It was a low scoring opening round of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on Thursday which has piled the pressure on for the second 18 holes of the tournament on Friday as players continue their preparations for The Open next week.
Those who went low on Thursday will be keen to follow that up with something on Friday to stay in contention while for the players who found birdies harder to come by they will need to find them in order to beat a cut which could be as low as five under.
Round 1 Recap
It was a much better day of scoring than I think many would have expected on a new course but with soft conditions and barely a breath of wind these professionals ate it up. At the end of it we were left with a quartet of leaders on eight under who include our pre-tournament pick Edoardo Molinari. He sits alongside Romain Wattell, Nino Bertasio and Matt Kuchar. There is another decent sized group a shot back on seven under which is headed by Andy Sullivan while Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson sit two off the lead on six under the card. You have to go down to four under and a tie for 29th to find Rory McIlroy.
It was a mixed betting day for us on Thursday. Bernd Wiesberger came through his three ball to get most of the losses back and actually have us in profit for the bets in that sphere but despite Gavin Green posting four under, the sort of score I thought would be in contention to lead it was nowhere near so we had no joy on the first round leader front.
Credit to Bet365 for sticking up a second round leader market where it is 4/1 the field but that highlights the pitfall of betting on it. There are way too many players who can lead at the end of Friday’s play that this is a sucker market if ever I saw one. There is the potential for the 4/1 jolly Matt Kuchar to actually lead the way given that he starts out in that tie up in front but with 28 players within three of the lead it would be madness to get involved in this market.
We have Edoardo Molinari in a fantastic position and our biggest priced runner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is in that bunch of 28 within three of the lead too while Eddie Pepperell may well come to the boil on Friday as well. Hopefully they can all enhance their weekend prospects while we look to coin it in on the three balls.
Friday 3 Balls
The field are out in the same groups they went out in on Thursday for this second round albeit with the tee times swapped around so those out in the morning in the first round are out in the afternoon and vice versa. That means the same groups will get the attention on Friday as they did on the opening day, although with the leaderboard as packed as it is at present there should be scope for the coverage to show a decent number of players on a potentially exciting day. We’ll compliment that with a couple of bets.
Andy Sullivan/Grant Forrest/Matthieu Pavon
Match tees off at 12.50 BST
The first of the three ball groups I am interested in on Friday goes out early on in the afternoon wave of groupings as Andy Sullivan goes out alongside Grant Forrest and Matthieu Pavon, the latter having an absolute mare of a round on Thursday.
Just 19 players shot an over par round on Thursday and the Frenchman was one of them and with the cut looking at worse -4 he is playing for practice only on Friday which leaves this match between the other two I fancy. I’m going to go with Sullivan even though I respect Forrest at home. I noticed Sullivan was looking much better in Ireland last week but I wanted to see if that was a flash in the pan or he really is back and I got my answer on Thursday. He is a three time winner at this level at his best and after the confidence of a seven under round to get started I expect him to win this group again.
Henrik Stenson/Kevin Kisner/Lee Westwood
Match tees off at 13.40 BST
The other bet that I like over the course of the second day of this tournament comes in one of the marquee groups in the afternoon as former Open champion Henrik Stenson goes out alongside the man who led that tournament after 54 holes last year in Kevin Kisner and Lee Westwood.
Stenson got up and running for his Scottish Open with a fine six under round with his tee-to-green game working nicely although he didn’t hole a whole lot. Generally though his putter gets warmer through a tournament which signals danger to Kisner and Westwood. I mentioned on Thursday how Westwood is starting tournaments well but not finishing them so that’s a concern. There is no flaw in Kisner’s game but Stenson looked ominous to me. He won this group on Thursday with middle of the road putting stats. If his putter warms up I’m confident he takes this down.
Back A.Sullivan to beat G.Forrest & M.Pavon for a 3/10 stake at 2.25 with Betfair
Back him here:
WON – Back H.Stenson to beat L.Westwood & K.Kisner for a 3/10 stake at 2.25 with Boylesports
Back him here: