The Open Championship visits Carnoustie in Angus for the eighth time and the first since Padraig Harrington’s victory in 2007, the first of the Irishman’s back-to-back titles. Renowned as one of the world’s most brutal courses, Harrington won with a score of seven-under – 13 shots better than Paul Lawrie’s winning score in 1999. The 7,421-yard, par 71 course is one of the three host venues for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, during which Tommy Fleetwood set a new course record of 63 last year. Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, the Championship course features formidable bunkers, the snaking Barry Burn – where Jean Van de Velde famously came to grief in 1999 – and perhaps the toughest closing stretch in golf. The defending champion is Jordan Spieth, who stormed through to see off the challenge of Matt Kuchar and win by three shots last year. Other recent winners include Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson and Rory McIlroy. Tiger Woods returns to Open action, 12 years after his third and most recent victory in this championship.
The Open Championship Favourites
Dustin Johnson tops the world rankings and is the market leader for this tournament as he bids for just his second major title. Bet365, William Hill and Betfred are among the firms offering best odds of 12/1* about the world number one, with the in-form Justin Rose second in the betting at 16/1* with Bet365. Rickie Fowler and McIlroy can each be backed at 18/1* with Bet365 and Betfred, while Bet365 and BetVictor both quote 20/1* about Spain’s world number five Jon Rahm. Spieth is at 20/1* with most firms as he looks to emulate Harrington’s achievement of a decade ago and Fleetwood is at 22/1*, again with Bet365 and Betfred. Recent major winners Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas are both available at best odds of 25/1*.
The Open Championship Tips
Alex Noren is well rested after taking a couple of weeks off since winning the Open de France at the start of the month and after posting his best result in a major at last year’s Open he looks ready to make his mark again. The Swede, who has risen to 14th in the world rankings, has finished third or better on five of his last 12 starts and in the top 25 on all but two of his appearances since the start of the year. He’s won seven times since June 2015 and looks a great bet at 33/1* with Ladbrokes.
Few players in world golf are showing better form than Francesco Molinari right now and the Italian has the opportunity to post one of his best performances in major championships. The world number 15, who was runner-up as last year’s PGA Championship, has finished first or second on four of his last five starts, winning both the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour. He was second again at the John Deere Classic on Sunday and has shot 66 or lower in 11 of his last 18 competitive rounds. Betfred are offering best odds of 33/1.*
Tyrrell Hatton dug himself out of a mini-rut with his share of sixth place at the US Open, ending a run of three straight missed cuts, and he has since finished 16th at the Open de France and ninth at the Scottish Open. His current purple patch shows why he has established himself as one of European golf’s leading talents, rising to a career-best 13th in the world rankings in the spring. He was fifth at Royal Troon two years ago, while he won last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Bet365 and Ladbrokes are offering 40/1*.
Thorbjorn Olesen arrives in Scotland with his game in great shape having finished sixth or better on three of his last five starts, a run which began with a victory at the Italian Open. The Dane is capable of playing some explosive golf, although his record at major championships suggests he finds it tough to sustain a challenge over four gruelling rounds in elite company. Nevertheless, he’s worth an interest at 80/1* with Bet365, William Hill or Betfred in the First Round Leader market.
(* All odds subject to change)