Next stop on the European Tour is the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, which takes place for the third time at the picturesque Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness. With stunning views over the Moray Firth, this 7193yd Par 72 links track is being used by the players as preparation for Muirfield next week. Sunny warm conditions with light winds are forecast for the four days.
Unlike the two previous renewals, which were played in soft conditions, I think this year we will see a true links test, with fast running fairways and firm greens. For that reason, I find it rather strange that our top home grown stars have shunned this event.
Moving swiftly on, from a punting angle I see Leftie and Ernie Els using this week as a chance to fine tune their links game for Muirfield. I would not be at all surprised if the Big Easy contends this week, as he is in a rich vein of form at the moment; I just feel the following week may be the week he has his eye on.
My main fancy this week is Henrik Stenson, who has worked his way back up the world rankings, with good finishes on the US Tour this year. He currently stands in the top 10 in both greens in regulation and driving accuracy stats, and with a proven links pedigree and 8th place finish on his course debut last year, I expect a bold show, particularly if the putter gets hot this week.
Another fancy is the Belgian Bomber Nicolas Colsaerts, who has also been playing mainly on the US Tour this season. He has posted 2 top 10 finishes this year, including the US Open at Merion, and proved at Lytham last year with a 7th place finish that he has the game to contend on a links track. He also boasts a joint 3rd finish here in 2011.
My final fancy is the experienced Richard Green, who showed a welcome return to form with a tied 6th place finish in Paris last week. A fast running links track is exactly the type of test the Aussie needs to bring out his best, and with his silky putting stroke in excellent order last week, I think his price is of value.
Henrik Stenson 20-1(E/W))-6 places Paddy Power
Nicolas Colsaerts 36/1(E/W)-6 places bet365
Richard Green-100-1(E/W)-6 places Ladbrokes