Last week: Winner alright, we tipped Raphael Jacquelin 66/1 and Francesco Molinari 28/1 who paid out each way.
Luke Donald 35/1
Some analysts argue that the only thing stopping Luke Donald from winning majors is his nerve. With a win, a second and third place in his last five events however the Englishman’s confidence must be sky high. Played excellent in Adare in very tough conditions. Tied fifth in last years Open at Turnberry. With bookies paying out to seven places, Donald is well worth an each way look.
Now injury free, Ernie Els is having his best season in years. Winner of the WGC-CA Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Els dearly wants another Major win. Came close at the US Open, finishing third at Pebble Beach and hasn’t been outside the top eight in the last four stagings of the Open. After impressing the crowds at Adare, he missed the cut in Loch Lomond but that may just prove to be a blessing in disguise given the conditions. Ernie’s going to win a major this year; it may well be at St. Andrews where he tied second in 2000.
Rory McIlroy 16/1
Rors will take a lot from GMac’s win at Pebble and will be out to emulate his great friend’s achievement. “I know this place like the back of my hand,” says McIlroy of St. Andrews, a course on which he has never taken more than 70 as an amateur or professional in competition. The home of golf features in the Dunhill Links Championship every October and McIlroy has finished second, tied eighth, and third in the past three stagings.
Padraig Harrington 16/1
The nay-sayers are so preoccupied with Padraig Harrington’s so called slump it’s easy to loose sight of his two wins in the last three Open Championship stagings. The Dubliner is also twice a winner of the Dunhill Links Championship (2002 and 2006) which features two rounds on the Old Course. Few would also argue that Harrington has the best links land short game in the field. What a way a win here would answer the critics.
Lee Westwood 16/1
Westwood’s US Open tilt was hindered by the physical and emotional toll winning the St Jude Classic the previous week took. Reports are mixed regarding Westwood’s calf injury and it may just be that the whole scenario is acting as the perfect subterfuge in the build up to the Open. The most consistent European around this year and hungry for the Claret Jug after having had one hand on it at Turnberry last year. If Tiger could win on one leg then surely Lee can too. Beware the injured golfer and all that!
Best of the Rest
Maybe this season hasn’t hit the same heights as 2009 when he won three times, but Steve Stricker (33/1) did bag the Northern Trust Open back in February and returned for the first time since the US Open at the John Deere classic where he shot a first round 60 and blew away the field. You have to go all the way back to the 1998 for Stricker’s best major finish, second behind Vijay. Justin Rose (22/1) is another form player in the field having won The Memorial and the AT&T National, Rose took part in the JP McManus Pro-Am having had practically no sleep. A well rested Rose will be at The Open with the equivalent form as Graeme McDowell going into the US Open. Not beyond the realms of possibility.
Long Odds Glory
If you’re looking to have some fun with some of the longer odds players in the field, take a look at Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher at 125/1. The Scot has finished in the top six in four of his last six events including fourth last week in Loch Lomond. High in confidence, an excellent links player and a man high in confidence Gallacher could produce a dividend with the likes of Paddypower paying out up to seventh. Another Irishman that thrives on confidence is Shane Lowry at 100/1. A great Open qualifying round and a cheque for 100k last week have the Esker Hills man up to high dough for St. Andrews. Is the home of golf all that dissimilar to Baltray?