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British Open Golf Betting Preview
Last year saw emotional scenes at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent as likeable Northern Irishman Darren Clarke finally ended many years of personal loss and professional struggle to secure his first major by lifting the famous claret jug. His victory, achieved by three shots over American duo Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, was the highlight of an excellent championship, which also saw the likes of Dane Thomas Bjorn return to form, and American veteran Tom Watson, so nearly a winner in 2010, finish in a respectable 22nd spot.
This year, The Open Championship returns to the hallowed turf of northern England to Royal Lytham and St Annes. To a club founded in 1886 and the course that hosted the inaugural British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship just six years later. Originally designed by George Lowe, Harry Colt gave the course a revamp in 1919.
This year will see the course playing at its longest ever for an Open Championship, with the players expected to cover the 18-hole, 7086 yard course in a par of 70, negotiating the 206 bunkers that pockmark this scenic traditional links course.
The Open at Royal Lytham St.Annes
This year will be the 11th time that Royal Lytham and St. Anne has hosted the event. It was first held on the course in 1926, when American legend Bobby Jones shot 291 as an amateur to lift the first ever Royal Lytham Open Championship. There followed a 26 year wait until the course hosted the Open once again, when in 1956 South African Bobby Locke shot a one-under 287 to take the title and the grand prize of £300.
Six years later, it was the first of two New Zealander’s who lifted the title at this famous course. Peter Thomson carded a 6-under par victory in 1958, and five years later Bob Charles shot a seven under 277 to take the title.
Tony Jacklin won his first major at the course in 1969, shooting a four under 280, then five years later Gary Player earned his 3rd major title when winning in 1974.
In 1979, the great Seve Ballesteros won the first of his Open Championships at Royal Lytham and he followed that up in 1988, winning his third Open title at the same course.
Americans dominated the event following the Ballesteros years, with Tom Lehman winning in 1996 and then David Duval earning £600,000 as the winner in 2001.
This year’s Open Golf Championship will be the 141st time the competition has run and the lucky winner will take home a cheque for £900,000.
This Year’s Contenders
Tiger Woods is currently the bookmakers hot favourite with current best odds of 10/1 with Totesport.com, though he is as short as 15/2 with some bookmakers. The American legend has returned to form this season in sparkling style, though he is yet to produce his best form consistently in the Major’s so far this season. That said, Woods return to the winning circle has seen many punters backing on Tiger earning what would be an incredible 15th Major title and his first Open win since 2006 at Hoylake.
It is actually rather surprising to see how short the odds are on Tiger this year and as a result, this does mean that the betting has opened up considerably for other contenders. Lee Westwood, who is yet to break his Major championship duck but who’s form in these events over the past few years has been unparalleled, is excellent value especially each way and is best priced at 14/1 with Bet365.com, while you can get similar odds for world number one, Luke Donald, who looked strong in last weekend’s Scottish Open. The best price on Luke Donald is 20/1 again with Bet365.com!
Don’t rule out a challenge from Ireland either, Padraig Harrington who is back in form, and Rory McIlroy who has struggled with his game of late, are both around the 18/1 mark. In addition, Graeme McDowell is an intriguing prospect at 35/1 with 888sport.com, especially considering he pushed so hard at the US Open earlier this year and is already a Major title winner.
The links nature of the course sees most bookies predicting a winner from Europe and Justin Rose (33/1), Sergio Garcia (35/1), Francesco Molinari (40/1) and Martin Kaymer (40/1) head out a strong European challenge.
Of the rest of the world bar Tiger, Phil Mickelson (33/1) and Rickie Fowler (40/1) seem to be the best backed Americans, while Australian Adam Scott (40/1) and South African’s Ernie Els (40/1) and Louis Oosthuizen (50/1) look to be the best of the rest in terms of picking a winner.
Picking a winner from such a prestigious field is tough and though Tiger has his backers, we feel it is about time that English golf enjoyed a celebration and while Luke Donald may have the ranking, we think that this Open Championship may just be the one where Lee Westwood finally ends his Major championship drought.
Possible outside bets?
One of the great things about The Open is the strength of the field in depth and even outside of these more popular selections, there are many golfers who will feel they have an excellent chance if not of the win, then of achieving a top six finish.
Chief amongst these will be American trio of Jason Dufner (50/1 with BetVictor.com), Jim Furyk (50/1 again with BetVictor.com) and Dustin Johnson (best odds 60/1 with Coral). Bubba Watson is a 66/1 shot as the Floridian doesn’t tend to travel well outside of America, but he has the length to really trouble the course if conditions are benign.
There will be plenty of support for Ian Poulter who is a tempting 40/1 shot, while you can get Thomas Bjorn at 100/1. Our tip though for a strong outside eachway bet is Scotsman Paul Lawrie, who will put a disappointing week at the Scottish Open behind him to make a return at the competition which first put him on the golfing map with his sensational victory at Carnoustie in 1999.
After several years in the golfing doldrums, Lawrie has enjoyed a superb campaign this year and has won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters already this year, climbing back inside the top 50 golfers in the world and he currently lies third on the European Ryder Cup standings, behind Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.