We've reached the halfway point of the Alfred Dunhill Championship and Tyrrell Hatton heads the market. Read Steve's latest thoughts on the European Tour's only pro-am here...
19:20 - October 05, 2018
We've reached the halfway stage of the Alfred Dunhill Championship and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard has hit the front but he still has the toughest of the three courses, Carnoustie, to play tomorrow before the whole field play St Andrews for a second time on Sunday. Here are the latest standings with prices to back and courses to be played tomorrow.
Lucas Bjerregaard -9 7.80 Carnoustie Tyrrell Hatton -8 4.10 St Andrews Andrea Pavan -8 16.00 Carnoustie Matthias Schwab -8 20.00 Kingsbarns Marcus Fraser -8 28.00 Kingsbarns Mikko Ilonen -7 34.00 Kingsbarns Ashley Chesters -7 44.00 Carnoustie Ryan Fox -6 28.00 Carnoustie Lee Slattery -6 90.00 Carnoustie Peter Karmis -6 150.00 Carnoustie Tommy Fleetwood -5 7.60 St Andrews Tony Finau -5 14.50 St Andrews Matt Wallace -5 40.00 Carnoustie -5 and 80.00 bar
The inaugural event winner, Paul Lawrie, came from 28th and eight strokes adrift at halfway in 2001 and Stephen Gallacher, in 2004, and David Howell, in 2013, both trailed by six but the vast majority of winners have been up with the pace at this stage.
With a benign day forecasted tomorrow, I can't look past the favourite and hattrick seeking, Tyrrell Hatton, and 3/1 looks like a fair price. Tyrrell's playing St Andrews tomorrow so I expect him to score well and to be trading shorter by this time tomorrow. With the forecast suggesting a really blustery day on Sunday, I'll have another look after round three and decide what to do then but I'll be surprised if Hatton has a slow day tomorrow and he looks worth getting onside now.
The second round of the Safeway Open is underway and Ryan Moore has hit the front. My man, Phil Mickelson, birdied the first hole but he's largely struggled since. I'll be back in the morning with a look at that one in more detail at the halfway stage.
09:35 - October 05, 2018
The wind blew so hard yesterday that it didn't seem to matter where you played at in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, scoring was tough. Carnoustie is always the hardest course and the stroke index there was 75.61 but St Andrews was no pushover, averaging 74.34 and Kingsbarns, arguably the easiest of three in poor weather, averaged 73.5 - more than two strokes less than Carnoustie but still tricky.
I wrote in the preview that I'd take a good look at those that fared well at Carnoustie on day one. With the toughest track out of the way, and with the wind easing today and tomorrow, that makes sense but none of them make much appeal. Co-leader, Marcus Fraser, is exceedingly hard to get across the line and young Austrian, Matthias Schwab, doesn't look especially big at less than 40.00 given he's yet to win.
I'm going to wait and see what today brings and take another look tomorrow. The likes of Brooks Koepka, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood have all kicked the event off well given the intensity of last week's Ryder Cup and it looks a tough one to call at this stage.
Over at the Safeway Open,my man, Phil Mickelson, has started the tournament well and despite the fact that he failed to birdie three of the four par fives yesterday afternoon, and that he struggled to find fairways all day, he managed to fire a bogey-free seven-under-par 65.
I was tempted to get Brandt Snedeker onside. He sits just one behind Mickelson in a tie for fourth but after some deliberation I'm going to sit this one out for now too. I'll be back tomorrow at the halfway stage of both events.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Pre-Event Selections: Chris Wood @42.00 (added after the preview published) Ross Fisher @ 55.00 Haotong Li @ 75.00 Padraig Harrington @ 75.00 Brandon Stone @ 90.00 Matthew Southgate @ 120.00 Callum Shinkwin @ 220.00 Oliver Fisher @ 250.00
In-Play Pick: Tyrrell Hatton @4.10
Safeway Open Pre-Event Selections: Phil Mickelson @ an average of [35.0] Tyler Duncan @ 220.00