The Open Championship takes place later this month so now is the time to vacuum up fancy prices about a couple of links golf experts before millions of punters focus on the event.
Two Open Championship competitors stand out from the crowd in light of their performances on links courses, results in the 2006 edition at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club and odds.
First, there is Sergio Garcia, who is available at odds of 29.00 with Betfair’s sportsbook to break through for his first major title at the 64th attempt. There is a school of thought that Garcia does not have the mental strength to win a really big tournament but one does not subscribe to that theory because he has won eight PGA Tour events and 11 titles on the European Tour. If Garcia was a choker than he would not have won half the competitions that he has.
What appeals about Garcia is his Open Championship record. Garcia has registered seven top-10 finishes in the British major tournament, missing the cut only twice in his last 14 appearances and going ever so close in the 2007 edition at the Carnoustie Golf Links, leading by three strokes going into the final round and eventually losing a four-hole play-off against Padraig Harrington by one shot.
Garcia competed in the 2006 Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club and he did so with honour. Garcia was one stroke off the lead going into the final round but he could not catch Tiger Woods and ended up alongside Hideto Tanihara in fifth place on 11 under par. For the record, Woods lifted aloft the Claret Jug after a two-shot win.
Few golfers have Open Championship numbers to match those of Garcia and many of his recent efforts, including three top threes in his last five PGA Tour starts, have been superb.
Second, there is Ernie Els, the two-time Open Championship winner whose golf game goes up several levels whenever he tees up on a links course. If one thinks that Garcia has a great Open Championship record, one should be even more impressed with the Big Easy’s statistics in the event.
Els missed the cut in his first Open Championship in 1989 and he did not take part either the 1990 or 1991 editions but, wow, since then he has been brilliant, posting 13 top-10 finishes in 23 total appearances with his highlights including firsts in 2002 and 2012, seconds in 1996, 2000 and 2004 and thirds in 2001 and 2006, the latter being on the same Royal Liverpool Golf Club track in use this year.
Tiger Woods has won more Open Championship titles than Els – three versus two – but the Big Easy’s results have been consistently outstanding on a wide range of courses over many, many years. Els has missed the Open Championship cut on just three occasions and every time that he has made the weekend he has finished inside the top 30. One thinks that it is worth holding an Els ticket at odds of 81.00 with Betfair’s sportsbook and BetVictor because, basically, he is the same golfer who won the Open Championship two years ago. And, of course, Els is a obvious pick in 72-hole tournament matches if one can back him against someone whose results on links courses are not what one would expect based on their ranking. Many American golfers fit into that category.
Sergio Garcia / Ernie Els to win the Open
Starts 17th July
Odds: 29.00 / 81.00
Where to Bet: Betfair’s sportsbook, BetVictor
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