The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship has once again attracted a stellar field, with the world’s top three all taking part. Martin Kaymer (12/1 Tournament Outright) is the defending champion so can the German make it back-to-back titles north of the border?
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The PGA Tour may have reached its climax with the Tour Championship but there is still much to be decided in Europe with places up for grabs in the Race To Dubai.
Luke Donald returns to the European Tour after his hectic schedule stateside and will look to put further daylight between himself and the rest of the chasing pack at the top of the RTD standings. He has been the model of consistency this year and is rarely out of the top 10 with his ability to card a decent round even when not playing at his best (Donald 7/4 Top Five Finish). The Hemel Hempstead-born star has won three times this year and it would be no surprise to see him lift the trophy at the home of golf on Sunday evening.
But his fellow Englishman Lee Westwood might have something to say about that. The 38-year-old has enjoyed another solid year but has won only once, while managing two top 10 finishes in the majors.
Donald beat Westwood in a play-off to take the BMW PGA Championship back in May and it would be great to see the two giants of English golf go head-to-head once again on the Old Course on Sunday afternoon.
Rory McIlroy is second in the RTD table and victory this week would see him close the considerable gap to Donald. It would be easy to think that the Northern Irishman has gone off the boil a bit since his superb victory at the US Open as he has not played too much golf, but the 22-year-old has finished third in the last two tournaments and also finished sixth in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational back in August. He is clearly hungry for more success and loves the big stage and a high-profile event such as this could be right up his street. If his iron play is anywhere near the standard he showed at Congressional then the others could all be playing for second place (McIlroy 21/20 Top Irish).
So what of Kaymer? The former world number one is now down to sixth in the world rankings after a disappointing season by his standards, but he is still fifth in the RTD table and can never be discounted in any tournament. He came up just short at the recent Omega European Masters, as Thomas Bjorn stormed to victory, and showed the sort of form that made him a multiple winner in 2010. The 26-year-old knows his way around the three courses having won by three shots on 17-under par 12 months ago and he has already made it known that he will not give up his crown without a fight.
Bjorn has returned to top form and is enjoying a purple patch in his career at the age of 40 and, with the wind in his sails, he must be considered an excellent bet at decent odds (40/1).
Although the top players are all in decent form and will be hard to beat, a glance down the field suggests that the winner could come from any number of stars, with the likes of Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Simon Dyson and Ross Fisher also in the line-up. US star Dustin Johnson missed out on the $10million FedEx Cup bonus but he has wasted no time in getting back to business and will try his luck in Scotland this week.
It is sure to be an excellent four days of golf with the added excitement of the celebrities on show, with Hollywood stars Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia topping the bill. But which professional will be the leading man on Sunday?