Sarah Stirk: Game time will aid Rory but the Americans hold a strong hand
Sky Sports golf presenter Sarah Stirk takes a look at this week's Scottish Open where she believes Rory McIlroy is out to restore some confidence but a bunch of Americans look primed to contend...
"Fowler's genius is his creativity and short game skills, something much needed around this layout."
It's the fourth event of the Rolex series this week in Scotland and the big names keep on coming! With a minimum purse of $7,000,000 for each of the eight premier tournaments it guarantees world class fields and this week is no exception.
Rory out to restore some confidence
Rory McIlroy returns to action after his missed cut at the Irish Open and has talked about how he's not too far away. I'm looking at this week as a confidence building week for the former world number one and if he can get some good feelings on the greens it bodes well for Birkdale.
The big thing is he is playing three straight weeks and we all know he needs game time right now.
Dundonald set to suit Fowler's genius
I love Rickie Fowler's chances every time he turns up at the Open Championship and I love his chances on Scottish soil. As a former winner of the Scottish Open back in 2015 at Gullans he loves coming back here to compete.
Fowler's genius is his creativity and short game skills, something much needed around this layout. Designed by Kyle Phillips, the man behind Kingsbarns, it demands imagination around the greens from some extremely tight lies, and there aren't many better in the business than the American. I do think this week's course presents a fairly generous modern twist on a classic Scottish links and there will be plenty of scoring opportunities available.
I'm staying away from the three marquee players in terms of my betting though (Rory, Rickie and Henrik), here are my picks for the week.
Sarah's Selections - Scottish Open
Patrick Reed - [25.0]
I talked to him at the US Open and he was enthused about his game, he felt like he was starting to really hit form again. He had a good week at Erin Hills and a good week at The Travellers Championship and I'm excited about his chances here. He's recorded top 25s in seven of his last eight starts. He also loves Scotland and collected a top-10 in this event last year when he closed with a pair of 67s. He's got to find fairways this week, a statistic key to his success.
Peter Uihlein - [48.0]
A runner up in 2013 in the Alfred Dunhill Links, and a top-10 at Castle Stuart in 2013 at the Scottish Open show the American loves golf north of the border. He has masses of experience having played in Europe for a number of years, and there's no doubt he's been inspired by his good friend Brooks Keopka winning his first major. Uihlein has also been playing well finishing second and 14th in his last two starts.
Richie Ramsay - [70.0]
I was torn between going for a third American in Matt Kuchar or a home player, Richie Ramsay, and opted for the latter! It's been a tough start to the year but confidence is sky high for Ramsay right now coming off a runners up finish in Ireland. Nothing like home support to keep the momentum going here this week.