There is no other tournament on the European Tour like the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Not only is it the only pro-am event on the schedule but it is also held around three of the most highly regarded links golf courses in the world.
Each of the 168 professionals in the field have been teamed up with an amateur partner. They’ll play a round each together around Kingsbarns, Carnoustie and the course that is at the top of every golfer’s bucket list, the Old Course at St Andrews. There is then a cut at the 54 hole mark before a final round at St Andrews to decide the winner.
Similar But Not the Same
Each of the three host courses this week share similar characteristics. The ground on which they are based is sandy which makes the fairways and greens hard and unreceptive. They’ve each got a number of pot bunkers around the fairways and greens to stop. And then there is the weather. When the wind blows, they all become much tougher tests of golf.
That being said, these are not equally tough courses. Kingsbarns, the newest of the three, ranks as the easiest course to play on year after year. Players will have to go low on the Kyle Philips design because the going is much tougher at Carnoustie. While accuracy and a solid short game are vital, the longer hitters have the opportunity to overpower the Old Course so expect players to come through the field on Sunday.
Fitzpatrick to Bounce Back
Matt Fitzpatrick didn’t have the best first experience of the Ryder Cup. The young Englishman was left on the sidelines on Friday, got beaten 3&2 in the Saturday foursomes and was comprehensively beaten by Brooks Kopeka in the singles.
However, Fitzpatrick should find the going much easier this week. He’ll relish being taken out of the fiery atmosphere of Hazeltine and playing at courses which much better suit his game. He ticks the boxes in terms of dealing with the wind, having a solid short game and being calm enough to deal with a pro-am so back Fitzpatrick at 40/1 with Coral.
Kjeldsen to Utilise Links Form Again
Soren Kjeldsen has had a very good career by most European Tour players’ standards but he’s got a lot to thank links golf for. In 2015 it looked as though his time at the top was petering away before he stunned the Irish Open field by winning at Royal County Down in horrible conditions. That proved he’s got the game to compete around links courses and gave him a great confidence boost. Kjeldsen’s played well ever since and warrants support at 50/1 with Ladbrokes.
Howeller Generous at 100/1
There are no questions about David Howell’s ability to get over the line at the Alfred Dunhill Links. The Englishman picked up the trophy in 2013 and could just repeat the trick three years on. He’s now injury free and playing some good golf so the return to Scotland could just provide the mental boost required for Howell to win at a very big 100/1 with BetVictor.