By Ryan Hamilton – @Golftipster5
The Open is back after a 1-year hiatus, Shane Lowry can finally defend the Claret Jug he won in 2019 after 2020 was cancelled because of Covid. The 4th & final major of year comes to Royal St Georges for its 15th appearance. 156 players will try to get their hands on the Claret Jug & the $2Million 1st prize. 46 of the top 50 OGWR players will make up the 156 man field this week with 8 amateurs. Sungjae Im & Siwoo Kim opting for Olympic preparation as winning a medal would exempt them from national service. Covid complications means Hideki Matsuyama & Bubba Watson can’t get over & Matt Wolff gave no reasoning behind his withdrawal. 32,000 spectators are allowed into the event each day to add the atmosphere golf has been missing over the past 16 months so there should be a real buzz around all weekend. Dare I say almost back to normality.
Royal St George’s is hosting this week for the 15th time in its history, 1st hosting in 1894 & most previous in 2011. In 2017 the Amateur championship was held here won by Tom Lewis. The course sits parallel with the Coast in Sandwich, Kent so we can expect some stiff breezes off the coast. The wispy tall grass will surround the fairways so accuracy off the tee will be vital around here. Laidlaw Purves designed the links test way back in 1887 when he wanted to emulate a test similar to St Andrews. 7206 yards will make up the par 70 scorecard this week consisting of 4 par 3s,12 par 4s & just 2 par 5s. Scoring in the last 2 Opens held here have finished on -5 & -1 so its unlikely we will see a double figure winning score like Shane Lowry’s winning score in 2019. The forecast is set to be sunny & dry all week but winds getting stronger each day with up to 35mph predicted for Sunday.
Previous winners – Course in Brackets
2019 – Shane Lowry – Score -15 (Royal Portrush) Pre-Event Odds 70/1
2018 – Francesco Molinari – Score -8 (Carnoustie) Pre-Event Odds 30-1
2017 – Jordan Spieth – Score -12 (Royal Birkdale) Pre-Event Odds 14-1
2016 – Henrik Stenson – Score -20 (Royal Troon) Pre-Event Odds 28-1
2015 – Zach Johnson – Score -15 Won Playoff (St. Andrews) Pre-Event Odds 100-1
2011 Open Championship
The last time the Open was held at Royal St Georges Darren Clarke won at 110-1 with a score of -5 3 shots clear of DJ & Phil Mickelson. Tom Lewis was leading amateur finishing T30 & actually had a share of the lead after round one with a 5 under 65.
How it finished
- The last 2 winners of The Open at Royal St Georges were ranked outside the OGWR top 100. Ben Curtis 396th & Darren Clarke 111th
- 5 of the last 10 Champions claimed their 1st Major with The Open – Shane Lowry, Francesco Molinari, Henrick Stenson, Darren Clarke & Louis Oosthuizen.
- 8 of the last 10 winners played the week before the open in either the Scottish Open or John Deere
- 8 of the last 10 winners also registered at least 1 victory in the calendar year before The Open
- The last 8 winners were all ranked inside the OGWR top 40
Brooks Koepka 18-1 William Hill 9 Places
The major man looking to add another trophy to the career grand slam. With 3 top 10s in 4 starts at The Open he has shown he can adapt his game to the links setup seamlessly. He already has a 2nd place finish at the PGA & a 4th Place finish at the US Open & he is known for showing up at Major championships. Brooks already has a win this year at the Waste management Phoenix Open & 4 top 5 finishes so is challenging nearly every week he tees it up. His stats back up his form, he is 10th in both Strokes gained off the tee & Approach to the green, that added with a 3rd tee to green ranks his overall strokes gained Total 4th on tour. Current form reads 5-4-MC-2-MC
Justin Thomas 20-1 Betfair 10 Places
JT came over early this year for the Scottish Open to get used to the British conditions. He was never out of the top 10 shooting 65-69-70-65 & finishing 8th which was fantastic prep for this week. The world No.3 already has a win this year with the Player Championship & has just 3 missed cuts all season from 15 events played. JT hit 76.38% of green in regulation this week which was helped by his Driving. He ranked 1st in strokes gained off the tee with a 67.31% accuracy off the tee. Finding the fairway will be vital this week & with the confidence he can take from his Scottish Open driving he should be able to find plenty of fairways this week. He had just 5 dropped shots all week with 2 bogey free rounds which ranked him 1st in strokes gained around the green so when he was out of position, he was the best in the Feld at getting up & down. Current form reads 8-19-42-40-MC
Louis Oosthuizen 33-1 William Hill 9 Places
Often called a nearly man in majors with his career slam 2nd places some people forget he won The Open in 2010 & was defending champion in 2011 at Royal St Georges. Now with the freedom of not being defending champion he can play with a lot less media attention. He already has 2 2nd place finishes & a T23 finish in the 3 majors this year so he is getting closer to his 2nd major every time he tees it up in a major. Louis is statistically the best putter on the PGA tour this season ranking 1st in stroke gained putting. He makes on average 81ft 8inch (24.8metres) of putts a round which is 5th outright on tour which with the size & speeds (13+stimpmeter) of the links green this week should put him in a good position to gain strokes on the field. Current form reads 42-2-18-2-8
Tyrrell Hatton 40-1 Mansionbet 8 Places
Tyrrell had a quiet Saturday at the Scottish Open & one of the rounds of the day on Sunday to finish T18 shooting 69-67-72-65 for the week. Hatton was one of the best par 3 & par 4 scorers this week averaging 2.8 on par 3s which was 13th & 3.94 on par 4s which was 23rd. With 16 of the holes par 3 or 4 this week he will look to better this this week to claim his 1st Major. The world No10 ranked around the average mark in the field in all his major stats last week but even the average was still 75.25% of greens in regulation. Only hitting 53.85% of fairways could be a problem as the rough will be punishing any shots not in the fairway this week but he can fix that within his Prep this week. Current form reads 18-MC-2-38-39.
Rickie Fowler 80-1 Bet365 8 Places
After missing his 1st major in 10 years Rickie returns to Royal St Georges looking to go a few better than 2011 where he finished 5th. A recent upturn in form sees Rickie come into The Open under the radar slightly I feel. There hasn’t been the usual media frenzy with Rickie in the build up to The Open like there has been in previous years. He will want to prove the media wrong this week & finally capture his 1st Major championship. Recent form of 32-MC-11-8-MC is enough for me to take him on at 80-1. I’ve sent him off at 25s in previous years so 80-1 is too high to not take seriously. He & wife Allison also recently announced that they are expecting their 1st child so he will be buzzing with how his personal life is going at the minute & there’s no reason why he can’t take this to the golf course to get his hands on the Claret Jug.
Ian Poulter 100-1 Mansionbet 80 Places
Poults is another player like Louis & Rickie who played in the last Open & Royal St Georges. Ian shot 69-78 then to miss the cut. He is also in the same category as Rickie both still looking for their 1st Major championships. After sneaking into the OGWR top 50 with his T4 finish last week he can do what his Ryder Cup teammate & Captain did in 2011 & win his 1st Major Championship. Poulter registered just 2 dropped shots all week at the Scottish Open & if he continues the bogey avoidance this week there is no reason he can’t be fighting it out down the stretch on Sunday Afternoon. He hit 83.33% of greens this week & hit the fairway 67.31% of the time. To go with that he was 5th in strokes gained putting last week so he comes into The Open this week with a real chance of winning. 100-1 was my easiest pick this week. Current form reads 4-36-40-25-3
Lucas Hebert 110-1 Bet365 8 Places
Backed up his Irish Open win with another solid finish last week T4. He averaged 6 birdies a round last week which helped him up the leader board. He took the par 5s apart this week averaging 4.13 for the week. Averaging 313.75 yards off the tee will help to overpower the par 5s. Unfortunately there are only 2 par 5s this week for him to take care off so he will be relying on his distance to shorten some of the huge par 4s in play this week 496 & 493 are the 2 longest in play this week. He is another player who was solid with the flat stick last week ranking 8th in strokes gained putting & averaging 9.5 one putts which was the best of anyone in the field who played all 4 rounds. Current form of 4-1-19-18-71
Richard Bland 175-1 Bet365 8 Places
Richard continues to improve week on week after his British Masters victory. He is currently sat at his career best world ranking of 98 after a solid last 5 events where he even shared the 36-hole US Open lead. He will make his 2nd Open appearance this week with his last in 2017. After winning his 1st European event 5 starts ago he has gone from strength to strength & his confidence will be at an all-time high. He has openly said Phil Mickelson’s PGA win at the age of 51 has inspired him to do even better & show that age is just a number. At 48 he will try to become one of the oldest 1st time Major winners. It really would cap of a fairy-tale few month’s for Blandy. With bogey avoidance a must this week its worth noting in his last 2 events of 144 holes he has only dropped 13 shots which were all bogeys. You have to go to the final round in the US open for his last double bogey. Current form reads 15-4-50-3-1
Top 20/Top40 Markets
No markets out yet but I’ll be very interested to see what Rikuya Hoshino, Richard Mansell & Matthias Schmid go off at in these markets. Hoshino, I posted at 1000-1 for the US open & finished in the top 25 is currently 500-1. Mansell is 1000-1 & Schmid is 600-1 so there should be good value on these 3 when the markets get released.
Good Luck with all Bets
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