Best bets for the ISPS Handa World Invitational

August 15, 2023 04:35 PM
 

ISPS Handa World Invitational

After its short summer break, the DP World Tour moves to Northern Ireland this week and back to Galgorm Castle, which hosted the past two renewals plus the 2020 Irish Open, for a mixed men’s and women’s event under the guise of the ISPS Handa World Invitational. There are two separate events with the DP World Tour and the Ladies European Tour with equal prize money but separate leaderboards. For this column, we will only focus on the DP World Tour event.

Several players atop of this odds board, including Robert MacIntyre (12-1) and Victor Perez (16-1), are looking to capitalize on one of their final opportunities to impress European captain Luke Donald and earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team.

Ewen Ferguson (18-1) is the defending champion of this event while Laurie Canter (18-1) has been playing mostly LIV Golf this season.

Most DP World Tour regulars did not play over the summer break, including Romain Langasque (20-1), Adrian Otaegui (25-1), Calum Hill (25-1), Matthew Jordan (25-1) and Tom McKibbin (28-1).

The Event

​The ISPS Handa World International is in its third year as a co-sanctioned event between the DP World Tour and the Ladies European Tour and LPGA. Unlike the Scandinavian Mixed event earlier in June, this event has separate tournaments for the men and women. This setup was first held on the Challenge Tour in 2019 with Englishman Jack Senior winning the men's portion and Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow winning the women's tournament. In 2021, the event was upgraded to the DP World Tour with England’s Daniel Gavins and Thailand's Pajaree Anannarukarn emerging victorious. Last year it was Scotland's Ewen Ferguson and Sweden's Maja Stark winning here.

The cut rules are slightly different from normal this week, with the regular Friday night cut falling at 60 players and ties for both the men and the women; there will be a further cut on Saturday night to 35 players and ties for both. In both instances, Galgorm only hosts the weekend’s action. The first two rounds will be played at Castlerock Golf Club, which sits a few miles north along the coast and replaces Massereene Golf Club. Each player will play Castlerock once over the first two days.

The Course​s

Located in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and listed as a 7,151-yard par-70, Galgorm Castle features just 2 par-5s – both on the back nine – and two short par-4s within the first four holes. Greens are excellent quality and are annually overseeded with Creeping Bentgrass to help keep them smooth and true.

Castlerock is a shorter links track at around 6,859 yards and offers better scoring opportunities to the professionals over the first two days.

Recent History​

ISPS Handa World International

2022: Ewen Ferguson (-12/268); 20-1

2021: Daniel Gavins (-13/267); 100-1

2019: Jack Senior (-11/269)

Northern Ireland Open (Challenge Tour)

2020: Tyler Koivisto (-13/267)

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

2020: John Catlin (-10/270); 40-1

Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open (Challenge Tour)

2018: Calum Hill (-19/265)

2017: Robin Sciot-Segrist (-3/20)*

Northern Ireland Open (Challenge Tour)

2016: Ryan Fox (-19/265)

2015: Clement Sordet (-17/267)

2014: Joakim Lagergren (-13/271)

2013: Daan Huizing (-13/271)**

2017 event was a Sunday Knockout format event - *

Playoff win over Oliver Wilson - **

Selections

Adrian Otaegui (25-1, BetMGM)

Otaegui leads the DP World Tour for Driving Accuracy and is third for Strokes Gained: Approach.

Marcus Kinhult (35-1, DraftKings)

Kinhult fared well in his step up in class for the alternate (Barbasol and Barracuda) events on the PGA Tour a few weeks back with two top-20 finishes.

Brandon Robinson-Thompson (45-1, Caesars Sportsbook)

Over the last four weeks, Robinson-Thompson made the cut in his first British Open, won the Irish Challenge and finished third last week in the Scottish Challenge, both on the Challenge Tour.

Darius Van Driel (110-1, Boyd Sports)

Van Driel has two top-10 finishes here. While he missed the cut in both PGA Tour alternate events, he was starting to come into form in Europe with finishes of 21st in the Scandinavian Mixed, 12th in the BMW International Open and 28th in the British Masters on his three previous starts.

Jonathan Caldwell (130-1, DraftKings)

Caldwell has won an event (2021 Scandinavian Mixed) before on the DP World Tour where both the men and women play in the same event. He has two top-10s in the last three weeks on the Challenge Tour.

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