AXA Scottish Championship 2020
The Event, Venue and Course
After another year having great success predicting outcomes at the BMW PGA Championship (and this year without having to spend countless hours watching players on the range and covering an obscene amount of miles walking round the course). The European Tour heads back up to Scotland to present us with a brand new event for 2020 in the form of the Scottish Championships.
Very similar to events played in England as part of the first phase of the UK swing, this event has been put in place to suit the current restrictions and demands required to continue offering tournament golf as we work our way through these very unprecedented times.
This does however present a great opportunity for Scotland to showcase another fine offering of modern links design.
Obviously Scotland is famous for its old school links courses that are steeped in history and tradition but just like the Renaissance Club a couple of weeks back this venue offers refinement and luxury associated to the modern day golfers requirements and a setting whereby the courses attached to the venues look like they are and always should of been a part of Scotland's immense history in the beautiful game.
Fairmont, St Andrews boasts two excellent modern links courses. The Torrance Course and The Kittocks Course. This week the event will be played on the Torrance Course, which is the slightly longer and slightly tougher of the two options they have.
Measuring 7,230 with a par of 72. This Sam Torrance 2001 design has previously hosted 6 Scottish Seniors Championships and also played host to Open Qualifying back in 2010. It is very typical of most coastal links designs from way back and encompasses all of the features like revetted pot bunkering and utilization of natural contouring that you would expect. However, it will have that modern day manicuring and presentation that looks so appealing, even on a cold, wet and windy Scottish day.
WEATHER/DRAW - According to the current forecasts there is zero advantage being either side of the draw. Both days are very similar and the weather is constant throughout the day.
This will lend to better scoring and I am expecting a couple of good scores will be required to make the cut let alone stand a chance going into the weekend.
OFF THE TEE - I will be giving very little attention to requirements off the tee this week. It suits all styles of play and will be dictated more by conditions and good breaks than driving stats.
The fairways here are generous and in all honesty not absolutely essential to find. Of course there are places you simply cant hit it if you want to score well and just as a links course should be there is always the risk of a nasty lie if off the shorter grass.
IRON PLAY - This course will play well in to the hands of the ball striker and someone that is more comfortable manipulating the flight to suit both ground and air conditions. I am not too worried on current statistical trends such as proximity to hole and looking more at those that fit the bill for this style of play.
PUTTING and SCRAMBLING - Considerably the most important area of the game this week. Very rarely will you find a good links player that doesn't have a world class short-game. The creativity and confident execution of a vast variety of shots will be required and I am certainly favoring those that have demonstrated these skill sets well in previous links course tournaments in recent years.
EDDIE PEPPERELL - 15/1
MATTHEW SOUTGATE - 34/1
MATTHEW BALDWIN - 175/1
FIRST ROUND LEADER
MARCUS ARMITAGE - 60/1
CALLUM SHINKWIN - 66/1
MATTHEW BALDWIN - 125/1
LEE WESTWOOD - $10.8K
EDDIE PEPPERELL- $10.4K
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE - $9.1K
BRANDON STONE - $8.6K
GRANT FORREST - $8.1K
MARCUS ARMITAGE - $8.0K
JACK SENIOR - $7.4K
CALLUM SHINKWIN - $7.4K
DALE WHITNELL - $6.9K
MATTHEW BALDWIN - $6.4K
STEVEN TILEY - $6.0K