Sterne set to star in Links test

  • By: David John (Twitter: @SLifeDaveJohn)
  • Last Updated: September 26 2013, 9:25 BST

Richard Sterne gets the headline selection from David John in this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

Sterne: Can add a big win this week to an excellent 2013
Sterne: Can add a big win this week to an excellent 2013

There are just three regular events left on the European Tour before the Final Series gets under way in China and those looking for a big financial boost would do well to bring their 'A' game to the east coast of Scotland this week.

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship has long been one of the most lucrative events of the year and it's mix of big names and celebrities in the pro-am format has really captured the imagination.

For the unitiated, the event takes place on a rotation of three courses, Kingsbarns, Carnoustie and St Andrews, over the first three days with a cut then taking place and Sunday's final round at the latter venue.

There is certainly an element of good fortune required in terms of which course you play on what day relative to the weather conditions.

Kingsbarns is considered the venue where you need to make a score with last year's winner Branden Grace shooting a 60 there on the first day and making the best of his way home thereafter.

Twelve months on, I like the chances of another South African in Richard Sterne, who can be backed at 33/1.

The man from Pretoria has perhaps never quite scaled the heights having sporadically been plagued with various injuries and ailments.

But 2013 has been rock-solid with one win in South Africa and just two missed cuts from regular strokeplay events in Europe.

That all adds up to to fourth place at the moment on the Race To Dubai and I have a feeling he could push himself even higher this week.

Speaking at the Open Championship earlier in the year, he said: "I'd just like to keep the consistency going and give myself chances going into the bigger events now and towards the end of the year.

"Hopefully I'd really like to win a big event."

This is certainly considered to be in that bracket outside of the majors and World Golf Championships with some extra importance added to it for a player like Sterne by the fact the sponsors are South African.

He did manage to shoot an 81 here 12 months ago but generally Sterne is a good links player and he should be in the mix come Sunday granted that little bit of luck with the draw.

Ross Fisher is shorter in the betting but has looked in solid nick lately and is highly motivated to put in another good shift this week.

His bid to establish himself in the USA earlier in the year did not work out as planned so he is back in Europe bidding to make a push for the top 60.

He is making a fair job of it too and currently sits in 67th place after recent top fives in Switzerland and Holland.

As mentioned, a big performance here is worth well above the norm on the European Tour - even more than than the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth - so Fisher could solve all his problems in one go with four good days.

He has played here every year since 2006 and has a best finish of second place in 2008 so it is pretty hard to crab his overall profile.

I am probably not alone in thinking that Alvaro Quiros is well on the way back and looks someone to keep an eye over the closing weeks of the campaign.

On baIance, I would just like to see him get into the heat of a battle again so a final pick this week goes to Yorkshire's Simon Dyson.

He is a past winner of the event and spoke recently of how excited he is to get going again in Scotland.

He said: "It is my favourite tournament of the year.

"I just love it. Three amazing courses and links golf - it doesn't get much better than that."

Dyson's best form is gradually returning and he was unfortunate a fortnight ago not to put some real pressure on Joost Luiten at the KLM Open over the closing holes after his tee-shot on the final par three hit the green but then went just inches the wrong way on a severe slope.

He really impressed otherwise and after his previous great success in Holland, it is straightforward to conclude that he thrives on returning to a tournament where he has enjoyed good memories in the past.

That bodes well for this week - he sits 61st in the Race To Dubai so expect a bold display that will secure a trip to the Middle East in November.

  • Preview posted at 1100 BST on 24/09/2013.