Andy Sullivan played in the 2016 Ryder Cup and failed to register a point, so the 35-year-old Englishman would love to get another crack at representing Europe in the most prestigious team golf event on the planet.
From 27th on the points list, though, Sullivan needs a serious burst of late-summer form to enter the calculations of European captain Padraig Harrington – and nothing less than victory will do in this week’s ISPS HANDA World Invitational in Northern Ireland.
The low-key event was previously on the Challenge Tour, but has been handed European Tour status this year, with Sullivan starting as
10/1 market leader.
The four-time Tour winner has been inconsistent in recent months, finishing sixth in the British Masters and fifth in the BMW International, but missing cuts in the US PGA Championship and the Scottish Open.
He has never competed at this week’s venue before, so must overcome a handicap in terms of course experience. Lots of players in this field have teed up at Galgorm Castle many times.
Harding out to Erase Play-off Pain
Justin Harding is second in the betting – just below Sullivan – and the South African ace has been performing well for most of the year.
11/1 on offer for Harding will tempt plenty of punters who have seen him win the Kenya Open in March, finish tied with Sullivan for fifth spot in the BMW International, then go so close to Cazoo Open glory in Wales on Sunday.
Harding went to extra holes at Celtic Manor to determine the champion – and he was hot favourite against European Tour maiden Nacho Elvira.
Given Elvira had just blown a six-shot final-round lead, three-putting the 18th hole from 18 feet in a spectacular example of pressure telling, the victory seemed at the mercy of Harding in the play-off.
It was the champion-elect, though, who buckled at the first extra hole – Harding carded a bogey six – allowing Elvira to make an emotional breakthrough.
Norrman can Showcase Talent
Neither of the market principals make much appeal at their short prices – and preference is for the
25/1 for fast-improving Swedish youngster Vincent Norrman.
The 23-year-old enjoyed a successful Stateside college career which saw him rise to fourth in the world amateur rankings, and he finished 12th in the Scandinavian Mixed event on the European Tour in his final event in the unpaid ranks.
His pro debut was fantastic – he made a hole-in-one at a par-four and closed with a round of 66 on his way to a share of fifth spot in the BMW International.
Last week, in the Cazoo Open, Norrman opened with a 64 and contended until he carded a ten at the 18th in round three.
That disaster hole cost him a winning chance, but he bounced back with a Sunday 66 to finish tenth and further advertise his potential.
*All odds correct at time of writing