GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Scottish Open from Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort in Ballymena.
Scottish Open | 1st-4th October 2020 | Sky Sports
The European Tour is back in the United Kingdom for what would normally be the couple of events that precede The Open Championship but instead, this week's Scottish Open kickstarts back-to-back Rolex Series events, so it's not the worst alternative.
John Catlin (40/1) gave us fruitful returns at the weekend as he secured the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open by two shots over Aaron Rai and regular followers of my column know this had been coming for quite some time, so let's try to ride the hot streak further.
We now head to Scotland and to the Renaissance Club for the second consecutive year. Bernd Wiesberger won last time with me tipping him at a very similar 40/1 price.
Along the North Berwick coastline, the Renaissance Club will measure as a par 71 at around 7,340 yards and backs onto Muirfield, an Open venue. It's a true links test with fairways embracing the original dunes landscape with trees on some holes. Since last year's tournament, it's been lengthened by around 200 yards and some fairways have been narrowed.
And with the forecast looking rough, it could be important to hit these fairways. This is something that can change overnight but it is worth keeping in mind. I'll be looking for good links and wind players, those that gain strokes on approach and off-the-tee and can rake up the birdies on the par-5s. Wiesberger won at 22-under-par with 13 of those birdies or better coming on the par-5s. Putting was also key.
Looking back at previous Rolex Series event winners, there aren't many surprises at all irrespective of their price that tournament. It's a mightily strong field, so let's get straight into the bets…
Thomas Detry (40/1 Betfair)
There are plenty of worthy names up at the top of the betting with the likes of Matt Wallace, Thomas Pieters and defending champ Wiesberger all piquing my interest, but instead, I will head a little further down to begin this week's staking plan.
And for me, it was a battle between Andy Sullivan and Thomas Detry (40/1 Betfair)
in this bracket with the perennial non-winner edging it… just. The Belgian is so, so good that it's unbelievable that he's yet to pick up a European Tour victory.
He had two runner-up places during the UK Swing not too long ago, including one at the challenging Celtic Manor and has contended in the wind at the KLM, in France and in Denmark. He's also gone back-to-back with T20s in Qatar, a proven spot for those that take to a links test well. Detry has missed just one cut all year and to get him back at these odds, I simply can't refuse.
Second for par-5 scoring, inside the top 20 on Tour for SG: Approach and Greens in Reg and 36th for SG:OTT. He could well get his maiden victory here in Scotland.
Romain Langasque (40/1 Coral)
The odds may have sailed somewhat on Romain Langasque (40/1 Coral)
but I'd be kicking myself if I didn't tip him up this week as he was the first name I pulled the trigger on.
He won the Wales Open at a rain-hit Celtic Manor just last month and even won the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie. He clearly has a knack for these parts and is one of the more in-form players in the field right now. A 34th at the US Open aged just 25 is a cracking attempt.
The Frenchman is inside the top 30 on the ET for SG: APP, GIR and SG: OTT, he just needs the putter to behave as it did in Wales to give it another good go. Recent Rolex Series winners had won earlier in the season, which fits another encouraging trend.
Joost Luiten (66/1 GentingBet)
Next up is a surprising name in this bracket of players and that's six-time European Tour winner, Joost Luiten (66/1 GentingBet).
The Dutchman returned to action in pretty poor nick after a long layoff but showed last week that the rust had been shaken off with a T11 in Ireland. Most of Luiten's wins have come in the wind, most notably at the KLM, in Oman and at the Lyoness in Austria, where Wiesberger has also won.
He's a classy operator in most of the skills required around here and, on another week,, he could quite easily be half of these odds. Seeing his name next to a Rolex win wouldn't be a shock either.
Gavin Green (66/1 SkyBet)
A bit of a wildcard this week but I rate his chances more than most is Gavin Green (66/1 SkyBet)
Third for GIR, 5th for Bogey Avoidance, 8th for Putting, 10th for Birdies, 12th for Par-5 Scoring, 18th for SG: APP and 37th for SG: OTT – should someone this good really be at these odds? He's missed two of his last six cuts, however, nabbed top-20s in Oman, in Qatar and at Celtic Manor (twice). He finished 8th behind an impressive Langasque in horrible conditions, so he could take well to this week's tournament.
Green has won four times on the Asian Tours and is another who should really have an ET triumph to his name.
Sami Valimaki (80/1 Betfair)
I have to throw some money on Sami Valimaki (80/1 Betfair)
this week. Having won in Oman earlier in the year, he continued his red-hot form after lockdown with T6 then a runner-up at the two events at Celtic Manor, and then went and finished inside the top ten at the impossible Valderrama.
A missed cut at the US Open can be forgiven, especially when he's available at these odds. He's reliable with the flat-stick and hits plenty of greens. He should go well again this week.
Lorenzo Gagli (125/1 SkyBet)
And finally, I will put up a wildcard in Lorenzo Gagli (125/1 SkyBet).
The Italian has been on the ET for years and has regularly shown up at the same places. These tend to be those with windy conditions – France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Ireland, Portugal and Italy.
He was T14 around here last year and has popped up at a couple of correlated venues this season. T10 in Oman and then a T12 in Qatar is encouraging. He also recorded a T14 at Celtic Manor and enjoyed a top ten at Valderrama next to Valimaki.
Gagli is also seventh on Tour for SG:App and carries respectable figures across all facets of his game. It's a big ask and a bit of a dart throw, but I'm willing to back him as a longshot this week.
Scottish Open – Thomas Detry (40/1 each-way Betfair)
Scottish Open – Romain Langasque (40/1 each-way Coral)
Scottish Open – Joost Luiten (66/1 each-way GentingBet)
Scottish Open – Gavin Green (66/1 each-way SkyBet)
Scottish Open – Sami Valimaki (80/1 each-way Betfair)
Scottish Open – Lorenzo Gagli (125/1 each-way SkyBet)