Paul Krishnamurty marks your Scottish Open card with three outsider selections at odds well beyond 100/1, along with a few alternative outsiders...
"These dismissive odds appear to be a classic over-reaction to short-term form. Paisley started the year with a maiden win, then followed up with top-fives in elite company in the Gulf. He was bang in contention through 54 holes in Germany, just three starts ago."
Back Chris Paisley @ [320.0]
Check this tournament specialist creeping into form
With such strong, world-class opposition guaranteed every year, the Scottish Open is never an easy target for Euro Tour regulars. One man who has repeatedly given the elite a run for their money is Raphael Jacquelin, who has also been noted creeping into a bit of form.
Jacquelin has recorded a quintet of top-nine finishes, twice as runner-up. Once at Loch Lomond before the event switched to a links and again, crucially, at this week's venue Gullane in 2015. The Frenchman also boasts plenty of links form in the Open, Dunhill Links and last week when tenth at Ballyliffin. He topped the greens in regulation stats around that tricky Irish links, which bodes particularly well for this course with its small greens.
Scrambling and putting are the keys to Gullane success
Besides hitting those targets, the key to success at Gullane is what you do on and around the greens. Looking back at the 2015 numbers, it is hard to recall such a stark emphasis on scrambling and putting. Moreover as Steve Rawlings explains in his comprehensive preview, performance off the tee seemed irrelevant. Both of my final picks are selected precisely because short game is their forte.
Never known for his consistency off the tee, Coetzee has always excelled at short game, and ranks 32nd and second respectively for scrambling and putting average amongst these over the past 12 months. A winner as recently as March during the middle of an impressive run, the South African is hinting at form, closing with 67 in France before finishing 24th in Ireland last week.
Can he play links well enough? I've thought so ever since he was 15th on his Open debut at Turnberry back in 2011, despite an untimely quadruple bogey, if memory serves. He was also third in this event in 2012, fifth at a Dunhill Links and made the top-20 in the Open at Hoylake. Plus as a fine Qatar Masters records demonstrates, Coetzee excels in the wind so won't mind if the breeze gets up over the weekend as forecast.
Market too quick too dismiss progressive Paisley
Again, here's a player who does most of his best work on and around on the greens. He ranks 18th and 21st amongst these for scrambling and putting average, which very much belies his relatively inferior status. That has always been the case throughout his short, progressive career.
These dismissive odds appear to be a classic over-reaction to short-term form. Paisley started the year with a maiden win, then followed up with top-fives in elite company in the Gulf. He was bang in contention through 54 holes in Germany, just three starts ago. He's performed well on exposed tracks and both 13th at Castle Stuart in 2016 and 12th as a rookie in the 2013 Dunhill Links bode well enough for this links challenge.
Regarding alternatives, I spent most of last week regretting eliminating [300.0] chance Joakim Lagergren from the plan and history could well repeat itself. The Swede evidently enjoys links golf and remains of interest at [190.0]. On the Irish Open evidence, so does Matthieu Pavon [220.0], who was also third at Dundonald last year.
One player I did back without any success in Ireland was Soren Kjeldsen [160.0]. That surprisingly poor weekend puts me off but otherwise this Scotland specialist has exactly the right links and short game credentials. Finally Nicolas Colsaerts [190.0] is another with excellent tournament form but this course may not be ideal.