The first round of the Irish Open is in the books and the field will look to make it through to the weekend when the second round of the tournament is played out at the wonderful Ballyliffin links on Friday.
Those who had a good round on Thursday will be looking for another one on Friday to have themselves in a good position for the weekend while those who had an indifferent first round will need a good one to be here for the final 36 holes.
Round 1 Recap
On what was a fairly benign day on the links it was Ryan Fox who leads the way on five under par ahead of a huge group of players on four under which includes the home hero Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Danny Willett. There is another large group two behind the leader on three under with Alexander Bjork, Adrian Otaegui and Dylan Frittelli among them. Tournament host Rory McIlroy is on two under alongside one of our outright bets Mikko Ilonen.
It was a decent start to the week for us betting wise with Joakim Lagergren comfortably winning his three ball and Bradley Dredge tying his with Matteo Manassero to give us a nice playform to build from heading into the second round of the event.
There is no market for the second round leader at the time of writing this preview although even if there was there is probably too many players who have the potential to lead at the end of the day so I’m not sure I would want to bet on it even if there was one. With that in mind we’ll head to the three balls for the bets that we will have across Friday’s action.
Friday 3 Balls
The same groups that were on the course on Thursday go out together again on Friday which means that Rory McIlroy will be out alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjorn Olesen in the morning while the headline group in the afternoon sees Graeme McDowell out with the two Spanish stars Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello. There are plenty of other groups which deserve attention over the course of the day on Friday and we’re giving that to two that we like bets on.
Padraig Harrington/Chris Wood/Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Match tees off at 13.30 BST
The first group that I like the look of is one of the ones which will get plenty of focus in the afternoon as Padraig Harrington goes out alongside Chris Wood and Kiradech Aphibarnrat with the trio looking to get themselves in position to launch a title charge over the weekend.
Harrington won this group with a four under 68 on Thursday with Wood two back from him and Aphibarnrat back on one over and I’m not surprised the Irishman won the group having heard him after the round. He clearly has a bee in his bonnet about his price to win this week and is determined to highlight how wrong his price was. Actually I think the course sets up well for him too with a lack of length negated by a strategic mind and a functioning short game. The Thai is a little too wayward off the tee and Wood keeps on saying his game isn’t right where he wants it despite his results so I’ll go with Harrington to win the group again.
Ruaidhri McGee/Jason Norris/Marc Warren
Match tees off at 14.30 BST
The last group out onto the course on the tenth tee is the little known Ruaidhri McGee, Jason Norris and Marc Warren which I think looks like a penalty kick on the part of the Scot, who won the group on Thursday.
Warren shot two under the card on Thursday while McGee could only shoot level par whereas Norris shot 10 over and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we don’t see him for this second round as he isn’t staying for the weekend after that round. Even if we do I think Warren is a good thing here. McGee did well to fight back from three over after three holes to shoot level par but I fancy things will get trickier on Friday and he’ll be found wanting. McGee barely hit a green in regulation on Thursday and if that continues Warren will outscore him on Friday.
Back P.Harrington to beat C.Wood & K.Aphibarnrat for a 3/10 stake at 3.10 with 888sport
Back M.Warren to beat R.McGee & J.Norris for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with LeoVegas