European Tour Picks: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 9/30/2014
With the PGA Tour dark ahead of the 2014-15 opening event next week, the eyes of the golf world will remain on Scotland this week for the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Before I look at that, let's do a quick recap of last week's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland.
I finally got a winner on the 2013-14 schedule as Europe rather expectedly easily handled the USA 16.5 points to 11.5. Jamie Donaldson of Wales, one of three European rookies, clinched the Ryder Cup with a 4 & 3 victory over Keegan Bradley in Sunday singles. Europe has now won three consecutive Ryder Cups - tying its all-time best streak - and eight of the past 10. Europe was the -155 favorite at Bovada, so I wasn't exactly going out on a limb by choosing it. My projected final score was 15-13.
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Justin Rose was the top European points scorer with four, winning three matches and halving two. Rookie Patrick Reed led the Americans with 3.5 points. I liked Jordan Spieth as the top USA rookie, and he finished with 2.5 points. I did hit on Hunter Mahan at +185 as the top American wild card even though he had only 1.5 points. Head-to-head, I hit on Sergio Garcia at -120 in total points vs. Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood at -115 over Bubba Watson (who was shut out), and Henrik Stenson (-120) over Jim Furyk, whose Ryder Cup struggles continued.
So this week is Europe's version of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Each player competes once over the first three rounds on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. Then the 60 who make the cut play on the Old Course for Sunday's final round.
Four members of the European Ryder Cup team, in addition to Captain Paul McGinley, are playing along Scotland's East Coast. I am stunned that world No. 1 Rory McIlroy is playing this week because I know he wants to take some time off after his career season. He is playing here for the first time since 2011 when he was runner-up. He also was second in this event in 2009. Also from Team Europe are Martin Kaymer (won this in 2010), Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher (2004 winner of this tournament) plus McGinley's vice captain Padraig Harrington, who won the Dunhill in 2002 & '07.
Last year, England's David Howell ended a seven-year victory drought with a playoff win over American Peter Uihlein. They each parred the first playoff hole, but Howell birdied the second. Both players finished 72 holes at 23 under. No American has ever won this tournament. Howell is back to defend. No one has repeated.
A few seniors are in the field, including Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie. Don't rule out Monty winning. He won in 2005, has won two senior majors this year and is fresh off back-to-back victories on the European Seniors Tour. Montgomerie is 150/1 at Bovada.
Did you know a 59 has never been shot in an official European Tour event? It could happen this week. A 60 has been shot 18 times in European Tour events, and twice it has happened here. Uihlein had one last year when he barely missed a long eagle putt during the second round on his final hole for a 59. Both 60s have come at Kingsbarns, the least storied course of the three.
European Tour Golf Odds: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Favorites
To no surprise, McIlroy is the heavy 4/1 favorite at Bovada. I 100 percent don't like him this week. In fact, I don't like any of the Ryder Cup guys. Did you see how hard they were partying last Sunday? There simply has to be a major letdown for all four, and I know McIlroy is spent from his long year. Kaymer is next at 16/1, and he falls into the same boat.
Charl Schwartzel is from South Africa and thus didn't play in the Ryder Cup. He's 20/1. Maybe he can complete the Alfred Dunhill sweep. He won the Alfred Dunhill Championship back in December in South Africa. Schwartzel was T7 here a year ago. Dubuisson also is 20/1 with Joost Luiten and Shane Lowry at 22/1.
Howell is 80/1 to repeat and Uihlein is 40/1 to win.
Golf Odds: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Picks
On the Top-10 props, I like Schwartzel (+185), Paul Casey (+220), Lowry (+185) and Tommy Fleetwood (+200). Go with favored Ryan Palmer at 7/4 as the top American. Matteo Manassero at +400 as the top Italian. Head-to-head, go with Kaymer at +155 over McIlroy (-200), Schwartzel (-115) over Dubuisson (-115), Lowry (-115) over Luiten (-115) and Fleetwood (-115) over Casey (-115).
My winner comes down to either Fleetwood (28/1) or Lowry. They each finished second to Luiten in the most recent European Tour event in Wales. Lowry is a really good links player and was T3 in this tournament a year ago. Let's go with the Irishman.
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