With just two weeks to go until the Open, some of Europe’s best players are heading to Portstewart this week for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Rory McIlroy plays host as no less than 27 Ryder Cup Players and 4 Ryder Cup captains tee up at the Irish Open this week as players aim to get a good run of links golf under their belt before heading to Royal Birkdale.
McIlroy delighted the crowds last year with a final-round 69 to lift his thirteenth European Tour trophy, and will be hoping to emulate that feat this week.
Tommy Fleetwood notched up his second victory of the year at the HNA Open de France last week, and comes in to the event on the back of a string of really good results.
But who should be in your fantasy golf team this week? Remember, you’ve only got until midnight on Wednesday to decide!
Fantasy Picks: Irish Open
Past Champions in the field: Rory McIlroy (’16), Soren Kjeldsen (’15), Mikko Ilonen (’14), Jamie Donaldson (’12), Simon Dyson (’11), Shane Lowry (‘9), Richard Finch (‘8), Padraig Harrington (‘7), Brett Rumford (‘4)
Rory McIlroy: Fantasy Price £15m
McIlroy is both host and defending champion, and has had a week off since he finished T17 at the Travelers Championship. He had just come back from injury and struggled at the US Open the week before, but we have a feeling he might just be back to his best this week.
Hideki Matsuyama: Fantasy Price £14.5m
The new World No.2 produced an incredible late charge on Sunday at Erin Hills to finish 2nd at the US Open behind Brooks Koepka, and will now return to action after a couple of weeks off to build up the third major of the year. Matsuyama has won three times already in the 2016/2017 season, and has missed cut one cut. His last five results? T2 – T45 – T22- T32 – T11.
Jon Rahm: Fantasy Price £12m
The young Spaniard has taken the PGA Tour by storm this year, and despite two missed cuts, Rahm looks to have returned to better form with a T20 finish in France. Although he only turned pro in 2016, the 22-year-old has a victory this year, seven top 10s and is the World No.12. We aren’t betting against him
Andy Sullivan: Fantasy Price £12m
Andy Sullivan finished 13th last week at the HNA Open de France, and was 8th two weeks before – so we reckon he’s a good bet to do well this week. He also hasn’t missed a cut in his last eight events.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: Fantasy Price £11.5m
He missed the cut last week, and in general it’s been a bit of an up and down season for Matt Fitzpatrick. However, there’s been flickers of really good things that make us think he’s on the edge of a breakthrough. He struggled over in the US, missing the cut at both the RBC Heritage and Players, but he finished 32nd and T35 in the Masters and US Open respectively, and was T2 at the Nordea Masters at the beginning of June.
Thomas Pieters: Fantasy Price £11.5m
Pieters hasn’t played a lot since accepting temporary status on the PGA Tour, but despite being a risky bet we have a feeling he could be back to his best this week. In his last five tournaments he’s gone T4 at the Masters, T14 at the BMW PGA Championship, missed the cut in his next two events (Memorial and the US Open), but was T13 at the Open de France last week.
Tommy Fleetwood: Fantasy Price £10.5m
Last week’s winner had already notched up a victory in 2017 in Abu Dhabi, and if it wasn’t for a disappointing level par final-round at the US Open, he could have made it three. Fleetwood has moved to a career best of World No.15, and given he’s already had two runner-up finishes this year and was 6th at the BMW International Open, who says he can’t make it back-to-back victories.
Graeme McDowell: Fantasy Price £9m
Until his last two weeks, McDowell has been really consistent all season but will be undoubtedly frustrated never to have really been in contention on the final day. In 14 starts he’s missed three cuts but had nine top-30 finishes. It’s a bit of a risk, so we’ll leave it up to you if you think G-Mac can come back and deliver this week.
Peter Uihlein: Fantasy Price £6.5m
Uihlein may have come up short by a single shot to Fleetwood last week, but he did book himself a spot at the Open in a couple of weeks time. It was his fourth top 5 this year, and having only missed one cut this year, the American definitely looks like he could be back in the winners circle soon.