The Open 2015 Tips

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Branden Grace (ew)Tournament Winner50/1Ladbrokes
Luke Donald (ew)Tournament Winner110/1Coral
Joost Luiten (ew)Tournament Winner150/1Ladbrokes

Venue

The Old Course at St Andrews in Fife is hosting the Open for the 29th time. As one of the oldest courses in the world, it has earned St Andrews the label of the “Home of Golf”. Among the main features of this Links course are the large double greens – 14 of the holes share their greens in pairs – while there are also 112 individually named bunkers, with the most notorious being the 10 foot deep ‘hell bunker’ which guards the green on the 14th hole. Many players will also come to grief on the 17th – the famous Road Hole – which begins with a blind tee shot and ends with a wall and tarmac road behind the green, which are both in play. There is no defending champion this year due to Rory McIlroy’s ankle injury, with Phil Mickelson the most recent winner in the field. Louis Oosthuizen was the last man to lift the Claret Jug at St Andrews when he won by a massive seven shots in 2010, while Tiger Woods won the two previous editions to be staged here in 2005 and 2000.

Favourites

McIlroy, who won at Royal Liverpool last year, was the 9/2 favourite before damaging ankle ligaments in a kickabout last week, and his injury has left Jordan Spieth as the clear market leader. Spieth, who has already won both the Masters and the US Open this year and who warmed up in perfect fashion by winning the John Deere Classic on Sunday, is a best price of 13/2 with Bet365, who offer 6 places for each-way bets (Sky BetStan James and Paddy Power are offering 7 places but all offer just 6/1 on Spieth). Dustin Johnson, who has a good record in Links golf and was runner-up to Darren Clarke at Royal St George’s four years ago, is second in the betting at 14/1 with Stan James, while Rickie Fowler is the big market mover after his victory at the Scottish Open over the weekend. Fowler was a 33/1 chance a week ago, but is now a best price of 20/1 with Ladbrokes making him third favourite. Justin Rose, who began with two superb rounds of 66 in Scotland before fading, has been eased to 20/1 by Bet365 and Stan James, while Henrik Stenson, the runner-up to Mickelson at Muirfield in 2013, is 22/1 with several firms. Adam Scott, Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Mickelson are among the other leading contenders, with Woods a best price of 35/1 with Bet365 after some glimpses of better form in recent weeks.

Tips

We have previously used our weekly Talking Points piece to recommend backing both Dustin Johnson and Oosthuizen at early prices. In March we said this about Johnson: “Johnson has recorded seven top 10 finishes in his 21 major appearances but has come closest to winning at The Open, where his last five results read T12 – T32 – T9 – T2 – T14. He’s a serious contender when he comes over to these shores and at 30/1 with Bet365, an enticing prospect for this summer’s event.”

Then after last month’s US Open we had this to say about Oosthuizen: “He remains an outstanding player when he’s in his best shape. That certainly looks to be the case now, so if you fancy him for a repeat St Andrews success then consider backing him soon. Bet365 and Coral are still offering 40/1, but it’s possible he’ll go off at 33/1 or even 28s”

Removing McIlroy from the market has certainly contributed to their prices shortening, but Johnson is now 14s while Oosthuizen will actually go off at 25/1.

Branden GraceBRANDEN GRACE is a six-time winner on the European Tour, with his list of honours including victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2012. The South African finished tied-fourth at the US Open last month and has the game to prosper in the conditions at St Andrews. He is an appealing selection at 50/1 with Ladbrokes (6 places ew), to follow in the recent footsteps of his compatriots Ernie Els (2012) and Louis Oosthuizen (2010).

Luke DonaldWe have a long held a belief that LUKE DONALD can get back to his old self and St Andrews might just be the place for him to do it. He shared 11th place the last time this tournament was played here and despite a few barren years he has been sporadically playing well in recent months – his superb closing 66 in West Lothian on Sunday to secure a top 10 finish a case in point. Best odds of 110/1 with Coral stand out as a value each-way selection.

Joost LuitenJOOST LUITEN is another player worth taking an each-way interest in at big odds. The Dutch ace was among the European Tour’s leading players last season, although he has yet to prove himself at any of the majors. However, he has won three Tour titles in the last couple of years, including the Wales Open at Celtic Manor in September, and was fourth in Scotland last weekend. A renowned birdie-maker when his putter is hot, Ladbrokes are offering 150/1.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Branden Grace (ew)Tournament Winner50/1Ladbrokes
Luke Donald (ew)Tournament Winner110/1Coral
Joost Luiten (ew)Tournament Winner150/1Ladbrokes