5 to Watch at the Dunhill Links
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship isn't for everyone - the excruciatingly long rounds and pro-am format frustrates many - but it's hard to entirely dismiss the charms of an event that is played across the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie, and the spectacular Kingsbarns. Excitement is only increased when you consider the strength of the field that has gathered on the Fife and Angus coast of Scotland, including the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose.
But who is going to succeed Lucas Bjerregaard as champion of this lucrative tournament? Here are some names to look out for this week under the grey skies of the Home of Golf.
The Englishman hasn't missed a cut - anywhere in the world - since last summer's Open de France. Remarkable statistic, but the popular 28-year-old hasn't won an event in that time despite that imperious consistency. Having long expressed his love for St Andrews, the Ryder Cup star holds the course record at Carnoustie (how do you shoot 63 there?!), and has twice twice been a runner-up at the Dunhill Links, in 2014 and 2018.
Sitting third on the Race to Dubai behind Shane Lowry and Jon Rahm, the Austrian has won both the Scottish Open and Made in Denmark this season, but also displayed his links chops at the Irish Open, where he finished second at Lahinch. His chances of a Caledonian double in 2019 aren't to be easily dismissed.
Two-time winner of the Dunhill, who nearly made it a staggering hat-trick last year, the Englishman hasn't shown much form since his T-6th at the Open Championship in July, but the seaside game is something he has a natural affinity for, and the unique atmosphere of this tournament being something he embraces. It would be a surprise if he didn't contend.
The young Scot has enjoyed an exceptional rookie year on the European Tour, sitting at 13th on the Race to Dubai, but hasn't secured that maiden victory despite near-misses at the British Masters, Denmark and European Open. Home soil would be the perfect stage for that deserved breakthrough, with this unassuming but skilled player boasting admirable confidence to triumph at this level.
It may be a year next from the Ryder Cup, but the captain hasn't allowed his attention to completely turn to Whistling Straits quite yet. Posting top 15 finishes at both the KLM and European Open, the veteran Irishman made the cut at Wentworth, and returns to St Andrews, where he has twice won the Dunhill Links. Winning again may not be likely, but the three-time major champion will relish the damp conditions in Scotland and could roll back the years.
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