The precursor to the Open Championship is always a fascinating event with the world’s top players heading to Scotland for vital links golf practice.
This week is no different as Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama and plenty other world class golfers tee it up for the third Rolex Series event in a row.
The Scottish Open returns to Gullane Golf Club in the east of Scotland. It last hosted in 2015 where Rickie Fowler narrowly beat Matt Kuchar and Raphael Jacquelin. The course is not the longest at 7,100 yards but it certainly has some bite.
The rough will be up and the undulating fairways make distance control tough. In 2015 four of the top six on the leaderboard ranked inside the top 10 in putts per round showing the importance of short game around this track. As with all links courses, scrambling will also be vital.
Like Ballyliffin last week, only links specialists are likely to come out on top. And Russell Knox once again proved last week that cream always rises to the top in Rolex Series events.
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Tyrrell Hatton 18/1
The Englishman is one of the best there is when it comes to links golf. He’s a double champion at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship which includes a round at Carnoustie – the host of next week’s Open Championship. He has five further top 5s on links courses.
Despite three missed cuts during the back end of May, Hatton recorded a T-6 at the testing U.S. Open and a T-16 at the French Open two weeks ago. He also ranked T-7 in putting around Shinnecock. His game is in great shape.
Chris Wood 40/1
Chris Wood came so close two weeks ago as he dropped shots down the stretch at the French Open, eventually finishing T-2. He learned a lot from the week and said his game was close.
Links golf suits the Englishman with him recording four top 5 finishes on them down the years including a T-3 at the 2009 Open. He continued his good form at the Irish Open last week with a T-14 finish and will look to build on his T-31 finish at Gullane back in 2015.
Peter Uihlein 50/1
The American couldn’t quite get the putter going in Ireland last week and was overshadowed by his playing partner Jorge Campillo on Sunday who shot 65. Still, there were plenty of positives in the American’s T-12 finish.
No stranger to links courses, he holds the course record at Kingsbarns (one of the courses played at the Dunhill Links Championship) and has three top 5s in links events with one win.
He ranked 5th in GIR and 3rd in driving distance last week and is recently coming off a T-5 at the Wells Fargo and 5th at the Memorial Tournament. He’s one of our outside picks for the Claret Jug next week too.
Jorge Campillo 50/1
The Spaniard’s brilliant ball striking is comparable to so many of his compatriots, Garcia, Jimenez, Larrazabal and the like. Tee to green he’s such a joy and last week he showed he could get it done on the greens too. A final-round 65 proved to be just one shot off a play-off but he ranked 1st for the week in putts per round. If he takes that form into this week he will go close.
Campillo finished T-26 last year in Scotland and T-8 the year previously. It’s only a matter of time before he claims his maiden European Tour title.
Matthieu Pavon 150/1
A strong showing in Ireland suggests this could be a very good price for the Frenchman. The T-10 was his best finish of 2018 and showed once again he likes links golf having finished T-3 in last year’s Scottish Open. And in only his second major start at this year’s links-style U.S. Open he finished T-25 ranking T-16 in fairways hit and T-7 in putting. Having narrowly missed out on Open qualification last week he will be keen to book his place at Carnoustie this time around.
Raphael Jacquelin 150/1
When Jacquelin plays well there’s one thing you can guarantee and that’s sweet iron play – last week he finished T-10 and ranked 1st for the week in GIR. No surprises there. It was a timely return to form as we head to Gullane where he finished just one shot behind Rickie Fowler in 2015. If the putter can get hot there’s no reason he won’t go close again.