The final preparations for next week’s Open Championship are underway for many of the world’s top players – and that includes trying their luck in this week’s Scottish Open.
Unlike in last week’s Irish Open, we have representatives from the world’s top 10 in attendance as both Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas will use the event at Renaissance Club near North Berwick to attempt to fine-tune their game before descending on Royal Portrush.
With an extensive, talented field to pick from, identifying the winner is tricky. McIlroy, currently world number three, is the stand-out candidate and it’s no surprise he’s 25/4 favourite for the event but it’s the second man on the list, Rickie Fowler, who is our outright selection.
Fowler appears to thrive on the links’ in golf’s natural homeland and, after winning the Scottish Open in 2015, has never finished outside of the top 10 since.
The American’s victory at Gullane four years ago and subsequent consistent displays at Castle Stuart, Dundonald and Gullane again means he must be hugely respected this week. Fowler sits 14th in the world at present and won in February when taking the Waste Management Open Pheonix Open.
There are plenty of players who opted for Lahinch last week before now making the quick trip back over the Irish sea to the Renaissance, with Andy Sullivan and Rafa Cabrera Bello among them.
Sullivan impressed with his tie for second place on the west coast of Ireland and seems long at 39/1 to win here. He ended just two shots adrift of Lahinch victor Jon Rahm so goes to Scotland with plenty of confidence. The Englishman should not be discounted, especially when looking for players to end the four days in the top five.
Cabrera Bello, meanwhile, is another man in form and ended in a tie for fourth last week, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him towards the top of the leaderboard at the Renaissance Club, with a top 10 finish appealing at 5/2.
Finally, an outsider pick for the Scottish Open could be Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell. The 39-year-old, like McIlroy, will be desperate to head to his home course of Portrush next week in good shape and he has shown signs of getting back to his best this year, winning his fourth PGA Tour title in the Dominican Republic in March.
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