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Irish Open: Five tips for the tournament winner and the odds at Ballyliffin

By Gareth Hanna

The Irish Open gets under way tomorrow morning in the highlight of the Irish golfing calendar.

But who could come out on top at the end of the week?

Here are five tips who might be worth a flutter (odds via Paddy Power):

1. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (33/1)

The 28-year-old already has five European Tour top 10s to his name this season and even won the ISPS Handa World Super Six. He has missed just two cuts in his last 27 events and has risen 130 places in the world rankings since September, now sitting 30th. The Thai golfer is a man in form and shouldn't be far away come Sunday afternoon.

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Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2. Rory McIlroy (13/2)

Alright so we can't leave out the tournament host and favourite. It's been a topsy-turvy season so far, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational and securing second at the BMW PGA Championship and the Dubai Desert Classic. However, there have been missed cuts at the US Open and The Players' Championship recently. Don't be surprised to see him succeed. But equally, don't be surprised by a missed cut either.

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Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy practices before the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

3. Russell Knox (22/1)

Off the back of a second placed finish at last week's Open de France, smart betters could do worse than backing the Scot. He also notched a T12 place at the US Open. Knox finished T2 at the Irish Open back in 2016 and could go close again this time round.

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Scotland's Russell Knox

4. Graeme McDowell (45/1)

Maybe this one is a bit of heart over head but the Portrush man has decent odds going into the tournament. And his Pro Am team carded a score of -30. That couldn't ALL have been down to the fact he was playing with three Ballyliffin men...

A win would mark a great end to a week that began with Air France losing his clubs and costing him a place in Tuesday's Open Championship qualifying event. The rest may not do his chances here any harm.

Even though G Mac hasn't won since November 2015, he has shown some promising form of late. The world number 175 finished in a tie for fifth at the Italian Open and would have finished much higher up the French Open leaderboard than his event T37 had it not been for a disappointing second round 77. It's a long shot, but McDowell might just shoot back to form at Ballyliffin.

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Graeme McDowell is hoping he and his caddy can mastermind Irish Open success this week.

5. Rafa Cabrera Bello (18/1)

The defending Scottish Open champion has two top tens in his last four outings and one of the other two was the US Open, when making the cut was enough of an achievement to better the likes of Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. His Scottish crown isn't the only proof of his links prowess, he also finished T2 at the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush.

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Rafa Cabrera Bello

Irish Open outright winner odds

Rory McIlroy 13/2

Jon Rahm 7/1

Rafa Cabrera Bello 18/1

Matthew Fitzpatrick 22/1

Russell Knox 22/1

Shane Lowry 22/1

Andy Sullivan 28/1

Thorbjorn Olesen 25/1

Chris Wood 30/1

Paul Dunne 28/1

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 33/1

Peter Uhlein 35/1

Haotong Li 35/1

Thomas Pieters 35/1

Alexander Bjork 40/1

Matt Wallace 40/1

Matthew Southgate 40/1

Julian Suri 45/1

Graeme McDowell 45/1

Lucas Bjerregaard 50/1

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