The 149th Open Championship takes place this week at Royal St Georges in Sandwich, Kent and the biggest golf tournament is more eagerly anticipated than ever. Due to the extreme circumstances of last summer, the Open could not take place but this year sees the return of the event with crowds to the popular course which also held the Open in 2003 and 2011.
The Open is always played on a links course and form in previous events is therefore always very important when trying to find the winner.
Royal St Georges is a very tough test measuring 7,206 yards with a stroke average in 2011 – 72.86 and the weather generally plays a big part in the outcome. However this week the forecast is good with no rain and light winds accompanying the warm temperatures.
Outsiders have performed well at this course with 750/1 Ben Curtis triumphing in 2003 and 300/1 Darren Clarke in 2011 so a shock result is a possibility again!
In recent years bookmakers have begun offering enhanced each-way terms for the bigger golf tournaments and this year is no exception with Paddy Power and Boylesports offering 12 Places for each way bets albeit at worse terms of ⅙ odds. However, their odds generally are somewhat shorter than their competitors because of this.
World Number 1 Jon Rahm heads the market following a strong showing in the Scottish Open last week and his victory in the US Open last month. Rahm looks sure to go well this week but his best odds are now 7/1 which means better value lies elsewhere particularly as the Spaniard has yet to record a Top 10 finish in the Open Championship as yet.
Rory McIlroy is second favourite with most bookmakers and has a great record in this tournament including winning the event at Hoylake in 2014. However, the Northern Irishman is once again out of form having missed the cut at the Renaissance Club last week following a distant 59th place finish in the Irish Open the week before and he has become very inconsistent.
Justin Thomas played alongside Rahm for the opening two rounds at North Berwick last week and the World No.3 shot a closing 65 to finish joint 8th. At odds of 20/1 with Betfair paying 10 Places EW, Thomas has to be one of our selections this week.
Brooks Koepka has an amazingly good record in the Majors in recent years and could feature this week as could Jordan Speith but it was disappointing that neither took the opportunity of getting extra links golf practice over the last two weeks and the same can also be said of Dustin Johnson who has been somewhat out of form (by his standards) most of this year.
Tyrrell Hatton has finished inside the Top Six twice in the Open Championship in the last four years and the Englishman is in decent form going slightly under the radar at the Renaissance Club but closing with a 65 to finish inside the Top 20. Odds of 35/1 with Bet365 paying 8 Places looks too generous.
Our next tip for a strong showing at Royal St Georges is the consistent South African Louis Oosthuizen who went desperately close to winning the US Open last month at Torrey Pines and has an outstanding record in Major tournaments generally including winning the 2010 Open at St Andrews and also just beaten there in a playoff five years later. Oosthuizen is a strong fancy this week with Betfair offering standout 33/1 and 10 Places.
Our final selection for the 149th Open Championship is Matt Wallace who finished T26th in last week’s Scottish Open and has some very good form to his name this year inc. 3rd in the Texas Open and T6th in the Wells Fargo Championship. Wallace was 2nd in the 2020 Scottish Championship played on the Fairmount links course in St Andrews and is great value with Bet365 offering 125/1!
It should be an outstanding four days of golf in the sun at Royal St Georges this week and hopefully, our selections will give good value and might just give us a winner come Sunday!