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Wide Open market ahead of Royal Birkdale

Tue, Jul 18, 12:46pm by Senior Writer

With seven different players having won the past seven golf majors, it is little wonder the market for this week’s British Open at Royal Birkdale is $15 the field.

World No.1 Dustin Johnson is joined by Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler at $15, US Masters winner Sergio Garcia heads a quartet of players at $19, including former winner Rory McIlroy, as well as local hope Justin Rose and rising Spanish star Jon Rahm.

The most recent major, the US Open won by Brooks Koepka, saw the top three players in the world miss the cut, something that has not happened in a major since rankings began.

Johnson may be still top of the rankings but he has not made it to the weekend in a major since finishing ninth in this tournament 12 months ago. McIlroy’s major form has also been mixed, with three missed cuts and two top 10 finishes in his past five.

Day, who is $36 to win here, had not missed a cut in his past 17 majors before his disaster at Erin Hills, but there are major concerns about his form and fitness.

Day has now slipped to sixth in the world and has only had two top tens this year after also missing the cut at the recent Travelers Championship. The Open has traditionally been his worse performing major with his fourth in 2014 the only time he has figured in the top ten.

For the first time in a long time he is not the leading Australian in the market, with Adam Scott claiming that mantel at odds of $29.

Scott, who has now slipped down to world No.15, also missed the cut at the US Open, but was the leading Aussie at the Masters earlier this year when he finished ninth. He has been top ten in four of the past five British Opens and finished runner-up back in 2012 when he was four shots up with four holes to play.

Scott is coming off a 35th at the Scottish Open last week, but feels that was a great preparation for Royal Birkdale, which last hosted this tournament back in 2008, with Padraig Harrington the winner.

Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama, who was runner up in last month’s US Open, is $23, while defending champion Henrik Stenson is at $26 along with local hero Tommy Fleetwood.

Koepka, fresh from his breakthrough major, is $34, while world No.8 Alexander Noren is $41.

In all there are ten Aussies in the field, including Marc Leishman, who was the only Aussie to make the cut at Erin Hills. Leishman, a runner-up here in 2015, is $51, and may be the value at $4.33 to be the leading Australian.

Scott Hend ($301 to win tournament, $15 leading Aussie), Aaron Baddeley ($501/$23), Adam Bland ($1001/$29), Matthew Griffin ($1001/$29), Ashley Hall ($34/$1001) and Ryan McCarthy ($51/$1001) are the other Aussie involved.

Much of the focus on the first two days will be on the group containing Johnson and McIlroy as well as South African Charl Schwartzel. They tee off at 2:48pm in the afternoon on Thursday.

With the wind set to play a major role, tee times could be crucial with Spieth and Stenson off in the morning on Thursday. The weather forecast says winds are expected to be strongest in the morning before moderating.

Day plays with Garcia and 2015 champion Zach Johnson and they play the afternoon Thursday and the morning Friday, while Scott is two groups behind then on Saturday along with Paul Casey and Fowler.

Suggested Bets:

Marc Leishman to be the leading Aussie at $4.33

Henrik Stenson to win in Group C featuring Scott, Day and Fleetwood at $3.50

Jon Rahm to finish top 10 at $3.10

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