GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Irish Open from Lahinch on the European Tour.
Irish Open | 4th-7th July 2019 | Sky Sports
- Lahinch Golf Club, Munster, Ireland
- Old Tom Morris design, Alistair MacKenzie redeisgn
- Par 70 – 7,036 yards
- A proper links test – traditional, testing, undulating.
- Knee-high rough but wide fairways
- Horrible bunkering
- Fast greens
- Some blind shots
- Links form ultimately key plus recent form in tournaments such as the British Masters and Qatar Masters
- Putting an emphasis on elite ball-striking, elite scrambling and bogey avoidance
- Scandinavians and Brits get an edge
Thorbjorn Olesen (40/1 Boylesports)
Had Olesen been in a rich vein of form then I would expect him to be sub 33/1 here so we're getting some great value regardless of how this week ends for the Dane.
Statistically speaking he hasn't been better than average but that doesn't tell the whole story. He's been plying his trade on the PGA Tour with the new major schedule for the most part and obviously the talent there is a lot better.
Over on this tour, with most of the world's elite absent, he is one of the best players in the field. He recorded a T10 at the BMW International last time out after back-to-back missed cuts showing some life in him. He's also won the Dunhill Links in Scotland and regularly contends in Qatar. Being from Scandinavia helps with this sort of test having played in windy conditions a lot. I like his chances this week.
Jordan Smith (40/1 Boylesports)
Just like Olesen, Smith is probably one of the best talents in the field barring the obvious. His form has been nothing short of outstanding this year and it really is the win he's lacking. Smith has recorded five top-15s in his last six events – including a 6th at Hillside.
He rates out as one of the best in the field statistically which only carries some weight but all the more, it is worth considering – 1st for bogey avoidance, 18th for SG:App and 41st for scrambling
Aside from this year's British Masters showing his links form has been pretty poor but I'm willing to take that risk and take it on. He pops in the Middle East more than anywhere and there is often a link between those courses and a links test.
Robert MacIntyre (80/1 SkyBet)
I was thinking of holding back on Bobby Mac till next week's home links test but I fear if he plays well this week any value will be gone.
MacIntyre has gone close twice this year to recording his maiden European Tour victory – at two courses that could hint to this event with the Made in Denmark and the British Masters. Denmark comes with the wind element while the British Masters was played on a links course.
He hasn't gone off the boil completely as he is still making cuts maybe a return to this sort of test is to his liking. He ranks 23rd for scrambling, 34th for SG:App and 10th for bogey avoidance. He should go well this week.
Alexander Bjork (80/1 Boylesports)
The Swede is one of the best ball-strikers on the European Tour (currently is 41st for SG:App) but can often be hard to get right. His scrambling skills (5th on tour) and the fact he is Scandinavian take huge appeal here – wind and other elements won't be a concern as he's grown up on this sort of track all his life.
His form has been pretty good despite having a scarce presence on tour this season. If you ignore a missed cut at the USPGA Championship he's managed three top-25s – T9/T19/MC/T25. His ability to minimise mistakes is also a prime asset for this course (20th for bogey avoidance).
He's finished 2nd in the British Masters and has a handful of top-20s in both the Irish and Scottish Open. He's better than a 80/1 shot.
Oliver Wilson (125/1 Boylesports)
Hanging on that British Masters and Qatar link, Oli Wilson performed well on both this season with a 2nd in Qatar and 8th at Hillside. A T4th in Denmark also appeals making me want to disregard poor form on most of the courses since – they aren't a fit for him as much as this week.
Wilson is another winner of the Dunhill Links and has some of the best pedigree of all our staking plan this week – yet is the longest shot – 25th for both scrambling and bogey avoidance as well as bring a supreme ball-striker, I'll take all of the 125/1 here especially with the places on offer!
Irish Open – Thorbjorn Olesen (40/1 each-way Boylesports)
Irish Open – Jordan Smith (40/1 each-way Boylesports)
Irish Open – Robert MacIntyre (80/1 each-way SkyBet)
Irish Open – Alexander Bjork (80/1 each-way Boylesports)
Irish Open – Oliver Wilson (125/1 each-way Boylesports)