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Alfred Dunhill attracts many Australians

(Photo: Golf Australia)
The US$5.7 million Alfred Dunhill Links begins this Thursday over three courses in the areas of Fife and Angus in Scotland.

The three traditional venues for this pro-am style format, the Old Course and Kingsbarns layouts at St Andrews and Carnoustie several miles to the north, have played host since the event was first introduced to the European Tour schedule in 2001.

Former winner Martin Kaymer will start as the favourite again having been in that position for his third consecutive tournament, the German having been beaten in a playoff at his last start in Italy.

Kaymer has also finished runner-up in the event and, although not as good in more recent starts, he is a great chance to add yet another European Tour title.

Branden Grace has been one of the big movers in world golf in 2015 having finished inside the top five at the PGA Championship and at the US Open and also winning the Qatar Masters earlier in the year. The South African did win this event in 2012 and he deserves serious consideration ahead of his appearance at the Presidents Cup next week.

Luke Donald might not have won anywhere for some time but he has still played solidly enough of late and in the few times he has played this event he has performed well. The former world number one is a player of class and another win is surely not far away.

Brooks Koepka has been one of the finds of the PGA Tour in 2015 and played especially well during the middle of the year. The American has played this event just twice but did finish 9th in 2014.

Charl Schwartzel has not had a great record at the Alfred Dunhill Links and although, like Luke Donald, it has been some time since the South African won anywhere he has played well enough of late for his to be in calculations.

Danny Willett has recorded mixed results in this event, missing the cut in each of his last two starts but also finishing 5th and runner-up in two earlier years. Willett has though been in good form for much of this year and at his most recent start in Italy finished 3rd.

Shane Lowry has been 3rd and 6th in his last two starts in this event and although he has missed two of his last three cuts sandwiched in between was his remarkable victory at the WGC Bridgestone.

Matthew Fitzpatrick just keeps getting better as he established himself on the European Tour. He has been inside the top three in three of his last six starts this season and although playing this event for the first occasion he can be expected to do well.

Australians are here in number as a result of this event’s inclusion of a players from a selection of money lists everywhere. European Tour regulars Richard Green, Scott Hend, Marcus Fraser, Wade Ormsby and
Andrew Dodt are perhaps the most credentialed but they will be joined by Terry Pilkadaris, Jake Higginbottom, Josh Younger, Steven Jeffress, Nick Cullen, Nathan Holman, Dimi Papadatos and Stephen Dartnall.

None have had a great record at this event and so Scott Hend’s 4th place finish in Germany last week perhaps makes him the favourite amongst the Australians. Green, Fraser and Ormsby will have their chances however to be at least the leading Australian.

Also in the field are New Zealanders Ryan Fox and Mark Brown.

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