This week, the Irish Open is our scheduled stop on the European Tour, and it has attracted some on the bigger players to the field. The event will be held on the Montgomerie Course at Carton House , which is situated County Kildare, Ireland. The course has played host to the event on two occasions in the past, in 2005 & 2006. The winner of the event in 2006 was “form man” Thomas Bjorn, who has been playing out of skin in recent weeks, and will look forward to, as much as any to have the chance of adding his name to the trophy once again. He will certainly be in with a shout again this week, and his price reflects that coming into the week as tied 2nd favourite at 16/1.
The Montgomerie Course at Carton House spans over 7,301 yards, Par 72 and has proved a good test for the players in the past, back when it hosted in 2005-2006. -5 was the winning score in 2006 and -9 in 2005, two of the highest winning scores in the history of the event, so it seems it could be a good test this week. Driving Accuracy could be a factor this week, with bunkers coming into play, while there are water hazards on the 1,17 and 18th holes. The greens will be firm so the approaches will be key when trying to score, so good iron/wedge play will help as much as the shots off the tee. No changes have been made to the course since 2006, so players who have done well in the past, will no doubt fancy themselves again this week.
There will be a lot of pressure on the Irish contingent at the head of the market, and I will be looking to oppose these. Although there is no doubt both Rory Mcilroy and Graeme McDowell are two of the best players in the world, they have both come off of what they may both see as a disappointing U.S Open and they will have to be on their A-Game to win this week. The in-form players on the European Tour certainly won’t be afraid of competing and I think at both Rory and G-Mac’s prices I’m happy to leave them alone. Here are my picks for the 2013 Irish Open.
Thomas Bjorn 16/1 (StanJames) 3pts win: I tipped Bjorn at double these odds last week, when he came 2nd to Ernie Els, so although we did eek out some each-way profit, it was disappointing he didn’t get the win. He can of course rectify that by winning here, for the 2nd time in his career this week. In 2006 Bjorn won here at Carton House and is now playing some of his best golf once again, hence why I’ve backed him at as short as 16/1. It’s not a price that leaps off the page, but he is in red hot form and with his history in this event added to that I’d feel rather silly leaving him out. Many people are now looking to back him for the Open Championship next month, and I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off that idea. To me at the head of the market he is the obvious choice, even with Mcilroy and McDowell involved. He should give us a run for our money, and hopefully the experienced Dane can pick up his first win since 2011, and make it to 14 European Tour wins.
Joost Luiten 33/1 (Coral) 28/1 (General 6places) 1.5pts e/w: When talking of Driving Accuracy as an important stat this week, who better to have on your mind than currently one of the Tour’s best players Joost Luiten. He is 7th in Driving Accuracy on Tour and is hitting just under 73% of fairways going into this week. With just one missed cut between the Malaysian Maybank Open in March and now, with a win at the Lyoness Open sandwiched in between I much like Bjorn find it hard to leave him out. He finished T10 in Germany last week, continuing his great form, and I’m sure he can carry this over to this week at the Irish Open. He was a less than impressive T66 last year in this event, but unlike Bjorn he hasn’t had a previous showing at the course, so it’s hard to tell if this will suit him. At 33/1 for a player in superb form, I’m happy to take a chance on him getting his 2nd Tour win of the season.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello 80/1 (SkyBet 1-5 BetVictor 1-6) 1pt e/w: Cabrera-Bello has not had a great start to his 2013 season, but has showed signs of returning to his excellent form from last year, that saw him pick up the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, in a field that at the time boasted three of the top four best players in world golf. His T26 last week in Germany was very positive and although he’ll need to build on that significantly this week to get the win, he certainly looked to be playing better golf. Although it was at a different course last year, he did finish 2nd behind Jamie Donaldson and this just shows he has the game to play well in Ireland, and he will look to draw confidence from that. He does also have a T20 finish to his name in the event back in 09′ as well, so it seems that Ireland could be a happy stomping ground for the talented Spaniard. He has the game to challenge the best, and if he can find it this week, 80/1 may just seem generous.
Simon Dyson 125/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes) 1pt e/w: Simon Dyson is a player that knows how to win, highlighted by his 6 wins on the European Tour, one of those coming in the 2011 Irish Open. Again I will stress that this event was held at a different course that year, but withe winning mentality coming in to play in this country, I see him as good value this week. Dyson is not in great current form, missing his last three cuts, however he does have two top-25’s to his name this year already and his form in Ireland over the years has been excellent. As mentioned above he did win the event in 2011, and followed that up again with a T10 in 2012, however how he got on at this course back in 2005 and 2006 is what interested me. Well in 2006 he finished a disappointing T60 however, one year previously he did finish T13 at the same course, so it looks as though he can indeed play well no matter what the course in Ireland. He seemed overpriced for me this week, considering his form in this part of the world, and I think his price stems mainly from current form. We all know that a player can find his game at any given time, and I’m hoping Dyson does just that this week!
Total points staked (inc PGA Tour) this week: 22
Profit/Loss for 2013: + 130.6
We were close again to yet another winner this year, however we had to settle for 2nd place last week, not something I plan on happening this week. I give every player I’ve picked this week an excellent chance, with a nice blend of current form and Irish form coming in to play. I’m happy with each players prices, although it would of been nice to see Bjorn slightly bigger, this does reflect his current form and the obvious factor of winning at this very course last time it was here. Good luck this week and enjoy both the Irish Open and the AT&T National. Follow me on Twitter @TomJacobs8