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3 Irish Open betting preview
By David John Last updated: 28th July 2010
Damien McGrane could surprise a few of the bigger home hopes in this week's 3 Irish Open in Killarney, says Dave John.
Organisers of the 3 Irish Open must be rubbing their hands together this week in anticipation of another home win.
The 8/1 about Rory McIlroy has already been taken at the head of the betting while US open hero Graeme McDowell and thrice major winner Padraig Harrington spearhead an extremely promising home assault.
McIlroy has been enjoying a few relaxed rounds of golf in the build-up following his turbulent four days at St Andrews in the Open Championship.
You have to be impressed with the way McIlroy handled himself after his 80 in round two, not only fronting up and going on camera with his reaction but also the way he regathered his game to shoot 69-68 at the weekend and still take third place.
He revealed in a recent interview that outside of the majors, this is the event he would most like to win.
With this comes an added weight of expectation on his still relatively young shoulders and that is just enough to put me off at the odds on offer.
G-Mac had one poor round at St Andrews in what was otherwise a very good week and if you think he can win a third big event in five outings then 16/1 is the price available.
Harrington is winless since the 2008 USPGA and his form at the moment seems to follow a consistent pattern of good event backed-up by a bad one.
The omens looks reasonable then if he keeps up the trend after missing the cut at St Andrews.
Darren Clarke and defending champion Shane Lowry have shown more than enough recently as well to suggest they will be competitive but the Irishman I quite like the look of is Damien McGrane at 50/1.
The man from Co. Meath has now gone a couple of years since his maiden victory in China but he looks to be coming mighty close to doubling that tally judged on recent efforts.
He has missed just one cut from his last 10 starts, and from those tournaments he has notched seven finishes inside the top 20.
He has been in good shape in Portugal and France before mediocre final rounds but feels that if keeps getting in the firing line then his turn will finally arrive.
Another top 10 in Scandinavia last week was a lovely warm-up and he is one of the home contingent who has flown under the radar a little this week - and that could be helpful.
Hopefully he will be inspired over the first couple of days being in the threeball with McDowell and Harrington as I feel his game is in the right shape to make a very strong bid.
There are probably quite a few punters who will not go within a well-struck four iron of backing Bradley Dredge but I think he might be worth following at 50/1 on this occasion.
The Welshman chucked away a great chance at the BMW International last month in Germany while a closing 74 earlier in the campaign saw the Qatar Masters also slip from his grasp having gone into the final round with a share of the lead.
"I've been on tour a few years now and I understand to win tournaments you have to be aggressive and you have to shoot for the flags, you have to make birdies," he said in Qatar so it seems it is an attacking policy that has been his downfall rather than a lack of ambition - which is much more excusable in my book.
His two wins to date on Tour back this fact up - both were by eight shots - so if Dredge can get that little bit of luck down the stretch then he has the game in place to finally finish off the job.
I like him this week because he has a history of good performances in the event but again tinged with disappointment.
He lost a play-off to Harrington in 2007 and then led (again!) going into the final round a year later before posting a 76 as Richard Finch when on to take the title.
In a nutshell, Dredge is playing well enough to win this and he could finally exorcise a few demons too.
Third selection this week is Nick Dougherty, who showed signs of life for the first time in a while last week in Scandinavia.
Conditions were not the easiest in Stockholm so his T19 at the finish was promising considering he had missed his five previous cuts.
What is encouraging about his chances is his record in Ireland which is two top-four displays from his last four outings in the event.
Dougherty has a habit of popping up again in events where he has done well in the past - Qatar and the SAS Masters spring to mind - so last week's display sets him up nicely for his return to the Emerlad Isle.
He looks worth a shot at the 66/1 on offer.
We shall go for one from out of left field now to complete the portfolio and he is Sweden's Mikael Lundberg at 400/1 with Boylesports.
Things have been a tad bleak so far in 2010 for him but his last couple of events have seen him at least make the cut and a T34 in Scandinavia was his best effort since the first week in May.
I think he could raise his game this week for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it was around this week two years ago that he won in Russia for the second time so should have plenty of positive memories from that while the double victories for compatriots Richard S Johnson and Carl Pettersson in Stockholm and Canada could also work as inspiration for him to get back on track.
Lundberg is pretty talented when on his game and he looks the best of the massive outsiders in Kilkenny.
1.5pts e.w. Damien McGrane at 55/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Betfred). Very consistent form lately and can upstage the big names.
1pt e.w. Bradley Dredge at 50/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5,6 Boylesports). Aggressive approach has cost him this year but worth another chance.
1pt e.w. Nick Dougherty at 66/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 General). Better effort last week and habit of playing well in Ireland.
1pt e.w. Mikael Lundberg at 400/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5,6 Boylesports). Hinted at improvement of late and pick of the massive prices.
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