Royal Lytham & St Annes GC, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England
19 Jul 2012 - 22 Jul 2012
Padraig Harrington 16/1
The bookies have trimmed Podge’s odds from 24’s to 16’s in the past couple of weeks based on his form. The 2007 and 2008 champ is striking the ball as good as in his career and after top 10’s at The Masters and the US Open is one good putting week away from adding to his Major haul. Team Harrington have been to the venue and prepared well and I have it from caddie Ronan that Padraig is close; though the margins are the top are fine, I feel Padraig can contend.
Rickie Fowler 35/1
A Major Champion in waiting, of that I have no doubt. When is another question. This will be the orange one’s third tilt at The Open and if he continues his record of improvement from tied 14th in 2010 and tied fifth in 2011 he’ll be in the money again. Fowler showed some stones beating Rory in a playoff at Wells Fargo earlier this season and also went close at the Players. Well rested since the US Open, let’s hope he’s ready come GO TIME!
Michael Hoey 100/1
Competed in the 2001 British Open at Lytham as an amateur, his one and only Major until now. Paired with Jimenez and Justin Leonard then, the young Hoey narrowly missed the cut after getting stuck in a bunker on the sixth. Winner of the 2011 Dunhill Links and having grown up playing Castlerock and Portrush, I fancy a good week for Michael. Those of you who like the first round leader bets might take a punt here too.
Thomas Bjorn 80/1
If last year was Darren Clarke’s year could this be Thomas Bjorn’s? The Dane has only missed two Opens since 1996 (2008,2009) and has tied for second twice in 2000 and again agonizingly in 2003 when he lead with four holes to play before some horrible luck in the bunker. Bjorn has tied for second in Wales and tied eighth in Germany during the last month or so and who’s to say the dream can’t come true? It did for his mate Darren.
Francesco Molinari 40/1
Three missed cuts from four Open appearances suggests Francesco is not going to break his duck this week but he is undoubtedly one of the in form players at the moment. Already a winner on Tour this season (at the Open de Espana) Molinari is not afraid to go low of late with a brilliant 64 on Sunday in Paris and a 62 last week in Castle Stuart.
Raphael Jacquelin 150/1
We tipped Rapha last week in Scotland and at odds of 150/1 he’s worth another look at Lytham. Swinging and putting well as we saw in Paris where he came third and his eighth at last year’s Open doesn’t get the credit it deserves given that he had by far the worst start (74) of any of the eventual top 10. It’s only his third Open but the Frenchman has plenty of big time experience.
Best Of The Rest
Dustin Johnson 40/1 won the Fed Ex St Jude Classic just over a month ago after missing a big chunk of the season with injury. Has played poorly since but seems to find another gear in Majors of late. Since crumbling with GMac at Pebble Beach in 2010 Johnson (tied 8th) has been close at the 2010 US PGA (tied 5th) when penalized for grounding his club in a “bunker” and last year at The Open (tied 2nd) when he hit his iron out of bounds on the back nine when paired with Darren Clarke. Louis Oosthuizen 40/1 has no recent form to speak to but when Louis is on his game nothing seems to phase him. Won the 2010 Open at St Andrews by a stunning seven shots and displayed steely final round rounds again at this years US Masters when only Bubba bettered him. Oosthuizen on the links again impressed me at the Dunhill Links where he tied fifth so keep a close eye on Shrek this week!