The Tartan Army specialists can dominate at Castle Stuart
A stellar field is heading to Scotland for this week's Scottish Open, the curtain-raiser to the Open Championship. The long established tournament has taken a different path this year, the event has been moved from Loch Lomond to a new Links course at Castle Stuart.
An impressive field will take part in the event, delighted that they get to practice on a links course before they head to the British Open next week in Kent. The course is only two years old, so none of the competitors have any course form.
The players will need to be able to cope with difficult conditions and the wind could play havoc with the players over course of the event.
The forecast does not look great and the best players could be the golf's Tartan Army and the links specialists. Gallacher (80/1) has only had one win on the European Tour and that was the Dunhill Links Championship in 2004. He has had a mixed season with little to shout home about but he tends to play some of his best golf when the weather is rough and he is in the UK or Ireland.
He is capable of shooting very low scores and he is 66/1 to be the first round leader. Another Scottish player that should play well is Richie Ramsay (66/1). He is in-form and he finished fifth in the Open de France. He was fourth in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2009 and if he continues the form he showed in France last week, there is no reason why he cannot compete at a high level on this links course.
Thomas Levet is French and he won in France last week, so I see no reason why a Scotsman cannot win in the Highlands.
One player who can excel this week and delight the crowd is Luke Donald (14/1). He is the best at sand-saves in the world and he is very accurate with his driver. His short-game should thrive on this course and it will be perfect preparation for Sandwich next week.
The 41-year-old South African Els (50/1), will try and win the Barclays Scottish Open title for the third time, a feat only achieved in the event's history by Woosnam. He has already tasted success this season on the Tour at the Durban Country Club in South Africa. He is popular in Scotland and if he can get to grips with this new links course there is no reason why he cannot be the champion on Sunday.
Simon Khan (80/1) had a torrid start to the season and he failed to make the cut for five events running recently. He finished fifth at the Open de France last week, and he put two sub-70 rounds together at the BMW International Open the previous week. He won the BMW PGA Championship last year and the in-form player could be a solid each-way bet at a big price.