Scottish Open

(Tournaments used: Open de France, Irish Open, BMW International Open, US Open, Nordea Masters, Wales Open)

Ross Fisher (4)... 21 (T10 2010, T10 2009)
Marcel Siem (2)... 19
Raphael Jacquelin (1)... 14
(T5 2010, T5 2009)
Thongchai Jaidee (2)... 14
Francesco Molinari (2)... 13
Paul McGinley (2)... 12.5

*number in brackets after a player's name is the number of top-10 finishes achieved in last six weeks/tournaments on tour
**information after a player's points relates to wins (W), top-five (T5) and top-10 (T10) finishes in corresponding tournament in previous three years. Please note, the 2009 and 2010 versions of the Scottish Open were played at Loch Lomond

As soon as the market opened for this event I looked out for the name of Ross Fisher as he's a player that usually performs really well on courses that offer plenty of birdies. And plenty of birdies is definitely what this course offers, especially if your game is in good order like Fisher's seems to be.

The rejuvenated Englishman has now recorded four consecutive top-10 finishes on the European Tour including a second place finish at the Nordea Masters a few weeks ago. There's arguably no player in hotter form than Fisher currently, he's performed well on links courses in the past, and he recorded back-to-back top-10 finishes in this event - albeit at Loch Lomond - in 2009 and 2010.

Fisher rates a confident selection to give us an excellent run for our money.

With world number one Luke Donald (8.88/1), a seemingly back to form Padraig Harrington (18.5), and star names like Ernie Els (30.029/1) and Phil Mickelson (34.033/1) in the field this week there's plenty of tasty odds on offer for regular European Tour members. And the two that catch my eye are Raphael Jacquelin and Paul McGinley, both available to back at 100.099/1.

Jacquelin has been pretty much out of sorts this season, until last week that is. The Frenchman, perhaps buoyed by home support, finished in an excellent third position at Le Golf National, and that augers well for a man who has recorded two top-five finishes in this event in the last three years.

A bit like Fisher, McGinley has enjoyed a welcome return to form in recent weeks, recording three top-seven finishes in a short space of time. The Irishman seems to be putting better than ever and if that assumption stands up this week then I can see this proven links player going really well at a big price.

Recommended Bets: Ross Fisher @ 28.027/1, Raphael Jacquelin @ 100.099/1, Paul McGinley @ 100.099/1

PGA Tour - John Deere Classic

(Tournaments used: Greenbrier Classic, AT&T National, Travelers Championship, US Open, St Jude Classic, The Memorial)

Two aspects stand out ahead of this week's John Deere Classic field. The first is that it is a pretty weak line-up by PGA Tour standards with few 'in-form' players in attendance, and the second is the price of Steve Stricker (8.615/2) to win this tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

One of the biggest traps you can fall into in golf betting - in my opinion only of course - is backing 'out-of-form' golfers just because they are returning to a venue they've previously played well at. Martin Kaymer was a good example last week - excellent course form but poor current form. The result was another miserable performance from the German. The same can be said about Tiger Woods at Firestone during the last two years for example.

I'm not saying Stricker definitely won't win as his form has to turn around sometime, and what better place to do so than at a venue where he's won for the last three years. What I am saying is his price is wrong. Backing a relatively out-of-form player at just 8.615/2 is not my cup of tea one bit, regardless of the venue.

I haven't included any ratings this week as there are very few 'Form Guide' players in attendance, but two players who I've backed regularly this season and were in decent form not so long ago - Ryan Palmer and DA Points - are worth a small wager.

Recommended Bets: Ryan Palmer @ 30.029/1, DA Points @ 130.0129/1

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