With the PGA Tour on hiatus, the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, in which celebrity golfers play alongside professional ones, takes centre stage and Stephen Gallacher is the headline pick at odds of 41.00 with Bwin.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is an atypical event, with the tournament taking place on three Scottish links – Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews – weather playing no small part in the outcome in some years and the likes of Hollywood stars Andy Garcia, Hugh Grant and Kyle MacLachlan playing alongside a field including 12 major champions.
Gallacher won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2004 when he was making his debut in the competition, defeating Graeme McDowell in a play-off after both Britons had been 19 under par after 72 holes. In total, Gallacher has taken part in eight Alfred Dunhill Links Championships, posting three top-seven finishes and five top 25s, with his latest effort resulting in fifth place last year. Gallacher’s recent form has been terrific as well, with his most recent two finishes being second and ninth. Gallacher has had a couple of weeks off the European Tour so he should be fresh and ready to attack one of his favourite events. And Gallacher has the personality to deal with playing in a pro-am tournament.
Paul Casey is another golfer for one’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship portfolio at odds of 29.00 with 888sport. Casey missed the 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship cut but, like a racehorse, sometimes it makes sense to forgive one bad run. Casey had been playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship for the first time since 2008 when he finished eighth – his third consecutive top-10 finish in the competition. Casey relishes playing in tough conditions and it is no coincidence that many of his wins have occurred on challenging courses. Casey has freshened up since finishing 41st in the KLM Open and he took out the Irish Open by a three-stroke margin only three months ago.
Martin Kaymer is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title favourite with most bookmakers and that is fair enough based on his tournament form. Kaymer has made five Alfred Dunhill Links Championship appearances for results of first, second, 15th, 30th and 34th. No golfer who has made five or more Alfred Dunhill Links Championship appearances has a lower average score than Kaymer’s 69.20 and, with the German’s recent finishes being okay before he took a well earned break, he is worthy of trading at odds of 23.00 with Coral.
Finally in terms of Alfred Dunhill Links Championship bets to win the event, Simon Dyson appeals at odds of 34.00 with 888sport. Dyson missed the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship cut 12 months ago but his three previous goes at the event resulted in one first, one fifth and one ninth. Dyson has been playing really well on the European Tour of late so he has both superb tournament and recent numbers.
The pick of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship match bets is Gallacher to bet the better of Shane Lowry at odds of 1.91 with Ladbrokes. Lowry’s results in his four Alfred Dunhill Links Championship appearances have been one 34th, one 45th, one 53rd and one missed cut. Lowry’s statistics are not as compelling as those of Gallacher. Also worth a second look is Dyson to beat Branden Grace at odds of 2.00 with Coral. Grace is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title holder having triumphed by two shots last year but the South African missed the cut on his other start. Also, Grace has been out of form recently, failing to qualify for the weekend rounds in each of his last two tournaments.
Finally, it is worth acknowledging that the only two-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is in this year’s field. Padraig Harrington took out the 2002 and 2006 editions of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and, all up, the Irishman has five top 10s and an additional two top 20s from his 11 appearances. Harrington would have made the short list but his recent numbers are very poor indeed.