GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Scottish Championship.
Scottish Championship | 15th-18th October 2020 | Sky Sports
The European Tour remains in the United Kingdom for the final time this season as a new event takes centre stage this week, the Scottish Championship, which will be held at The Torrance Course at Fairmont St. Andrews (not to be confused with the famed Open venue).
Just off the coast of east Scotland, Fairmont is a modern links test – one that's been moulded, so it's more like the Renaissance than it is Carnoustie. It's a par 72 measuring around 7,230 yards at the tips.
We head into this on the back of a couple of near misses, though Justin Suh managed to sneak a place at 200/1 so we'll take it but what sort of player will we be targeting in this week's staking plan?
I think one important factor could be form on correlating courses, that's on the handful already mentioned above as well as the likes of Qatar, which has always produced fine links players as well as Oman, Mauritius and Portugal which are all often held on the coast. Not forgetting other links tests across the UK.
From reading snippets about the course, those that can control their power off-the-tee may have an advantage whilst solid ball-strikers with a cracking short-game will also have to be considered here. The weather, at the time of writing, looks calm but that could quickly change.
We have got a decent field here this week with Matt Wallace and Lee Westwood the two firm favourites across the board, though if I were to pick someone from the front it would be Eddie Pepperell at 16s. However, he narrowly misses out on that skinny price given he was three-figures before back-to-back top tens.
Connor Syme (28/1 Betfair)
Instead, we'll begin with a Scotsman who we've backed before in Connor Syme (28/1 Betfair)
. He enjoyed a run of T19-T3-T8 across three UK swing events and then another T8 at a tough Valderrama.
Earlier in the season and towards the back end of last, Syme notched top tens in Oman and Mauritius. It doesn't stop there either as he's shown up in Portugal and at the Alfred Dunhill Links, which is a tournament which would perhaps be played instead of this one at this time of the year.
Syme is one of the best for Total Driving, meaning he is super long and super accurate off the tee and he scores well on the par 5s, of which there are four around Fairmont this week. 23rd on the European Tour for SG: Tee-To-Green, means he's among the best in the field this week, so to get 28/1 is rather generous.
Grant Forrest (50/1 Betfair)
We'll continue with the Scottish theme and go to Grant Forrest
, who looks like fantastic appeal at 50/1 (Betfair)
. At one stage last week, he looked like contending at a vastly different test at BMW PGA. He grew up on courses like this rather than the tree-lined Wentworth, so he should build on that display with some home comforts here.
Forrest has won both the Scottish Amateur and the St Andrews trophy, which only emphasises the point I've just made whilst he's also contended in Mauritius in 2018 and 2019 as well as both Oman and at the Renaissance this year. Throw in a couple of good finishes in Portugal and Ireland too, then everything points towards another decent attempt here this week.
The Scotsman is long off the tee, can score on the par 5s and is solid around the greens. He looks a good bet to me.
Brandon Stone (40/1 SkyBet)
I'll also back three-time European Tour winner Brandon Stone (40/1 SkyBet)
. His last win came in Scotland where a final-round 60 stunned the field as he finished four clear of Pepperell back in 2018.
He's since gone close to another triumph, notably a runner-up place in Oman as he lost to Sami Valimaki in a playoff. He was also T19 and T14 in recent trips to the Renaissance and Portugal and also picked up a T6 during the UK swing too.
This is one of the better ball-strikers on the European Tour, both off-the-tee and with his irons. This week seems the perfect time to rally behind him.
Jack Senior (60/1 Betfair)
I was torn over a couple of players in this next range, namely Min Woo Lee and Sean Crocker but instead, I'll back English talent Jack Senior (60/1 Betfair)
. The 32-year-old may be a late bloomer on the European Tour but clearly, he's in the form of his life as only two players in this field better his stroke average – Sam Horsfield and Gavin Green.
Senior has finished inside the top 30 in seven of his last 11 events, which includes a T14 in Portugal and T17 in Qatar. What I like most about him though, is that he has winning pedigree on other tours; twice on the Alps Tour (Wallace-esque), twice on the EuroPro Tour and twice on the Challenge Tour, so that's six wins in total and 50% of them have come right here in Scotland.
That's enough for me to take a punt on him in this range having been let down by a handful of other names.
Adrien Saddier (100/1 Betfair)
And finally, we'll end the staking plan with a speculative punt at three-figures with Frenchman Adrien Saddier (100/1 Betfair)
getting a nod.
The 28-year-old has just one Challenge Tour victory to his name but has performed really well in the last one to two years on the European Tour. He's popped up with a third in Oman this season and a fourth in Portugal just four starts earlier. He's also performed in Qatar and Ireland. A combination of these finishes initially caught my eye.
He's a pretty decent player all-round, which makes him a very nice fit for the week too. Better than Stone for Total Driving and better than anyone else I've backed for SG: Approach. If he can bring his A-game, then I like his chances to outplay these odds this week. 9/2 for Top Frenchman doesn't look like a bad bet either, but that's way outside what I would normally back.
Scottish Championship – Connor Syme (28/1 each-way Betfair)
Scottish Championship – Grant Forrest (50/1 each-way Betfair)
Scottish Championship – Brandon Stone (40/1 each-way SkyBet)
Scottish Championship – Jack Senior (60/1 each-way Betfair)
Scottish Championship – Adrien Saddier (100/1 each-way Betfair)