The Course – Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s
The last time that The Open Championship took up residency at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, in 2001, David Duval lifted the Claret Jug on the 18th green after finishing three shots clear of Niclas Fasth.
Five years previously it was another American, Tom Lehman, who was victorious. Seve Ballesteros won two of his three Open titles at the Lancashire course, while Tony Jacklin and Gary Player are other notable winners here.
The previous two winners have finished with scores reaching double digits under par. However, with an extra 200 yards added in length and the adjustment to a par 70, rather than 71, birdies are likely to be harder to come by this year.
Ten of the last 12 Open Champions have won on the European or PGA Tour within the previous 12 months. While one of the players that doesn’t adhere to that trend is Stewart Cink, his previous win came just 13 months earlier - suggesting that form should be a big factor in your Open betting considerations.
In addition, nine of the last 12 winners had previously finished in the top 10 of an Open Championship. Check past Open results before placing your bet this week.
Player Watch –
The defending Open champion has only made the cut in one event this season, the Irish Open, due in large part to a groin injury that has kept him out of action for most of this year. He missed the US Open in an attempt to get fit for this one, but looks worthy of his 125.00 price tag.
The world number one has only once finished inside the top 10 at an Open Championship, when he was tied for fifth in 2009. His next best results are a tie for 11th and a tie for 35th. Donald is not one that carries too much appeal at 25.00, despite his status as the world’s best golfer.
The best player never to win a major? Until he wins one Lee Westwood will continue to be discussed in that bracket. Another near-miss at the Masters – tied 3rd – was followed by heartache at the US Open when his ball got stuck in a tree bordering the fifth fairway and scuppered his chances. Whether Westy can end his wait for a major title remains to be seen, but at odds of 4.00 he looks a good bet to be in the hunt once again and finish inside the top 5.
Masters champion Bubba Watson refused to adapt his gung-ho approach at the US Open and consequently missed the cut. The long-hitting American has only played in three Open Championships and has missed the cut twice. At 70.00 for the win and 15.00 for a top-5 finish don’t expect Bubba to be adding to his Major haul here.
Since Tom Watson did so in 1983, only Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington have won back-to-back Open Championships. The Irishman’s game appears to be back on track after some major adjustments and he has finished in the top 10 at both Majors this year. Harrington is 20.00 for the win, 5.00 for a top-5 finish and the 2.60 favourite to be the top Irishman.
A player that always seems to be thereabouts without ever being there, Steve Stricker has been in and around the top 10 in the world rankings for nearly half a decade now. In the past two-and-a-half years he has, however, failed to finish in the top 10 of any major tournament. The advice is to avoid the temptation to back the American for a top-5 finish at 13.00.