Huge support for the Irish Open is expected once again this year as Ireland continually shows the rest of Europe how Golf events should be supported, it is expected that the attendance this week will likely be the best on tour this season. The punters will have plenty of home grown talent to support, Mcilroy, Mcdowell, Harrington and Lowry lead the home contingent returning to Ireland from far and wide.
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Played over the Montgomerie Course , Carton House in County Kildare for the first time since 2006; what type of test awaits the players this week? A Par 72 at just under 7,300 yards suggests that accuracy will be more important than power this week, although it will also be beneficial to score well on the Par 5’s with 3 of the 4 reachable in 2. Deep fairway bunkers await anyone who hits it offline from the tee; deep bunkers also surround the greens and with wind picking up over days 2 and 3 finding fairways and greens will be key. Those who have a decent GIR %, sand save % and are good putters should have the right mix of skills for the course.
I have stayed away from big guns Mcilroy and Mcdowell, instead picking some players with good recent form who could easily sneak a place.
Thomas Bjorn – 18/1 EW
The most generous price of all the picks across both Men’s events previewed this week, 18/1 is not a huge price but when you consider his excellent performance last week, his win over this course in 2006 and his excellent accurate wedge game which should be a great asset this week. His GIR and sand save % are average, but he is putting well – ranked 32nd in putts per round and would be very surprised if he does not feature on Sunday.
Ross Fisher –28/1 EW
Finished 5th over this course (behind Bjorn) in 2006 and is in excellent ball striking form this, currently lying 6th in GIR% on the US tour, where he has played the majority of his golf this season. Ranked an excellent 18th in putts per round and an even more impressive 5th in sand saves on the European tour, 2 top 10’s and just 1 MC in his last 5 starts, a proven winner who looks primed to perform this week.
Joost Luiten– 40/1 EW
Hugely impressive recent form; including his impressive win in the Lyoness Open, a consistent ball striker, who ranks an excellent 15th in GIR to date this season. He is no great shakes out of the sand but is putting reasonably well, frankly we are relying on Luitens’ customary long game to keep him out of trouble and let him grind out 4 good rounds to beat the rest.
John Parry – 80/1 EW
A player who seems to be stepping up in terms of consistent quality performances this season, an excellent Top 10 in Germany last week followed an impressive 28th place finish at the brutishly difficult Merion, in the US Open. He is a proven winner with wins at the Q school, on the challenge tour and a win on the European tour back in 2010, and seems to have found his feet in earnest this year, ranked top 60 in GIR and Top 40 in sand saves on the European tour this season, should go well on this layout where accuracy is key.
Emiliano Grillo – 150/1 EW
6th in GIR on the European tour, Top 70 in sand saves and 178th in putts per round, hmmm I wonder which part of his game is letting him down! This young Argentinean already has 5 Top 20’s on tour this season, his impeccable ball striking is not yet matched by his putting – just one hot week with the putter could net him a place, or even a win. On a course where GIR is likely to be very important the price appeals for a future star.
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