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Scottish Open betting preview
By David John Last updated: 7th July 2010
Ernie Els is fancied to land a third Barclays Scottish Open this week at beautiful Loch Lomond, says Dave John.
Ernie Els remains the only player to have won the Barclays Scottish Open twice at Loch Lomond and he has decent claims of number three this week in Scotland.
Aside from the two titles, Els boasts a magnificently consistent record since 2000 and with him rediscovering his form this season, you can be sure he will be fired up for an event he loves.
He told his personal website: "Everything about the tournament is really as good as it gets in golf.
"It really is a special place for me and for the family and we all love coming back here every year. I feel very much at home at Loch Lomond."
I would not take his recent missed cut at the BMW International too seriously as he admitted being a bit mentally drained after his third place at Pebble Beach in the US Open.
The confidence has really flowed back into Els' game this year and that is supported by some vastly improved stats on the US Tour that has seen his Stroke Average improve from 26th in 2009 to 1st, Greens In Regulation from 79th to 18th, Putts Per Round from 113th to 58th and All Round Ranking from 71st to 24th.
14/1 may not be the most attractive price aver chalked up but he makes much the most appeal among the market leaders.
Phil Mickelson's natural brilliance means he will always be a threat but will be more keen to play himself to concert pitch ready for next week at St Andrews.
US Open hero Graeme McDowell has partyed for two weeks since Pebble Beach and may just lack a bit of edge while defending champion Martin Kaymer is not quite firing on all cylinders at the moment.
They represent a trio to take on at the moment.
Having blundered badly by tipping Heath Slocum in France last week, I am sticking with the the policy of following an American and siding with big-hitting JB Holmes.
The strategy flopped with Slocum never really at the races and missing the cut but I am optimistic that Holmes could make amends at 66/1 following a solid effort behind Justin Rose at the AT&T National in Pennsylvania.
A closing 66 hoisted him up into fifth place having admitted earlier in the spring that he had been "hitting ball fantastic".
Holmes also said that he perhaps has not been holing out quite as well as he was at the start of 2010 but his putting stats are a vast improvement on 2009 (161st up to 22nd in Putts Per Round) and the beautiful greens at Loch Lomond should mean there are no excuses.
Fellow countryman Nick Watney came over last year ahead of the Open Championship and posted a T6 on his debut in the tournament so I reckon Holmes could follow a similar path and get involved at the business end on Sunday afternoon.
Final selection this week's goes to in-form Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin who surely can't be far away from ending a winless spell that stretches back to 2007.
He arrives in Scotland on a typically consistent run of form since Madrid at the end of May and should be upbeat about his chances following his T2 here 12 months ago.
He said: "It's a nice track. I love to play here," after two rounds of 66 over the weekend 12 months ago and if he can manage to get the putter going I would not be surprised to see a similar bold display.
He boasts a solid record in Scotland throughout his career so should be looking forward to the next fortnight when he moves on to St Andrews.
There is some 70/1 left at bet365 and that should be snapped up.
3pts e.w. Ernie Els at 14/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5,6 Boylesports). Back to form in 2010 and loves playing Loch Lomond.
1pt e.w. JB Holmes at 66/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5, sportingbet). Solid effort last week and fancied to make an impact.
1pt e.w. Raphael Jacquelin at 70/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5, bet365). T2 here 12 months ago and decent claim to end winless spell.
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