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Fox in line for Southport glory

Fox in line for Southport glory

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The European Tour heads to Hillside Golf Club in Southport this week for the British Masters and Ryan Fox looks to be the man to watch at the event hosted by Tommy Fleetwood.

Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup star Fleetwood has been chosen as this year’s host and although he should be respected on his home course, I find it hard to back a player that will have several commitments, other than golf, throughout the week.

An 18-hole course that is around 7,000 yards, Hillside GC, which is classed as a “links course”, is the venue for this week’s event and it has one of the most challenging closing nine holes in the country.

Outright Winner – Fox @ 49/1

On to the first of three selections and New Zealand’s Fox looks hugely appealing this week at generous odds of 49/1.

The world number 81 has been in good form this year and he clinched his fifth professional title at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth in February.

Being able to handle links-style courses will obviously play a huge part in determining the winner and the 32-year-old has produced some impressive performances at venues similar to Hillside.

The Auckland-born star finished second and tied-fourth at the Irish Open in 2018 and 2017 respectively, while he shared fourth place at the Scottish Open two years ago.

Fox is also 14th in driving distance and 16th in strokes gained: off-the-tee, while he is third in greens in regulation and seventh in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

Top-10 Finish – Southgate @ 15/2

Englishman Matthew Southgate is one of several home favourites in the field and he will be hoping his knowledge of links golf will give him a huge advantage this week, having won the 2010 St Andrews Links Trophy as an amateur.

The 30-year-old’s game is well suited to links golf, having finished T12 and T6 at the Open Championship in 2016 and 2017 respectively, while he ended up in a share of second at the 2017 Irish Open.

He may not be pulling up any trees on recent form, having missed the cut at the Trophee Hassan II last time out, but the world number 267 looks a decent shout to go well in Southport due to his love of links golf.

Outright Winner – Dunne @ 49/1

My final pick goes to Irishman Paul Dunne who managed to win the 2017 edition with a record score of 260.

The world number 145 has shown some decent form this season, with a third-place finish at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth his most notable result.

The 26-year-old was forced to withdraw from his opening round at the Volvo China Open last time out although his confirmation for this week’s event shows he is fighting fit and ready to go.

Dunne is another player who enjoys links courses and he seems well worth a punt at 49/1 to add a second European Tour title to his CV.

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Aidan Perkins Aidan is another person with a wealth of journalistic experience behind him, both written and broadcasting. He has played football to a good level and that gives him an extra insight into the reason for selections at both domestic and European matches.

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