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Willett and Grace chase prestige and prize money at Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

30 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Willett and Grace chase prestige and prize money at Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

While doubling up as an entertaining celebrity pro-am, the lucrative European Tour event can also help to define a golfer's career

In 2013, when former Ryder Cup player David Howell won his first European Tour title for seven years, he did so while playing alongside renowned British actor Hugh Grant.

It would be fascinating to learn whether the presence of the Four Weddings and a Funeral star helped or hindered Howell as he attempted to put aside years of injuries and lost form and triumph.

But that is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – a prestigious golf tournament that doubles up as celebrity pro-am at the same time.

The event, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this week, is certainly unique and always entertaining.

As usual, the three-course event will be played across St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns before returning to the Home of Golf for the final day.

But beyond the iconic location and being joined by iconic faces from the worlds of sport and entertainment – Ballon d’Or-winning footballer Andriy Shevchenko and Golden Globe-winning actor Bill Murray are just two of the leading names – Europe’s top golfers also have £3.3m in prize money to play for.

In the absence of Rory McIlroy, second-placed Danny Willett will attempt to overtake him in the Race to Dubai standings with another stellar performance.

Willett has enjoyed a breakthrough 2015 season, winning twice on Tour and climbing to a career-high of 24th in the world rankings.

The Englishman finished 11 under par at St Andrews when tying for sixth at the Open Championship in July and should relish navigating three courses that will be set up generously in order to help the pro-am players.

Willett tied for third at the Italian Open last time out and is 18/1 to claim the fourth professional win of his career.

Branden Grace has also enjoyed a superb year, claiming two victories before finishing tied fourth and third at the US Open and US PGA Championship respectively.

The South African, who is fifth in the order of merit, sealed a stunning four-win season at this event in 2012 and is the 16/1 joint favourite – alongside fellow winner (2010) and two-time major champion Martin Kaymer.

Peter Uihlein, meanwhile, is another player who could enjoy a season-altering week.

The 26-year-old lost out to the aforementioned Howell in a play-off two years ago – the season he became the first American to be named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year – and tied for 18th 12 months ago.

And although Uihlein has not developed at the same rapid pace as his compatriot and friend Brooks Koepka (20/1), his length off the tee means that he is naturally suited to flourish at this week’s venues.

The one-time European Tour winner, who came within one missed putt of shooting a 59 at Kingsbarns in 2013, is 50/1 to enter the winner’s circle on Sunday.

Despite a slew of the game’s most-renowned players – including Charl Schwartzel (28/1), Lee Westwood (40/1) and Ernie Els (100/1) – teeing up, the unusual nature of the event and easier scoring opportunities opens it up to the entire field.

It is a week that can change – or help to define – a golfer’s career.

Providing, of course, they are not prone to a bout of nerves when putting in front of their favourite celebrity.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship