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DP World Tour: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship preview

The DP World Tour is back at the Home of Golf this week for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, which features two rounds on the Old Course at St Andrews.

Rory McIlroy almost won the Open Championship at St Andrews in July, taking a lead into the final round before getting pipped by an inspired Cameron Smith, and the Northern Irishman has returned to the scene of that heartbreak this week.

What:Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Where:St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Fife and Angus, Scotland
When:Thursday 29th September - Sunday 2nd October
How to watch:Sky Sports Golf & Live Golf Tracker
Odds:Rory McIlroy 9/2, Matt Fitzpatrick 11/1, Shane Lowry 11/1, Tyrrell Hatton 14/1, Tommy Fleetwood 18/1

McIlroy is 9/2 for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, seeking his first victory at St Andrews. The four-time Major winner has come close to lifting silverware at the Home of Golf in both the Open and the Dunhill, but has not quite managed to get over the line in front.

The 33-year-old followed that Open near-miss with an incredible Tour Championship triumph and then a runner-up effort behind Shane Lowry in the BMW PGA Championship. His game has been in tremendous shape, so plenty of punters will be latching on to the little master for the Dunhill.

McIlroy will probably like the look of his draw, too, which means he will avoid Carnoustie on Friday. The Dunhill is a three-course event, where each member of the 168-man field has a round at each course over the first three days, then the top 60 and ties qualify for a St Andrews Sunday shootout.

McIlroy - and most of the big names - have been drawn to play Carnoustie first, then Kingsbarns, then St Andrews. With Thursday expected to be the calmest of the first three days, tackling the notorious Carnoustie first may be an advantage.

Matt Fitzpatrick, the US Open champion, is priced at 11/1 while Shane Lowry, the BMW PGA champion, can be backed at 11/1.

Standard each-way terms of a quarter the odds, the first five places are available, along with other options in the Each Way Extra section.

Dunhill Links Championship course details

The Old Course at St Andrews is 7,318 yards on the card, while Kingsbarns is 7,227 yards. Both are in Fife and play as par 72s. Carnoustie, the most difficult of the three courses, is 7,394 yards and also a par 72. It is in Angus.

St Andrews is a straightforward assignment for the professionals in calm weather, but can be difficult when wind is blowing off the coast. Kingsbarns is the only course of the trio which has four par-fives - and low scoring can be expected there.

Carnoustie is the one track where players may get defensive - there are lots of dangerous holes. The third of the field which has been drawn to tee up at Carnoustie on Friday - in the forecast heavy rain and strong winds - will not be looking forward to that mission.

Thursday seems set to be the only relatively calm day, before the wind picks up for the rest of the week. St Andrews and Carnoustie have hosted many Opens, but are set-up much tougher for Majors.

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Three to follow

Tyrrell Hatton

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton has finished in the top two in four of the last five editions of the Dunhill Links Championship, so 14/1 should be popular about him this week.

Hatton is gunning for a St Andrews hat-trick, having triumphed in the Dunhill in 2016 and 2017. He was a total of 47 under par for those two victories. Nobody has ever won three times at St Andrews - even Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods managed it only twice - so Hatton is chasing history.

Tommy Fleetwood

Another proven Dunhill Links performer is Tommy Fleetwood, who can be backed at 18/1 for victory. The Southport lad has twice finished second in the Dunhill and has three times ended up in fifth place, so each-way backers have history on their side.

Fleetwood finished fourth in the Open at St Andrews in July and will be licking his lips at another opportunity to tackle his favourite track.

Tom Lewis

Links natural Tom Lewis could be of interest at 90/1. The two-time DP World Tour champion has found some form in recent weeks, with top-20 finishes in Prague, Denmark and Rome.

Lewis, a star in links competition as an amateur, has three top-10s to his name in the Dunhill. He won the St Andrews Links Trophy in 2011.

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