The European Tour heads to Ireland this week for the first of the prestigious Rolex Series, the Irish Open.
This represents the first opportunity for Tour players to accustomize themselves to the delights of links play ahead of the Open Championship, this year also held on Irish soil.
Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare hosts this event. Not overly long at around 7000 yards, the course is a true links and will get very testy if the wind blows.
This week’s favourite is Jon Rahm. The Spaniard warmed up with a tied second last week at Valderrama, but he would be disappointed that he couldn’t break par on the final day when the title was on the line. He won in 2017 and finished fourth last year, but we still have doubts about his patience on a genuine links course.
Instead we’re going to side with Russell Knox, the defending champion. He has been playing more regularly in the rarefied air of the PGA Tour, but as a Scot is well used to links golf. He hits the ball straight and putts well on these surfaces.
Our second selection is Thorbjorn Olesen. This Dane is a good enough player to make last year’s Ryder Cup team, and is another straight driver. We like Scandinavian players at links events because they are used to playing in the wind, and he finished tied 6th at this event last year.
Knox 0.5 pts each way at 40/1, 1/4 the odds for the first five places, bet365
Olesen 0.5 pts each way at 40/1, 1/5 the odds for the first eight places, Paddy Power
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