2015 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation
Royal County Down GC
Newcastle, Co Down, Northern Ireland 28 May 2015 - 31 May 2015

Favourite: Rory McIlroy 10/3

There may be a star studded field at the Irish Open this year but really it’s all about one man, Rory McIlroy.  Unlike last week at Wentworth where his caddie JP said he wasn’t at the races, Rory is up for this one. He has put in the work, practiced on the course and rested up.  His odds of just over 3/1 are prohibitive at best and not for me, but there’s no doubt he will attract plenty of market attention.

Doc's Top 5 To Watch

Shane Lowry 22/1

Coming off a T6 at Wentworth Shane will be full of confidence heading to RCD, a course he knows well from amateur golf in Ireland.  The Esker Hills man also has a magical short game which is going to be called on around these difficult green complexes.  Former winner of the Irish Open on links at Baltray, I’ll think he’ll be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.

Jamie Donaldson 25/1

I can’t see four days without the weather (especially the wind) having a big say in proceedings at this year’s Irish Open, which is why I like Jamie Donaldson at 25/1.  The Welshman may have had a lean few months on the PGA Tour but things were looking up in his last two starts at The Players (T8) and at Wentworth (T18).  As he proved winning at Portrush in 2012 that flat low ball flight and knuckle-ball drive are a major advantage in wind.

Miguel Angel Jimenez 45/1

Many people think that because Jimenez tied second at the Open deEspana and again at the BMW PGA Championship, that he won’t figure again at Royal County Down, but having been around the entire course last night, it looks tailor made for him; not too long with a premium on short game imagination and good putting.  Well worth an each way shout.  If he fancies it after two tough weeks.

Alex Noren 60/1

I sometimes have Alex Noren on my shortlist for these tips, then don’t tip him, only to see him do well; so I’m going to correct that this week.  Was really impressive in Dubai and Qatar at the start of the season and then fell off the map only to top-10 at Wentworth with a great driving and greens in regulation performance.  He’s just the kind of gutsy gritty guy you need if the weather gets messy this week.

Thongchai Jaidee 70/1

This is more of a personal “feeling in my bones” for Jaidee this week but I’ll tell you why I think he can do well.  It’s his first time back at the Irish Open since playing at Portrush in 2012; I remember watching him shoot a closing 66 for T18 and being impressed then.  The former paratrooper has also won twice on this week of the year, in Wales and Sweden.  And he’s coming off a T2 at Wentworth last week where he ranked second in putts per round.  I rest my case!

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