The European Tour heads to St Andrews for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week, with Rory McIlroy needing a victory to avoid only the second winless season of his career, writes Dave Clark.
Each player will tackle the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns once over the first three rounds, before all the action descends on the Home of Golf for Sunday’s final round.
McIlroy has had a difficult campaign disrupted by injury and will bring his season to an early end after the event in order to rest in a bid to alleviate a lingering rib injury.
Not since 2008 – his rookie full season as a professional – has the Northern Irishman failed to add a trophy to his cabinet, but after a bold showing in last week’s British Masters, we’re tipping the world number six to improve on his runner-up finish at Close House and sign off 2017 in style.
McIlroy, who has an impressive record at St Andrews having been third when the Open was staged here in 2010 and second in this event three times, has three top-fives from his last four starts. He’s the first of our Alfred Dunhill Links Championship betting predictions at odds of 11/2.
One of the four-time Major winner’s closest challengers is likely to be his Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer. The German is on an even longer title drought than McIlroy, having not won anywhere since his spectacular US Open victory at Pinehurst in 2014.
Kaymer is a supreme links player though, having won this event in 2010 along with three other top-10 finishes over the years, and can be backed at 13/2 to register a top-five finish.
Those looking for a bigger price in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship betting may want to consider Belgian rookie Thomas Detry. The 24-year-old has quietly been putting together an impressive maiden campaign, finishing third in South Africa and second in Germany to lie 74th on the Race to Dubai.
In need of a big week to boost his hopes of featuring in the lucrative end-of season events, Detry has broken 70 in five of his last seven European Tour rounds and can be backed at 60/1 to emerge victorious on Sunday.
Time is rapidly running out for those battling to keep their European Tour cards, and this time of the season usually throws up some unlikely stories of players salvaging their careers.
Florian Fritsch could be the man to make headlines this week. The German’s fear of flying restricts him to a limited schedule, and at 114th in the Race to Dubai he needs to break into the top 100 over the next three weeks.
His two previous showings at St Andrews have seen him finish 19th and seventh, making 80/1 appear generous tournament winner odds for a player who was fourth at last week’s British Masters. He gets the nod as the last of our Alfred Dunhill Links Championship betting predictions.
Best bets for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
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