Starts - 24th September 2020
Course - Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Par - 70 (34-36)
Length – 7,087 yards
Defending Champion - Jon Rahm
Overall Profit/Loss: -8pts
Pre-Event Six to Watch
T7th Lucas Herbert - 30/1 (No Place)
WD Johannes Veerman - 40/1
1st John Catlin - 40/1
T54thNiklas Lemke - 175/1
T5th Oscar Lengden - 250/1
MC Bernd Ritthammer 300/1
In-Play Bets: -8pts
26 September 2020 ( -6 Points)
2pts Each Way Lucas Herbert (1/4 1,2,3,4) - 25/1 @William Hill
1pt Each Way Julien Guerrier (1/4 1,2,3,4) - 50/1 @William Hill
27 September 2020 ( -2 Points)
1pt Each Way Rikard Karlberg (1/4 1,2,3) - 80/1 @William Hill
Type of Course - Parkland, tree lined, short.
Greens - Bentgrass
Par 5's - 10th and 18th
Last Played - Hosted Northern Ireland Open on 3rd September 2020 and has hosted Challenge Tour events since 2013.
Premium on - Accuracy over length.
A mixed forecast over the four days.
Thurs - Light Rain. Wind forecast between 8-16mph, gusts up to 21mph.
Fri - Sunny and showers. Wind forecast between 9-21mph, gusts up to 26mph.
Sat - Sunny. Wind not a factor, max gusts of 4mph.
Sun - Cloudy. Moderate winds of 5-10mph. Gusts of 15mph.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
The Irish Open will not be played on the coast this year.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals. We saw Jordan Smith withdraw several weeks ago due to "struggles living within the European Tour bubble".
Only once in last 8 years has winning score not been in between -11 and -19.
6 of the last 8 winners were debutants and the other two had no course form to speak of.
Last 3 winners had shown no sign of incoming form.
Favourites or Outsiders
This could be a good opportunity for outsiders who have had more experience of the course on the Challenge Tour. It is not particularly challenging which could bring more outsiders in with a chance.
The course has only been used on the Challenge Tour so we cannot analyse previous statistics.
473 yard par 4 is the toughest hole on course. 4 of the 5 toughest holes are on the front 9 - 3,5,6,9,16.
The 2nd and 4th are short par 4's (336 and 323 yards) and they played stroke index 15 and 16. The short par 3 7th played stroke index 17. Par 5 10th played easiest hole on the course and Par 5 18th is stroke index 14.
Fast or Slow Start
Tyler Koivisto was 4 behind after 36 holes this year. Jack Senior in 2019 was 3 behind after 36 holes. Callum Hill was 2 behind after 36 holes in 2018. It is important to be not too far off the pace but within touching distance.
Six To Watch
As outlined in our Tipping Record, our strategy is to focus on speciality bets and value in-play. However, we have identified the following six players if you do wish to place a bet before the event begins:
Lucas Herbert - 30/1 @ Bet365
Lucas looks like the value among the favourites this week. The world No 79 is the third highest ranked player in the field. He is off the back of an impressive 31st place finish at Winged Foot, so the risk is he will suffer from fatigue - but Tyler Koivisto shook off jet lag three weeks ago and Lucas could do the same. The young Australian may enjoy playing a far easier course and it's one he could rip apart if he is on his game.
Johannes Veerman - 40/1 @ William Hill
The on-form American arrives with great confidence following a 10th and 8th in his last two starts. He seems like a winner in waiting and will be inspired by wins by compatriots John Catlin and Tyler Koivisto recently. He is a debutant to Galgorm Castle, but we mentioned in the blog six of the last 8 winners here have also been. Keep an eye on Veerman continuing his good form.
John Catlin - 40/1 @ William Hill
We missed the early 50/1 on Joachim Lagergren and he is now considered too short at 33's, even though we expect him to go well. Instead we will select another American, John Catlin. The Andalucia Masters champion is another course debutant but his recent form can't be ignored on a course which should suit the accurate type. Three top 10's in his last 5 starts and he will be hungry for more. We saw Sam Horsfield win twice in a short space of time recently and there's no reason why it can't happen again.
Niklas Lemke - 175/1 @Bet365
The Swede returned to form two weeks ago with a 6th place finish in Portugal and it served as a reminder of his talent. He was 3rd in Qatar at the start of the year and 12th at the Vic Open. He has played Galgorm Castle twice with a 9th and missed cut and also has a 3rd place finish at the Irish Challenge in 2018. He is overpriced at 175/1.
Oscar Lengden - 250/1 @Bet365
We will stick with the Swedes who seem to enjoy playing in Ireland. Oscar was 5th here in 2019 and also has two 2nd place finishes at the Irish Challenge in 2017 and 2019. He is on a run of three missed cuts, hence the price, but he finished 5th, 8th and 2nd in the space of five starts a couple of months ago. You don't need to be in sparkling form to win here and he should be chanced if seen making a move.
Bernd Ritthammer 300/1 - Bet365
Bernd has been popping up on leaderboards for several weeks without actually placing in the top 10. He has made his last 6 cuts on the European Tour and also boasts a superb record at Galgorm Castle with a 2nd, 3rd and 5th place finish in four appearances. He also won the Irish Challenge in 2016 so has great memories. He was 2nd to Paul Casey at the Porsche European Open just over a year ago and it might not be too long before he pops up again.
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