Henrik Stenson may be the best golfer not to win a major tournament but one thinks that he may rid himself of that title by taking out the Open Championship at St Andrews.
There have been some shock Open Championship winners but, generally, the cream rises to the top when St Andrews hosts the event, which it has done every five years since 1990 when Nick Faldo lifted aloft the Claret Jug. Therefore, one is not looking too far down the betting for the winner.
Jordan Spieth is the Open Championship favourite but he has played one round of St Andrews prior to this week, his two Open Championship results have been a tie for 44th in 2013 and a tie for 36th in 2014 and he will be under incredible pressure if he gets himself into a challenging position as he attempts to become only the second golfer to win the first three major competitions in a calendar year. Also, no golfer has won the Open Championship having competed in the United States of America in the previous week since Todd Hamilton stunned everyone with his Royal Troon triumph in 2004. Spieth does not strike one as representing value.
Second favourite for the Open Championship is the golfer whom choked several times in the US Open to fall short of his maiden major title. Dustin Johnson has not played in a tournament since imploding at Chambers Bay and that is not what one wanted to see. Johnson has the game to take out an Open Championship – his links numbers are excellent – but one cannot back him off the back of his US Open disaster.
Rickie Fowler was tied for 14th in the Open Championship at St Andrews five years ago and he has posted two top-five finishes in the British major subsequently. Fowler is a big-time golfer and he won last week’s Scottish Open so there is little doubt that he loves links golf. But will Fowler win two weeks in a row? Perhaps but one would like longer odds given his propensity not to win very often.
Spieth, Johnson and Fowler are the general three favourites for the Open Championship, with the next group including Paul Casey, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods and Stenson, with the latter trying to become the first Swedish major champion.
Stenson shared third place in the 2010 Open Championship, finishing alongside Casey and Rory McIlroy, one shot behind non-winner Lee Westwood and another seven strikes adrift of Oosthuizen. Stenson has been in the top three in three of his last six Open Championship appearances so links golf agrees with him. Stenson may not have broken through but he has knocked on the door in half of the last eight majors, posting four top-four finishes and missing zero cuts. And Stenson has had a couple of weeks off to recharge his batteries following his second in the BMW International.
Grouped with Matt Kuchar and Mickelson in the opening two rounds of the Open Championship, Stenson rates as the best bet at odds of +2500 with Betfair, Coral and Ladbrokes. Several bookmakers are offering good each-way terms so, if you like betting win and place, make sure that you shop around – you get each 1/4 odds the first eight.
If you would like to have more than one golfer off the tee in the Open Championship then there are cases at their odds for Brandt Snedeker and Kaymer. Snedeker, who is trading at odds of +5000 with Ladbrokes, has posted four consecutive top-10 finishes in the lead up to the Open Championship and he has appeared on leaderboards in this major on numerous occasions, most notably in 2012 when he led after 36 holes. Kaymer lists St Andrews as his favourite course and it is not simply because it is golf’s spiritual home – he won the 2010 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the Old Course and his best Open Championship result was his tie for seventh in 2010. Kaymer is available at odds of +4000 with several bookmakers, including Totesport and Unibet.
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