All eyes in the golfing world are starting to turn towards St Andrews next week but before we get there we have an exciting Scottish Open which is about to reach its conclusion.
An interesting moving day which saw the leading groups hit the worst of the conditions on Saturday has given us a packed leaderboard to go into the final round with.
No fewer than 17 men are within five of the lead and there are some big names in that group too with the likes of Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Palmer, Ross Fisher and Paul Lawrie all hunting down the surprise leader Daniel Brooks.
Brooks has technically won on the European Tour but it was the lesser tournament in Madeira last year which was reduced to two rounds so you could call it a token win if you wanted to be harsh. Prior to last week in France he had missed 13 cuts in a row so to be leading the field by one going into the final round is some effort.
He leads the Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin by one shot. Jacquelin was one of those out early on Saturday who took advantage of the easier conditions to post a score and he finds himself right in the mix for Sunday but the final group has not been the place to be very often in European Tour events this season.
Without meaning any disrespect to Brooks and Jacquelin I don’t think many will expect them to get it done on Sunday especially with some big names behind them hunting them down.
Rickie Fowler goes into the final round as the 9/2 favourite to win with Tommy Fleetwood and Joost Luiten both 8/1. All three begin the final day two shots back and it would be no surprise if either of them win.
Conditions are expected to be tougher than they have been all week so far on Sunday and that could bring another man right into play in the form of Eddie Pepperell.
Pepperell was one of those out early on Saturday and he took full advantage with a glorious round of 65 to catapult him right into the mix and the tougher the conditions are the better he might be suited.
On a links layout like this in Ireland a couple of months ago Pepperell shot an incredible bogey-free round on the final day when conditions were as tough as I’ve seen for quite some time and that has to give him plenty of confidence going into this final day.
If we ignore the front two Pepperell is effectively only one off the lead and that is a nice position to strike from. He doesn’t have to force the pace and with a good start his 20/1 odds could come tumbling down quite quickly. He’s the value for the last day in my eyes.
Looking ahead at the two balls on Sunday one jumps out at me. With the wind expected to blow and blow very hard I’m not sure that will suit Ryan Palmer who isn’t used to links golf in extreme conditions.
Palmer goes up against Miguel Angel Jimenez who has seen it all in the game and has played his entire career in tough conditions. The wind won’t get him out of his comfort zone and the way he is firing irons into the pins this week I expect Jimenez to score well on Sunday. I’m not so convinced by Palmer who will be looking to fly the ball right up to the flag and that isn’t the way to play in the wind so at 13/10 Jimenez looks a fair bet to me.
Back E.Pepperell to win Scottish Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 21.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-4)
Back M-A.Jimenez to beat R.Palmer for a 4/10 stake at 2.30 with Paddy Power