Paul Lawrie Matchplay 2016 – Archerfield Links Golf Club live on Sky Sports 4
After a successful inaugural event last summer, the Paul Lawrie Matchplay is into its second year as a European Tour event. As the name clearly gives away, this is a tournament played as matchplay as opposed standard strokeplay, with 64 golfers competing over the course of 4 days in a straight knock-out format. To win the event our champion will need to win 6 straight matches with no room for error. Lose a match and you are out – simple. In a Ryder Cup year, it gives a chance for some of Team Europe’s hopefuls such as Matthew Fitzpatrick, Alex Noren and Chris Wood the chance to home their matchplay skills before September 30th and their potential battles with the Americans across the pond.
Archerfield Links Golf Club stages this year’s event and is home to two magnificent links courses, the Fidra and the Dirleton. The Fidra 18 holes will be used for this matchplay tournament and has been used in the past to host the Ladies Scottish Open. If it is anything like last years course, the Murcar, then we are in for a treat. It plays to a yardage of 6,978 and a traditional par of 72. Depending on wind direction, all the par 5’s look reachable, measuring between 494 and 563 yards. As with most links courses the par 3’s are all short – the shortest is the 13th at 166 yards, the longest being the 17th at 206. Oddly for a links course being situated so close to the sea, the first ten holes are reasonably tree-lined with pine forest protecting the fairways. The remaining eight holes look much more linksy, being very exposed and open, and I would suggest will play very differently than the opening holes. Adapting to this change might be very important and anyone that doesn’t might struggle. Because of this obvious difference, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see some big comebacks from behind, especially given the 11th is a par 5, perfect for a momentum changer.
Light winds and showers are forecast for the first two days, with the wind slowing picking up through the weekend. Saturday and Sunday should be dry, but blowy. The wind is due to blow at 30mph or more on Sunday making the semi-finals, third-fouth playoff and final potentially very interesting!
Previous Winners & Key Stats
As this is just the second staging of this event we’ve had to list other recent matchplay tournament winners on the ET, including the runners-up, 3rd and 4th place finishers. This should give a guideline as to what sort of player thrives at this specialist format –
Paul Lawrie Matchplay 2016 –
Winner: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), 2nd Robert Karlsson (SWE), 3rd David Howell (ENG), 4th Marc Warren (SCO)
Volvo World Matchplay 2014 –
Winner: Mikko Ilonen (FIN), 2nd Henrik Stenson (SWE), 3rd Joost Luiten (NET), 4th George Coetzee (RSA)
Volvo World Matchplay 2013 –
Winner: Graeme McDowell (NI), 2nd Thongchai Jaidee (THA), 3rd Thomas Aiken (RSA), 3rd Branden Grace (RSA)
Volvo World Matchplay 2012 –
Winner: Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), 2nd Graeme McDowell (NI), 3rd Rafa Cabrera-Bello (SPA), 3rd Paul Lawrie (SCO)
Volvo World Matchplay 2011 –
Winner: Ian Poulter (ENG), 2nd Luke Donald (ENG), 3rd Martin Kaymer (GER), 3rd Lee Westwood (ENG)
One thing I have noticed from looking at the winners listed above is you don’t have to be bang in form to win a matchplay tournament.
Aphibarnrat’s form prior to his win read MC, MC, MC, MC, T4 – one of those MC was at Crans-sur-sierre which I was fortunate to watch in the flesh. There was certainly nothing in the 36 holes to suggest a win was round the corner for the burly Thai! Ilonen also won on the back of two MC’s and McDowell also had a pair of MC’s sandwiched in between a win on the PGA Tour before his 2013 win in Bulgaria. Colsaerts was the one exception to the rule having won in Spain on the back of T7, 2, T29, T3 whilst Poulter was hardly setting the world alight with form reading T57, MC, T36, T27.
One common theme is all five are pretty hardened campaigners with multiple wins already under their belt, whilst all five had won a strokeplay event in the eighteen months prior to their matchplay victory.
Matchplay is somewhat a lottery and I certainly wouldn’t want to be piling into any shorties this week. I’ll be backing several big priced outsiders outright only and will consider using some of the potential winnings at backing the below players opponents if one should make the semi-final stage. That way we can guarantee three figures profits for the week on very small stakes –
James Morrison 66/1
Last years Spanish Open winner comes into this week with frighteningly similar form to last years champ, Aphibarnrat – four MC’s, a WD and T4. The amiable Englishman has also won in windy Madeira and has a decent game for the challenges I think this course poses, especially the tree-lined opening ten hole section.
Kristoffer Broberg 80/1
Since winning his first ET event last year in China, Broberg has gone of the boil somewhat, registering a best finish of T15 since taking down Patrick Reed in that Shanghai playoff. The talented Swede comes into this event on the back of a 72,74 in last weeks USPGA as well as four other previous MC’s – there’s not a lot to suggest he’s a banker this week. But in this field and this format, I can’t have such a talent go unbacked at 80s.
Scott Jamieson 100/1
A winner in 2013 in a rain reduced event in South Africa, Jamieson has failed to register a top ten on the ET since 2014. His best career finishes seem to be played on courses traditionally impacted by the wind – Scottish Open, Aflfred Dunhill links, Perth International, KLM Open, Qatar Masters – and last weeks T24 in Thailand was a big step in the right direction for the Scotsman, who has a career matchplay record of 4-3.
Edoardo Molinari 125/1
The 2010 Ryder Cupper hasn’t registered a top 10 for two seasons and has missed 19 of his last 39 cuts. Quietly though, the lesser known Molinari brother has made 7 of the last 8 weekends, including a T12 in a wind effected event in Mauritius. With two 2010 wins in Scotland on the ET, this could be the place the 35 year-old Italian rediscovers past glories such as that 2010 Ryder Cup, in which he halved a match with Rickie Fowler.
Roope Kakko 150/1
Last years Madeira Open winner (a co-sanctioned ET/CT event) comes into this week having missed 4 of his last 5 cuts, but as per the above reasoning, this doesn’t put me off. The 2 time CT winner has a history of competing when the wind blows, including strong finishes in Madeira, Oman and Ireland.
Prices correct at time of writing.
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