Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Preview7 min read
Danny Willett produced a superb performance to hold off debutant Jon Rahm at Wentworth for victory on Sunday and both players head north to compete in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. This pro-am format takes place at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews before the final round at the Old Course.
Links specialists are favoured here with an ability to handle windy conditions, which are expected at times, during the course of this week’s tournament in Scotland. British players and Scandinavians, with Lucas Bjerregaard last year’s champion, have a strong record in the event. Rory McIlroy is the 11/2 favourite and has been runner-up three times here but there are appealing alternatives at much bigger prices.
Hatton goes for Dunhill hat-trick
Tyrrell Hatton has already won this tournament twice and the fiery English golfer could go close to winning it for a third time this week. Hatton, who is marginally preferred over Open champion Shane Lowry, absolutely loves this event with two of his three European Tour titles coming at the Dunhill Links. His first win came three years ago and he went back-to-back 12 months later.
Hatton’s title defence last season very nearly produced another win as he finished in a tie for second. His phenomenal tournament record over the last three years has seen him shoot 61-under-par for his last 12 rounds. Hatton may have been wrongly overlooked in the betting after missing the cut at the PGA Championship but he was sixth a couple of months ago at the Open Championship. He comes alive in Scotland and is an attractive price at 28/1 to continue his sensational form north of the border.
Haotong Li made an impressive tournament debut here 12 months ago and could surpass this on his return. The talented Chinese golfer recovered from a poor start at Kingsbarns to finish joint fifth. It was a very encouraging effort and continued his links form after third place at the Open Championship two years ago.
Li has the potential to become a world class player and already has two European Tour victories, after wins at the China Open and the Dubai Desert Classic. The 24-year-old finished inside the top four in China and at the Saudi International earlier this season before a relatively quiet summer. After eight weeks away from competition, he knocked off the rust by making the cut at Wentworth and much better can be expected on more suitable terrain. Li is capable of extremely low-scoring bursts and appeals at 50/1 each way.
Bezuidenhout can threaten second title
Christiaan Bezuidenhout has enjoyed an excellent breakthrough season on the European Tour and the fast-improving South African can build on this by contending at the Dunhill Links. The 25-year-old clinched his first title at the Andalucia Masters in June at Valderrama. He has not rested on his laurels either with 12th place at the European Masters followed by a tremendous third on debut at Wentworth last week.
Bezuidenhout was the joint leader for greens in regulation at the PGA Championship and is hitting the ball with real authority. Comfortable playing in the wind, as he showed when tied second at the Qatar Masters earlier this year, Bezuidenhout should be well suited to this week’s challenge. Four years ago, he finished inside the top 35 at the Dunhill Links and this season returns a completely different proposition as a confident European Tour champion. If he reproduces last week’s stellar ball striking, Bezuidenhout has to be a factor at generous odds of 60/1.
Romain Langasque has enjoyed plenty of success in Scotland and the Frenchman could go well in the country again this week. Langasque won the British Amateur Championship four years ago at Carnoustie and returning to the course this week is bound to spark positive memories. He also impressed on the links at the Scottish Open this summer after shooting 20-under-par for third place.
Langasque has looked comfortable back competing on the European Tour this season and gone close to claiming his first victory. The sweet-swinging 24-year-old finished second at the South African Open at the end of last year and was third at the Made in Denmark in May. A closing round of 67 secured a top 20 at Wentworth where he was fourth for greens in regulation. Langasque looks close to breaking through and merits support at 70/1 each way.
Joakim Lagergren seems to relish this particular tournament and has already twice finished in the each way places in the event. The Swede was fourth at the Dunhill Links in 2015 on his debut and backed this up with the same result 12 months later. Lagergren was also tied 12th in 2017 so there is no doubt this is one of his favourite weeks of the year on the European Tour.
The 27-year-old won his first tournament last year after handling breezy conditions to win the Sicilian Open. Lagergren has found his form since the end of the summer, with a top ten at the Scandinavian Invitation and a tie for seventh at the KLM Open. A solid top 25 at the BMW PGA Championship last week was encouraging and 100/1 shot Lagergren looks primed to feature on the leaderboard again at a big price.
Tyrrell Hatton Each Way
Haotong Li Each Way
Christiaan Bezuidenhout Each Way
Romain Langasque Each Way
Joakim Lagergren Each Way