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It is another massive week for the European Tour. The Irish Open attracted huge crowds at Royal Portrush last year, in fact more people watched the Irish Open live than the Open Championship. The huge galleries and attractive prize fund ensures that the Irish Open has one of the strongest fields of the year.
Pick of the week – Thomas Bjorn
Bjorn is in brilliant form following a second place finish in Germany last week after being held off by Ernie Els down the stretch. He has also won around Carton House in 2006, the last time the event was played at the venue. Form and history indicate this could be the big Danes week!
Have a great chance:
Has shown some fine form over recent weeks and came close in Germany at the BMW International Open. The course could suit his long and powerful game. I would be surprised if he is not in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
The Irishman returns to the European Tour after playing most of his year in America. Harrington is a threat no matter what course they play and with an enthusiastic home crowd cheering him on he will compete for the top spot. He is not quite back to his major winning best, but signs are there hat he is close, very close!
The young Irishman won this event as an amateur and has since made a good transition to the pro ranks, picking up victories and plying his trade around the globe. He notably knocked Mcilroy out of the WGC World Matchplay earlier this year. He is scared of nobody and is becoming a major player in World Golf.
Go on….have a punt – Peter Lawrie
Peter Lawrie often sneaks under the radar. A good player that has won before and has been a consistent performer on tour for many years. He has been showing signs of good form in recent weeks accumulating some big cheques. And if you want some value from a home player this is the bet for you! Brilliant price from Coral as well!
The Course – Carton House Golf Club
The course sits in the grounds of the Carton House estate and is a Montgomery design. Opened in 2003 it is an exposed parkland course with rough, bunkering as well as fast and sloping greens meaning that wind will play a big part in who wins this week.
The forecast is for warm dry weather with an increase in wind speed throughout the tournament, but at over 7300 yards the course is certain to play tough whatever the conditions.
The Irish Open has been an important fixture on the European Tour for a long time and now attracts a quality field thanks to support from the major Irish stars:
- Rory McIlroy
- Graeme McDowell
- Padraig Harrington
- Darren Clarke
- Shane Lowery
It has been played over a number of venues, but has only been at Carton House twice before where Stephen Dodd and Thomas Bjorn won out in 2005 and 2006. Winning scores were -9 and -5 so expect a tough test and the winning score to be a reasonably low one.
Type of player to win
Due to the length of the course a long hitter will most likely win. The greens are also very tricky with a huge amount of slope, so anyone who deals with quick undulating greens should fare well. The home support will also play a major factor. It will be a shock if no Irishmen are in the mix come the back nine on Sunday.
Notable Past winners
2012 Jamie Donaldson – Royal Portrush
2011 Simon Dyson – Killarney
2010 Ross Fisher – Killarney
2009 Shane Lowry (a)* – County Louth
2008 Richard Finch – Adare
2007 Pádraig Harrington – Adare
2006 Thomas Bjørn Carton House – Kildare
THU 27TH JUNE
Day 1, Sky Sports 1 HD (10:00), Sky Sports 1 HD (15:00)
FRI 28TH JUNE
Day 2, Sky Sports 1 HD (10:00), Sky Sports 1 HD (15:00)
SAT 29TH JUNE
Day 3, Sky Sports 2 HD (13:00)
SUN 30TH JUNE
Day 4, Sky Sports 1 HD (12:30
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