European TourGolf

Golf Betting: Dunhill Links Championship – Fleetwood can fly but Kaymer is the sleeper

September 23, 2019January 6th, 2022

AFTER the excitement of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the European Tour heads north to the home of the sport, St Andrews, for the final tournament of the year on British and Irish soil.

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship has become a staple of the circuit, played on the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie it is a celebration of all that is great about watching experts, celebrities and rich people hit golf balls in wind and rain. “What’s that?” you ask. It’s a pro-am and every other fourball has a 12-handicapper who made a fortune in logistics.


Winner – Tommy Fleetwood 16/1

Naturally, given the format, some love it and others hate it. The latter are frustrated by the slow pace of play and the off-course distractions. The former thrive on the laid-back feel to the tournament or maybe just adore links golf and/or St Andrews. Fleetwood is definitely in the latter camp. “I’ve always loved the course and the town, ever since I played there in the Links Trophy as an amateur,” he said last month. “I would love to have my picture taken with the trophy on the Swilken Bridge.”

His record in the event is outstanding. On debut, back in 2011, he finished fifth, having tied the halfway lead. He was fifth again in 2013, then second in 2014, a result he would repeat last year, and he was also a 36-hole leader two years ago. In his eight visits he has only once finished outside the top 25 and only twice outside the top 15. Some might quibble that he never figured at Wentworth last week, but he rarely has. I prefer to focus on his love of links golf, which was re-established when he finished eighth during his hosting of the British Masters at Hillside and second in the Open at Royal Portrush.


Each way – Robert MacIntyre 50/1

Scotsmen won three of the first five renewals of this championship (Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie), but since then, a run of 13 events, they have failed to lift the trophy – a drought the 23-year-old Highlander might be set to break. He’s a rookie, but has quickly proven himself a fierce and brave competitor at this level, coming into the week ranked 14th in the Race to Dubai, a simple consequence of recording nine top 25 finishes including no less than three second placed finishes.

Closer inspection shows that he enjoys links golf and is in form. The first of his near misses came at Hillside in the British Masters (an effort which also highlighted his chutzpah as he chased the lead on the final day with a series of aggressive shot options, consistently matched with fine execution) and two months later he was sixth in the Open at Royal Portrush. In his last but one start, he led the European Open by four at halfway and learned a few tough lessons that weekend, but he far from disgraced himself. In fact, the experience ought to aid his future progress.


Outsider – Martin Kaymer 66/1

It’s no secret that the German has struggled since he contrived to lose the 2015 HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship when leading by ten shots during the final round. But during the last 12 months there have been hints that he is on the way back, most notably when leading the Memorial Tournament after 54 holes and the BMW International Open at halfway, both times by two shots. His inability to convert remains a worry, but that’s why we need to catch him at a big price when he should feel more at home.

Quietly he has been one of the stronger links performers this season, landing eighth at Hillside, ninth in the Irish Open at Lahinch and 20th at the Renaissance Club during the Scottish Open. This week will be his 12th visit to the tournament and he will be feted at a past champion following his 2010 victory, but that was far from the only time he thrived. He was second the year before and has added two top tens since, the most recent in 2016. He was a busy man last week at Wentworth due to sponsor duties so being off the leash this week might be just what he needs.