Main Bet: Andy Sullivan each-way @ 33/1
There’s a little bit of me which frets that my liking for Englishman Andy Sullivan this week is a bit too bleeding apparent – in the sense that he will not win as a result of the whole lot is simply too neat.
Let’s begin together with his event type: tied second at Lahinch two years in the past, tied sixth at Royal County Down in 2015, and tied sixth once more at Ballyliffin in 2018.
Then there’s his present type: tied sixth final month at the Belfry and tied fifth final week in Munich. In-between he bought off to a sluggish begin at HimmerLand (T103rd after 18 holes) earlier than capturing 66-70-69 for T40th.
I’m additionally very eager on his latest type taking part in on Nicklaus designs, which this week’s venue Mount Juliet is, as a result of he not solely gained final summer season’s English Championship at Hanbury Manor (by a huge seven blows), he additionally did so by gained 11.592 strokes on the subject together with his method play.
That’s part of the sport which Nicklaus layouts at all times search to check and, when Sullivan hits his straps, it’s the a part of his sport that shines – he is additionally heading in the proper path with it in latest weeks, recording his finest numbers of the season.
There’s additionally the query of the place he is performed properly since the return from lockdown: tied fourth at Close House, the win at Hanbury Manor, tied ninth and tied sixth at The Belfry, tied third at Wentworth, tied fifth final week at Eichenried, tied second at Jumeirah Fire.
In different phrases, with the exception of the latter instance, his finest golf in the final 12 months has come at north European parkland programs with bushes, most of them are hotel-type designs too. All in all, loads like this week.
I really feel the want to seek out one thing dangerous to weigh towards a lot great things and this is some: the three efforts on this event that will have earned a spot payout all got here on the linksland, fairly than inland.
I additionally did not embrace a missed the lower at Kiawah Island in the above dialogue of his present type, however that result’s fairly typical of his efforts throughout the Atlantic.
They are some dents in the argument, due to this fact, however they’re small ones and nearly reassuring.
Next Best: Adrian Otaegui each-way @ 80/1
The case for Adrian Otaegui is comparatively easy: the Spaniard is a three-time winner on the European Tour, his final win was comparatively latest, and he was a runner-up simply two begins in the past – I’m undecided he must be as a massive a worth as he’s.
The first two of his three wins have been claimed in match play and he admitted himself that he was eager to make the third a strokeplay event lest his get lumbered with notions of being a one trick pony.
He put that to mattress with an achieved remaining spherical efficiency eventually October’s Scottish Championship.
He’d led by three after 18 holes, was tied for the lead at midway, fell 4 again of Matt Wallace on Saturday, however thrashed an apparently fearless 63 in spherical 4 to seek out the pace-setter after which safe the win by 4 photographs.
That end result began a run of 17 cuts made in 20 begins, however previous to this month he’d made just one very transient look wherever close to the prime of one other leaderboard.
That modified in the Scandinavian Mixed when weekend scores of 66-67 allowed him to declare second and he actually must have pressured a play-off, however missed a short-ish putt at the 72nd gap.
Last week he seemed set to contest once more, mendacity tied ninth at midway just for an errant 74 to derail his problem earlier than he closed with a 69 for T29th.
The clincher is that he not solely completed second behind Sullivan at the Nicklaus-crafted Hanbury Manor final summer season in the English Championship (he was the winner of the “other” occasion after the winner lapped the subject), however that his method play has been very good in these final two begins: rating first in Sweden (+11.116) and ninth in Germany (+5.016).
Final Bet: Shaun Norris each-way @ 90/1
I’m fairly eager on Wilco Nienaber this week, pondering that eventually the huge hitter will be a part of his fellow South African teen Garrick Higgo as a European Tour winner, however the compiler likes his probabilities too.
So, as a substitute, I flip to a different Rainbow Nation consultant, however one who did not thrive particularly shortly.
In reality, Shaun Norris was banging round the Europro Tour some 17 years in the past and I occurred to be in the neighborhood of 1 occasion, later writing up a report for a bunch of like-minded golf nerds with a keenness for arcane trivia.
One line learn: “Kim Wilde’s younger brother Marty was playing. Unfortunately, he had a bit of a shocker and there was no sign of his sister. Was more impressed by a lad called Sean (sic) Norris, a South African youngster who hit it miles and holed everything.”
Yours, Adrian Mole.
Four years after that prophecy, Norris landed a first win on the Sunshine Tour, however it was a false daybreak. He plodded on, earned one other win in 2011, however progress past South Africa was proving troublesome.
Head down, he ventured to Asia, bought wins in 2015 and 2016, however nonetheless struggled to say himself at the prime stage.
So he went additional, to Japan, and it isn’t simply wins (5 of them) he is discovered there, he is additionally developed a consistency that has earned him main and WGC begins.
He’s additionally began to switch his type to the European Tour. Indeed, his final 10 begins in common ET occasions have earned him six prime 25 finishes, together with three prime sixes.
The final of these got here final week in Germany and, whereas he did not discover a spark on Sunday, he seemed very removed from out of his depth. Moreover, the most up-to-date of his wins in Japan was final month.
He is likely to be a gradual learner, however he may additionally have been a little bit under-estimated this week.