THE OVERVIEW

Ballyliffin Golf Club, Ballyliffin, County Donegal, Ireland - The European Tour heads to Northern Ireland this week for the Irish Open at Ballyliffing Golf Club. The course, by many estimations, is among the very best the country has to offer and will be playing this week as a 7,462-yard, par 72.

It is a traditional links track set in rolling dunes along a very scenic coastline.  It features big, bentgrass green structures, punishing bunkers, and some native grass areas. Additionally, it is completely exposed to coastal winds which blow fierce and often in this area. So, keep an eye on the weather forecast.

For our picks this week, we'll be abandoning a stats model in favor of selecting players who are in good current form, have proven links course performance, and some Irish or Scottish flare.

 

PAST WINNERS

2017  -24   Jon Rahm   (Runners Up:   -18   Richie Ramsay, Matthew Southgate)  @ Portstewart, Londonderry

2016  -12   Rory McIlroy   (Runners Up:   -9   Bradely Dredge, Russell Knox)  @ The K Club, Kildare

2015  -2   Soren Kjeldsen   (Runners Up, Playoff:    Eddie Pepperell, Bernd Wiesberger)   @ Royal County Down, Down

2014  -13   Mikko Ilonen  (Runner Up:   -12   Edoardo Molinari)  

 

BETTING ODDS   (Bovada 7/2/2018)

Rory McIlroy  +650

Jon Rahm  +700

Matthew Fitzpatrick  +2000

Rafa Cabrera Bello  +2000

Andy Sullivan  +2500

Thorbjorn Olesen  +2500

Russell Knox  +2800

Shane Lowry  +2800

Chris Wood  +3300

Hao Tong Li  +3300

Kirsdech Aphibarnrat  +3300

Paul Dunne  +3300

Thomas Pieters  +3300

Alexander bjork  +4000

Julian Suri  +4000

Peter Uihlein  +4000

Graeme McDowell  +500

Jordan Smith  +5000

Jorge Campillo  +5000

Lucas Bjerregaard  +5000

Matt Wallace  +5000

Michael Lorenzo Vera  +5000

Adrian Otaegui  +6600

Alexander Levy  +6600

Dylan Fritelli  +6600

Lee Westwood  +6600

Mikko Korhonen  +6600

Soren Kjeldsen  +6600

Thomas Detry  +6600

 

HOT PLAYERS

Jon Rahm

Russell Knox

Chris Wood

Julian Suri

Thorbjorn Olesen

Matt Wallace

 

HORSES FOR THE COURSE

No course history at Ballyliffin GC. 

 

LONGER SHOTS

Dean Burmester  +8000

Matthew Southgate  +8000

Padraig Harrington  +8000

Ryan Fox  +6600

Shubhankar Sharma  +8000

Aaron Rai  +10000

Chris Paisley  +10000

Eddie Pepperrell  +10000

Erik Van Rooyen  +10000

Fabrizio Zanotti  +10000

George Coetzee  +10000

Jeung Hun Wang  +10000

Marcus Kinhult  +10000

Nacho Elvira  +10000

Nicolas Colsaerts  +10000

Pablo Larrazabal  +10000

Scott Hend  +10000

Benjamin Hebert  +12500

Hideto Tanihara  +12500

Joakim Lagergren  +12500

Mikko Ilonen  +12500

Richie Ramsay  +10000

Austin Connelly  +15000

Callum Shinkwin  +15000

 

FAITHFULS

Rory McIlroy

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Shane Lowry

Graeme McDowell

Padraig Harrington

 

THE 'FORE' SOMES

'FORE' SOMES are chosen by selecting one player from a "low tier" betting pool (30:1 or better), two players from a "mid tier" (30:1 - 75:1), and a final player from a "high tier" (75:1 & up).  

KEITH'S 'FORE' SOME 

Russell Knox  (28:1).  The veteran Scotsman just turned 33 and his game is seriously trending upward. He had a great T2 finish last week (with the help of some implosions) on a very challenging course and a T12 at the US Open. He is currently thriving on tough set ups and can hang with the biggest names in the business. This year Knox has been reliable off the tee and hitting a ton of GIR. A couple points to be considered are his lack of length and inconsistent putting. However, the links prowess (especially heavy-wind-links prowess) and ability to avoid serious trouble could probably point to an advantage in his favor. So, I’m taking a chance on a little more value and going with Knox. 

Paul Dunne  (40:1)  & Chris Wood  (40:1).  It’s no secret that Dunne is a fave. So, with that disclaimer, he’ll be the first mid-tier pick. Dunne opened with a 3-over first round last week and rebounded nicely to finish T21. That’s just one small example of the incredible tenacity that the guy shows on a constant basis. He had two top ten finishes back in April. Has been a little quiet since, but finished T30 at the Italian Open. His Driving Accuracy is way inconsistent, but he is another player that thrives on tough courses and often shows up when he’s playing against bigger names. 

Chris Wood is being selected here almost solely based on his performance in Paris last week and his strong links play over the course of his career. He could have won last week and seemed to have all aspects of his game firing. Wood is one of those players that is close to elite, but just very rarely contends. Like Dunne, he doesn’t have too many current stats to get excited about, but he’s the kind of player that can be cold for a long time and then just flash. I’ll be betting that he carries some of that hot current form over into this week.

Richie Ramsay  (100:1).  Going straight veteran, links angle with this bomb pick. Ramsay is a stud who shows up on weeks like this. A veteran Scotsman who can go really low on occasion. Hasn’t had a great season, but if the conditions get really nasty this week, Ramsay is the kind of player that would be able to hunker down and get around a course like this better than most.

 

**(differing odds come from Will Hill)

 

JOHN'S 'FORE' SOME 

Russell Knox  28:1

Peter Uihlein  35:1

Julian Suri  50:1

Erik Van Rooyen  100:1

 

GAVIN'S 'FORE' SOME 

Matthew Fitzpatrick  20:1

Rafa Cabrera Bello  20:1

Graeme McDowell  40:1

Eddie Pepperell  80:1

 

Listen to this week’s podcast to hear the team’s thoughts on the event and tweet us @fantasygolfww or #fgww.

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