Overview and Betting Market
We can now look forward to the real start of the golf season in mainland Europe, and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open kicks it all off ahead of a huge fortnight in European Golf. The K Club in Kildare returns to the rota ahead of a trip to the European Tour HQ at Wentworth for the BMW Championship next week. Rory McIlroy - 5.00 - hosts in Ireland and the event has attracted a decent field - helped by a huge 4 million Euro purse.
The Palmer course at the K club played main host of the European Open for its duration in Ireland from 1995 - 2007, with the Smurfit course taking centre stage in the seasons surrounding the Ryder Cup year 2006. The Palmer course was the track in question for said Ryder Cup. Amongst the big names coming to the Emerald Isle in 2016 are multiple Palmer Course winner Lee Westwood - 29.00 - and Masters victor Danny Willett - 19.00. Apart from Rory, Shane Lowry - 19.00 - will be the biggest home hope, following an impressive display at Sawgrass. G-Mac - 34.00 - also showed some form at The Players Championship and will be looking to shine in front of the home crowds.
Course Features and Premiums - K Club (Palmer Course)
Playing circa 7,350 yards to a par of 72, the Palmer course is one of the "top parkland courses" in Ireland - a direct contrast from the "inland links" Smurfit course across the River Liffey. The track is fully tree-lined with average width fairways, and rough will be tricky not too penal. The Palmer course incorporates a lot of slightly raised but not overly undulating surfaces that are prepped to run smooth at around 11.5 on the stimp. Ball striking and strokes gained tee to green will be the premium while birdie opportunities will be aplenty - the winning score around here averages in the low teens. Conditions here near the course have seen the sun come out over the last few days but ground remains pretty soft. Wind always gets up in the afternoon here but rarely to overpowering speeds.
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Top Betting Tips
When it comes to courses where ball striking is the premium, Rafa Cabrera Bello - 34.00 or 7.50 - always comes onto the radar. Arguably one of the top few players in Europe from tee to green, RCB has been averaging over 60% of fairways hit, over 290 yards from the tips, and circa 75% of GIR since 2012 on the European Tour. He's stepped it up a notch in 2016 recording a top 20 at The Masters, ousting Rory McIlroy into 3rd place at the Dell Matchplay and adding a 4th in Houston to go with two early runner-up finishes on the desert swing in 'Europe'. The K club should prove a nice fit with demands more on the long game than the short.
Martin Kaymer - 51.00 or 11.00 - looks a stand out price amongst the markets leaders on his European Tour return. The German contended last month at Valderamma the most recent time he was on these shores and he's a different proposition in Europe. Sixth in that event, he's been largely simmering this year in the States. Kaymer is a flusher of the irons with superb ball flight and distance control. He also finds the greens in Europe more to his liking, while if the wind gets up he will have an advantage on the field.
Bernd Wiesberger - 46.00 or 10.00 - has had some club issues, with the airline "misplacing" them, but I'm sure that has been sorted. He's already impressed with the K Club venue. He should be a good fit too as the Palmer Course proves to be a ball striker’s paradise. Bernd has been spending a lot of time in the US this year where he ranks 15th in greens in reg. He was tweeting through Sawgrass that his game was in good shape and he carded a 2nd round 67. A 78 in the tough conditions in R3 derailed his performance. Prior to that he had top 35s in Houston and at The Masters and also posted a top 30 in China. The Austrian is renowned as one of the better drivers of the ball on the European Tour where he has hit 75% of GIR this side of the pond.