With three rounds completed at the ASI Scottish Open we have for the second week running seen a links event with basically no wind and, let’s make no bones about it, as a result, the Renaissance Club in North Berwick has basically been a pushover for players of this calibre.
The man who has taken advantage of these tranquil conditions the most so far is Austrian Bernd Wiesberger. Wiesberger who won on tour in Denmark as recently as May, and who was second last week in Ireland, has sandwiched a career-low round on Friday of 61 with rounds of 67 and 65 to find himself on -20.
Two shots behind Wiesberger in second place on -18 is South African Erik Van Rooyen, while a further two shots back sharing third place on -16 is the pair of Romain Langasque and Nino Bertasio, and all three of these players are yet to win on the European Tour.
On -15 we have five players tied in fifth place, Matt Wallace, Jamie Donaldson, halfway leader Lee Slattery, Lorenzo Gagli and Adrian Otaegui, while to complete the picture on -14 we have heavyweights Henrik Stenson and Matt Fitzpatrick, along with Andrea Pavan, a recent winner on tour in Germany.
Wiesberger, a five-time winner on tour, is naturally a standout favourite going into Sunday and this is reflected in odds on quotes.
Basically, if he can shoot even 67 he will be tough to catch.
As for Van Rooyen, regular readers will remember that we were on him in Ireland last week, where typically he had a rare off week on the links, and on paper, he is the man who should be chasing Wiesberger home.
As we know though golf isn’t played on paper and with Van Rooyen yet to prove he can close the deal on tour I shall instead take a chance on another tour maiden Romain Langasque to come good. Langasque actually won the British Amateur Championship on the links of Carnoustie back in 2015 before finishing 39th at Augusta the following April when still an amateur, so he is clearly a class act in the making.
Interestingly as well the Frenchman finished third behind Wiesberger in Denmark recently, closing with a round of 66, an event which was also played on a links track, so with a degree in hindsight, of course, his performance this week should not come as a complete shock.
Four shots behind Wiesberger Langasque will naturally need a bit of help from the Austrian if he is to land his maiden tour title, however with Paddy paying to three places e/w I am happy to take a chance on the 24yr old at very tasty e/w odds of 20/1.
Looking at Sundays final round two balls and there are a couple here that I am keen to get involved in. Firstly I am happy to take a chance on Matt Fitzpatrick at odds of 5/4 against versus Henrik Stenson in their 3.08pm tee time. Stenson has been incredibly solid from tee to green so far this week and he was actually bogey free for the event until he made a double bogey on the 17th on Saturday.
n contrast, though his putter has been stone cold and he struck a forlorn figure on the greens by the end of Saturday’s round. Fitzpatrick meanwhile outscored the Swede by two shots on Saturday even with two sloppy bogey’s on the two par fives, and if he can keep these kind of mistakes off his card on Sunday I fancy he will outscore Henrik again.
Finally, Lee Slattery has played some great stuff this week until the pressure of holding the lead going in to round three got the better of him early on. I suspect though that playing a few groups ahead of the leaders on Sunday will suit him much better as he bids to pinch one of the three places on offer for the Open.
His playing partner Andrea Pavan meanwhile is already qualified for Portrush and having shot 62 from one of the early groups out on Saturday my suspicion is that he will struggle to follow this up and I am happy to take Slattery at odds of 13/10 to get the better of him when they tee off at 3.18pm.