The Open Championship – St. Andrews at 9:00 live on BBC Two
The third major of the year, the Open Championship gets underway on Thursday and despite Rory McIlroy ruling himself out with an ankle injury, the field isn’t short of world class talent. The world number two, Jordan Spieth is the bookmakers favourite and is closely followed in the betting by fellow American, Dustin Johnson, who will be looking to overcome his U.S. Open nightmare.
The Old Course at St. Andrews, also known as the home of golf, first held the Open Championship in 1873 and this year it hosts this historic event for a 28th time. The course is a par 72, that’ll play 7,305 yards, and like all Open venues, it’s a links golf course. Links golf is a different test in comparison with most tour venues, and interestingly, nine of the last ten Open Championship winners had recorded a top ten finish in this event before they eventually won it, Louis Oosthuizen being the exception. The fairways are of generous width, and in 2010, when St. Andrews hosted the Open, the big hitters had a noticeable advantage and I expect that to be the case once again.
Martin Kaymer – After a poor run of form, Martin Kaymer produced his best golf for some time in the Open de France, this suggesting that the German’s game is back where it should be. He’s a two time major winner and his best Open Championship finish came at St. Andrews in 2010, when he finished 7th. Kaymer has also recorded a 12th place finish in the Open and he won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2010, as well as finishing running up in 2008. Two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Links is played at St. Andrews, therefore it is clearly a course that Martin Kaymer likes.
2pts each way @ 40/1
Victor Dubuisson – Victor Dubuisson has had a poor season so far due to injury, however he’s found some form in recent weeks, and is well worth backing at 80/1. The Frenchman was 8th and 4th going into the final rounds of the BMW International Open and Open de France. Poor final rounds led to him dropping down the leaderboard, however it’s clear that his games in good shape again. In last week’s Scottish Open, Dubuisson finished in 10th position, he hit 34 out of 36 greens in the opening two rounds, this indicating how well he’s striking the ball. Finally, Victor has a good links record, he finished 9th in last year’s Open Championship and holds the course record at St. Andrews.
1pt each way @ 80/1
Charl Schwartzel – South African, Charl Schwartzel hasn’t had the best season thus far, however a tie for 7th place in the U.S. Open last month suggests that he’s capable of contending this week. Schwartzel has an excellent record on links golf courses, he’s finished inside the top 20 in four of his last five starts in the Open Championship, and this includes a 14th place finish at St. Andrews in 2010. Charl has also finished inside the top ten in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on two occasions in recent years. A good week on the greens and Schwartzel could make 100/1 look like a very big price.
0.75pts each way @ 100/1
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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