The annual warm-up event to The Open has, once again, managed to attract a field of top quality players to the picturesque course at Loch Lomond. 10 of the World's top 30 are in attendance and no fewer than 11 Major champions are taking part, including the newly crowned (and previous Scottish Open winner) Graeme McDowell.
The course is a cracker and, with good weather, hitting greens and making putts on the slick, fast surface can turn this tournament into a putting competition...you could be excused for loading the predictor with just these stats and getting stuck into a flat-stick specialist. Naturally there's a bit more to it than that! By Thursday we'll have a low pressure system moving through the north of Scotland which will feed in regular, squally showers and blustery winds at times - certainly not fair-weather golf! For me this will put a higher premium on ball-striking and less so on the putter. Some other facts to consider before making your final selections:
- No player has ever successfully defended their Scottish Open title (Martin Kaymer won last year)
- Despite the prevalence of Americans taking part this week in preparation for The Open, only Phil Mickelson (2007) has finished inside the top 4 in the last 6 years.
- No-one over 40 has won the Scottish Open in the last 10 years and each winner in that time had previously won a European Tour event in their career.
- Winners have been in cracking recent form: Kaymer won the previous week prior to making it back to back wins; McDowell (2008), Havret (2007) and Clark (2005) had all finished inside the top 3 in their previous event; 2006 winner Johan Edfors had won twice in the season before sealing a hat-trick in Scotland.
So, for me, the winner is a young(ish) non-American, a winner on Tour and in very good recent form. Good ball striking is essential, plus a bit of course experience and form to top it all off. You can see how I've translated this into my predictor variables here: Scottish Open Predictions. My tips then are as follows:
The younger of the Molinari brothers ticks every box for me here - so much so that the remainder of my tips aren't on the outright market. The 27 year old Italian is a previous winner on Tour (Italian Open 2006 - also won by recent Loch Lomond winners GMac in 2004 and Havret in 2001) and lost out in last week's playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez with 4 rounds in the 60s. Finished 3rd in Madrid and 4th in Andalucia earlier this term - there's a clear progression of form for me and this could well be the week he gets his second victory.
Molinari has course form too, finishing 6th here in 2008 behind GMac where a 72 in round 3 scuppered his chances. If the weather is reasonably tough then his ball striking (10th on Tour for accuracy and 11th for GIR) will set him in good stead. To top it all, his putting is improving too - the 18 footer he nailed to keep Jimenez honest on the first playoff hole last week is testament to that. RESULT: T4
All of the golfing column inches in the last few weeks have quite rightly been about GMac. The 2008 winner here is another who ticks all the boxes however, for me, I think he'll hold a little back to St Andrews. That's not to say he won't be in the mix so, with Extrabet paying out for 5 places & ties, 9/2 is a cracking price for a place. RESULT: T21
The odds have been tumbling on Bjorn this week as the weather forecast has crystalised - another previous winner who, if his incredible victory in near gale-force winds in Portugal is anything to go by, will handle the conditions with aplomb. 13/2 is a truly outlying price as he's as short as 100/30 elsewhere - if you fancy this then jump in quickly as it won't be there long! RESULT: Missed Cut
Jaidee showed some promise earlier this term before going off the boil somewhat. Some semblance of form in the last few weeks without really troubling those compiling the leaderboards. It's first round leader which interests me here though - Jaidee led after round 1 in China and was a shot off the lead in Malaysia, plus he led this event in 2008 after the first round with a 64; he also shot 66 here in round 1 in 2005. Jaidee is as short as 55/1 with some bookies to win this event - him to be leading after round 1 is more realistic and 100/1 is a cracker! RESULT: T5
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 19:45BST 6.7.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
Don't miss our 'double your money' top 20 tips for this event - another result last week and 116% profit!!