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British Isle dominance to continue with Lowry at Irish Open

| 18.06.2014

Paul Casey is a 20/1 shot to retain his Irish Open title with Ladbrokes, a price that makes him the third skinniest fancy for the tournament, but history is against the Englishman defending his crown.

No player since Colin Montgomerie in 1996/97 has doubled up on Irish Open triumphs, suggesting a fresh champion will be crowned in 2014.

With Casey securing just one top 10 all season and not winning a tournament since his last appearance in this one 12 months ago, the former Ryder Cup star isn’t exactly well placed for a title tilt.

However, punters shouldn’t stray too far from the GB and Ireland contingent in the tournament when looking for their winner, as players of that heritage have won all of the last seven editions.

Rory McIlroy, 3/1, and Graeme McDowell, 16s, sit ahead of Casey in the betting but neither appeal because of either their price (McIlroy) or an average record in the tournament (McDowell).

Instead Shane Lowry, another Irishman, is well worth considering at 25/1. He won this tournament as an amateur in 2009, finished fifth last year and has been in superb form recently.

Before the tough US Open, which saw him miss the cut, Lowry had registered top-25 finishes in his three previous tournaments, including a second in the BMW PGA Championship where McIlroy’s brilliance pipped him to the post.

With consecutive par fives on this year’s Fota Island front nine and two more on the way home, including a short eagle chance on 18, the big-hitters will likely relish the chance to score low.

James Heath is the longest GB and Ireland-based player on the European Tour and at 400/1 is well worth an each way punt considering his 308-yard average drive stat, nationality and recent upturn in form (he finished a season’s best T48 at the Lyoness Open last time out).

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.