As Great Britain and Ireland continues to bask in the summer sun the heat is also rising in the European Tour's mini links swing. After a thrilling climax to last week's Irish Open eyes turn to the Scottish Open, hosted for a second time by the golf-obsessed small town of Gullane, a few miles east of Edinburgh. It's a prestigious event in it's own right, rife with golf betting opportunities, but it also acts as a fantastic warm-up for next week's Open Championship.
There is nothing very steady about Tyrrell Hatton's record on Scottish linksland. In fact it is pure boom or bust, but the good weeks sure make up for the bad ones. He's made 13 starts in the country on the European Tour, all of them at the seaside, and the split is remarkable: six missed cuts, six top fives.
He first hinted at his fondness for links golf with tied fourth in this week's tournament back in 2014 at Royal Aberdeen and backed it up with T22nd at Gullane a year later and solo second at Castle Stuart in 2016. He added a quarter-final finish (T5th) at the Paul Lawrie Match Play in 2015, fifth in the Open at Royal Troon two years ago and the coup de grace has come in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Played on the Old Course, Kingsbarns and next week's Open venue Carnoustie, the event is somewhat quirky yet Hatton has won it back-to-back and in some style too, triumphing by four shots in 2016 and then by three at the end of last year. He endured a tough spell of form in the spring but broke it with tied sixth in the U.S. Open at Shinnecocks Hills and maintained the run with a top 20 in the Open de France. He's 3/1 to make the top ten with Unibet (or 20/1 if you fancy the win).
England's Andy Sullivan has had the look of a golfer bubbling for a few months now, but the circumstances might be right for him to come good very soon maybe even this week. He actually missed four cuts in five starts towards the end of last season, but has now played 18 weekends on the trot. Moreover, he's getting better: T35th or better in each of his last 12 starts with five of his last seven appearances reaping top tens.
Last week in Ireland he opened with laps of 73-72 to make the cut on the number, but he followed it up with 65-69 to race through the field and eventually recorded sixth and it was telling that after a slight hiccup he thrived by the sea.
In all he has played 20 tournaments on links courses (in England, Ireland, Scotland and at Kennemer in the Netherlands). He has a truly dreadful record in the Dunhill Links (four missed cuts and T51; some golfers struggle with the tortuous pro-am format) but from the other 15? No fewer than nine top 20s and five top tens. That makes the 3/1 for a top ten this week with Unibet an attractive proposition.
It's not only the pubs of England that are high on football excitement right now. Nicolas Colsaerts tweeted after last week's quarter final victory over Brazil "I cannot imagine what the whole of Belgium is like right now!" and he followed it up with a top 20 finish in the Irish Open ahead of a return to a country where he's always enjoyed himself.
In fact he has ten top 20 finishes from 30 starts in Scotland and among that number are three top tens in this tournament. He also lashed a superb second round 65 at Gullane three years ago which allowed him to make the weekend after a disastrous opening day (at the end of which he was T140th).
A top ten finish in the Dunhill Links and tied seventh in the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes proves that he has the game for golf played on fast-running seaside tracks and he said during this event two years ago: "I've always enjoyed links golf because you can manoeuvre the ball. We don't get to play it too much and yet it's really fun to play when you're in control of your ball flight."
He was a recent top ten finisher in the Belgian Knockout and Shotclock Masters, and now he's added that top 20 in Ireland it would seem he has some sort of a grip on his ball flight so take the hint. He's 33/1 to be the Top Continental with Paddy Power.
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