This week in golf: Grace’s Scottish Open claims are very strong
Unless backing Dustin Johnson for any tournament he enters just now, picking winners in golf remains an inherently tricky pursuit, but not impossible by any means.
In the absence of Johnson – who has just added the WGC Bridgestone title to his US Open crown in successive starts – from this year’s Aberdeen Management Scottish Open field, a tried and tested method of attack is relied upon when appraising the runners and riders in our market.
It’s that magical golf-betting trend of current and course form that helps determine the wearer of Sunday’s widest smile.
Incidentally, DJ, who is certainly due a well-earned rest ahead of the Open Championship, is currently installed as our co 8/1 second favourite to glue together consecutive majors at Royal Troon.
Back to the traditional links warm up ahead of the Open though and it’s a return to Inverness’ Castle Stuart course which looks like aiding the chances of one high-profile cast member.
When the east-coast venue last played host to the Scottish Open, Phil Mickelson took the laurels en-route to a historic Claret Jug double in 2013.
It’s not the out-of-nick Mickelson who is in our crosshairs here though. Rather second favourite Branden Grace at 12/1.
The South African is enjoying his most consistent season yet on the European Tour, moving into the top ten in the world for the first time in his career the week leading into Scotland’s home Open.
This upward manoeuvre in the rankings was possible thanks to four top-10 finishes in his last five starts, including a win. Crucially, Grace held the joint lead after 72 holes at Castle Stuart, albeit Mickelson took the laurels in the play-off.
That 17-under-par score included a second-round 65, so the links-savvy South African clearly has a game suited to the famous highland track.
Having also added nine yards to his average driving distance since 2013 – now standing at 303.63 which places him 11th in the European Tours rankings – birdie opportunities should come even more easily.
That’s just one of a quintet of key statistics Grace currently inhabits the top-20 on tour in, including stroke average, putts-per round, scrambling and greens in regulation.
Piecing it altogether, the man who sits seventh in the Race to Dubai standings is in fine nick to go one better than three years ago.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.