We’ve got a cracking week ahead of us on the links at Lahinch GC and with our main picks all in place, it’s time to take a look at the raft of speciality markets that Paddy have priced up for us.
Firstly, looking at the First Round Leader market and as with all links course based events the starting point here is to look at the weather forecast, as this naturally can have a huge effect on scoring over the day.
Looking at Thursday’s forecast it would appear that winds will steadily increase throughout the day from a gentle breeze of 5mph or so first thing in the morning, to around 10mph by late morning/lunchtime, before reaching 15mph+ by later on in the afternoon.
From that point of view our focus for Round One Leader has to be on the morning starters, the earlier the better, and the first of two to catch me eye with the requisite tee time is David Law (150/1).
Scotsman Law tees off in the first group out at 6.45am and based on the weather forecast he should benefit from the calmest conditions the players will face all day.
Law won his maiden tour event earlier this year on a firm, fast links course in Australia at the ISPS Handa Vic Open and he has held his form reasonably well since then with two solid top 40 efforts in his last two starts.
Brought up on the North East Coast of Scotland the 28-year-old will be relishing another links challenge and he is fancied to take advantage of his early tee time and get out of the blocks quickly.
Alongside Law, I shall play Englishman Jordan Smith (50/1) in the First Round Leader Market. Smith has played some great stuff this season and another win can’t be far away.
He was sixth by the coast at Hillside in the British Masters and having finished third last time out, he should be brimming with confidence when he tees off at 7.55am.
Moving on and with it being the Irish Open, it would be rude not to take a look at Paddy’s market for the top Irish Player on the week.
Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell are naturally the standout candidates in this market and Lowry is a worthy favourite. However, while they will both naturally be keen to perform this week, GMac I suspect will already have more than half an eye on Royal Portrush and Lowry comes into the week without his regular caddie Brian Martin, as his wife is due to give birth next week.
On that basis, and with Paddy paying to three places e/w in this market, I am going to chance my arm here with a far more unheralded Irishman in the shape of Gavin Moynihan at 18/1.
Moynihan, a links specialist in his amateur days, has finished sixth and 12th on links style courses in Denmark and Oman this year and was 14th in this event two years ago.
Currently 141st in the Race To Dubai, Moynihan needs some big results and you have to think this is a week in, which he could well prosper.
Kinhult, of course, recently secured his maiden European Tour title at the British Masters at Hillside and this victory rubberstamped his reputation as a player who is comfortable on a coastal track.
Following this win, after a couple of poorer efforts, Kinhult once again stepped it up to finish a hugely impressive 32nd on the links at Pebble Beach and after missing the cut at Valderrama last week, he is fancied to thrive once again on his return to the coast.
Finally, I shall take a chance on veteran and former European Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn to finish in the top 40 at 7/2.
It’s been a long time since the Dane has produced anything like his best stuff, however at his peak, he was always at his best on the coast.
Last week the 48-year-old notched his best finish on Tour in nearly five years when finishing eighth at Valderrama and the hope is he can build on that to produce another solid week on a layout which he should feel more than comfortable on.
* All odds correct at time of posting.