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Nic Ladds 7th Jul 2009 - 13:24

Clark can shine brightest in star-studded line up

An absolutely belting way to warm up for the Open with a fantastic field assembled at Loch Lomond for the Scottish Open and the main bet could give backers plenty of pennies to play with next week as at odds of 20/1 Tim Clark is our number one pick.

An absolute first class field is lining up for this years Barclays Scottish Open which is the warm up before next week's eagerly anticipated Open.

Form here however does not translate well to the Major with only two of the last nine winners here even finishing in the top 10 in the Open. With a large prize fund on offer this has become a key fixture in the Race To Dubai hence the star studded field.

Favourite is Geoff Ogilvy who seems to be an expert in the WGC and he has not played here since 2001 but is overlooked at odds of 14/1 due to his relatively poor knowledge of the course, while the same applies to 30/1 chance Camilo Villegas who is making his debut here at Loch Lomond.

It will be interesting to see how some of the players who rarely play on the European Tour get on as this should suit their game better than next week's tough Links golf will.

There may be some here who are here to fine tune their games before the main event next week but those will be few and far between due to the money on offer and Clark is certainly one man who won't be.

His record here on his last three starts is 5, 1, 5 and while he seems unable to win on US soil, he has no such trouble on the European Tour and his game suits the course perfectly as his finishing positions have shown and at 20/1 looks a fantastic each way bet.

Johan Edfors is another who warrants each way interest at the tasty price of 66/1. Edfors won here in 2006 so has the course form to be in the mix and he is playing well enough at the moment to suggest that he can keep up with the big name of the field.

Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter are joint 16/1 second favourites and both have decent chances, with McIlroy  refreshed after his break following his US Open top 10 and Poulter comes off the back of a third last week to a course where he has finished in the top 10 four times and both are dangerous to rule out.

Ernie Els' course form is second to none with two wins and host of excellent finishes here the 'Big Easy' will hope to get back to winning ways at one of his favourite courses after seemingly been out of sorts until recently where he has finally managed to wade in with some decent finishes and 28/1 will be tempting to many.

Lee Westwood is the final selection at 18/1 in the betting after his fantastic finish last week where he lost out in a play off to Martin Kaymer (who is 28/1 to follow up last week's victory).

His record here is very good with a host of top 20 finishes and a victory here back in 1998, and the manner in which he came from behind to challenge for the win last week suggests he may be peaking at just the right time.

Other possibilities in a very open tournament include Ross Fisher at 20/1 who has a great chance but he has stated he will walk off if his wife goes in to labour and there is always a chance his head will be elsewhere because of this.

Last year's winner Graeme McDowell will not be here to make up numbers at 40/1 although he doesn't quite seem in the form he was in this time last year, while Nick Dougherty's recent win is bound to fill him with confidence and there is no reason why he will not go on to bigger and better things and is available at 50/1 to do so this week.

It will be fascinating also to see how US Tour winners Brian Gay, Rory Sabbiatini and Nick Watney all get on here at 33/1, 40/1 and 40/1 respectively all would have a great chance if translating their form to these climates.

While many will have one eye on next week's Major it would be best to sit back and thoroughly enjoy this Scottish Open as it often produces some fantastic golf and is a great tournament in its own right and with one of the strongest fields for some time in attendance it is a fantastic warm up for the Open.

Recommendations:

Tim Clark - 20/1

Johan Edfors - 66/1

Lee Westwood - 18/1

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