Expert Picks: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship


This week while the Fall Series gets underway in the U.S., some of Europe's top players tee it up across some of Scotland's best courses in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Michael Hoey defends the title he won by two shots last year over Rory McIlroy. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Ernie Els: If you are going to return to old country links, it seems apropos to pick the reigning British Open champion.

Group 2: Alvaro Quiros: It is an ancient masterpiece, but as history has proven the Old Course can be overpowered given the right conditions and few are better equipped to smash and grab than Quiros.

Group 3: Tom Lewis: 'Young Tom' made quite an impression playing alongside Tom Watson last year at Royal St. George's, and got off to a solid start at last year's Dunhill Links before fading on the weekend.

Group 4: Oliver Wilson: Former European Ryder Cup player needs something positive to turn his season around (just one top-10 finish) and he's had success at the Dunhill before (runner-up in 2009).

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Louis Oosthuizen: Hasn't missed a cut since the U.S. Open, and since that stretch he's had three top-five finishes in eight starts. Has experienced a little success at St. Andrews in the past, too...

Group 2: Romain Wattel: Two top-four finishes in his past four starts, and the 21-year-old is already 41st on the Order of Merit.

Group 3: Edoardo Molinari: Still recovering from wrist surgery, but perhaps he's inspired by brother Francesco and the Europeans' Ryder Cup success.

Group 4: Tommy Fleetwood: Hasn't finished worse than 22nd in his past three starts, during which he's shot in the 60s in nine of the 12 rounds.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Paul Lawrie: He ought to wear that Seve outfit again Sunday at the Old Course.

Group 2: Matteo Manassero: Future Euro Ryder Cupper preparing to wax Americans, too.

Group 3: Thomas Levet: Even former Ryder Cuppers catching the mojo.

Group 4: Carlos Del Moral: Hard to bet against any Spaniard golfer these days.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Louis Oosthuizen: A very strong year for the South African that includes two wins, a runner-up at The Masters and a T-4 finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He finished fifth here a year ago.

Group 2: Branden Grace: He's made the cut in five of his last six starts, including a T-36 at Firestone.

Group 3: Edoardo Molinari: He missed out on his brother's Ryder Cup fun and with only 12 starts this year - and one top-10 finish - he's feeling pressure of his own. This week he can make a statement.

Group 4: Oliver Wilson: While he hasn't had finishes to brag about since, he was the runner-up at this event in 2009.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Louis Oosthuizen: Avoiding Ryder Cuppers here due to the potential emotional letdown. While I'm tempted by two-time Dunhill Links champ Padraig Harrington, the South African placed T-5 in this event last year and won a British Open at St. Andrews. Oosthuizen also posted a trio of top-fives in his last six starts dating back to Firestone.

Group 2: Danny Willett: In his last six starts, he picked off a win (BMW International Open) and a co-runner-up (Omega European Masters). Finished alone in second place at this event in 2010.

Group 3: Marc Warren: The Scot has top-20s in three of his last four starts in his homeland event, including a T-5 last year. He's also coming off consecutive top-15s on the European Tour.

Group 4: Anders Hansen: Enters with top-10s in each of his last three starts, and six top-15s in his last eight. He's made the occasional appearance at this event, logging one top-30 in six tries (T-3, 2005).