You’ve seen my tips for the main contenders at Royal Portrush, now here are my Open Championship outside bets for you to mull over…
Open Championship outside bets: Marc Leishman (66/1)
The Australian has been in and out of form this season since winning the CIMB Classic last October. But Leishman posted a top 10 as recently as the Memorial last month and, if there’s any hint of a breeze, he’s a player I always want on my side.
A renowned wind exponent, last year’s bake-fest at Carnoustie didn’t suit but Leishman was 6th at Birkdale in some tricky conditions, missed out in the play-off at St Andrews (we all remember how blustery that one was) and was top 5 the year before at Hoylake.
Tied 3rd at the Sony Open in January – another exposed course that’s renowned for sending a careless shot off in all kinds of different directions – no one would be more delighted to see conditions deteriorate than Leishman.
Open Championship outside bets: Eddie Pepperell (80/1)
I don’t understand this price and I’ll be crowing to high heaven if Pepperell can put in another good performance on a links course.
Top 10 last year at Carnoustie, Eddie put up a stout defence of his British Masters title when tied 2nd at Hillside earlier in the year and then, in his first week back after injury, posted another top 5 at Lahinch and the Irish Open.
These are not flash in the pan performances on this kind of course. Second at last year’s Scottish Open and top 10 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2017, Pepperell clearly enjoys the challenge of links and is highly skilled in the art.
Having so nearly got his head in front at the Players Championship in March, performing on these biggest of stages is becoming routine for the two-time European Tour winner. Whatever he does at the Scottish Open, he’ll be carrying some of my cash at Portrush.
Open Championship outside bets: Thorbjorn Olesen (125/1)
Thorbjorn Olesen’s had a tricky time of late and, had you asked me about this after he missed the cut at the US Open, there’s probably no way he would have been on this list.
But things seem to be improving for the Dane. After posting a top 10 at the BMW International Open, he followed up with a top 20 at the Irish – bookended by rounds of 65 and 68.
Ninth at Royal Lytham seven years ago, he was 12th at Carnoustie last year and some strong performances in the links environment – notably a top 10 at the Irish last year and winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship four years ago – means his new found form might prove to be significant.
Open Championship outside bets: Paul Waring (250/1)
This price will disappear quickly if he continues his decent start at the Scottish Open but the North West player frequently puts together runs of form at a time.
Winning the Nordea Masters last year has led to a string of top 10s this season, which continued at the Irish Open.
That got him into Royal Portrush and he’s basically freewheeling from here. But if he can cope on the greens, five top 10s this season suggest he’s definitely got the game to get into the frame – particularly if the oddsmakers offer places down to 10th.
We can’t read too much into his Open form, his only appearance was a missed cut at Royal Birkdale two years ago, but he comes here in good touch and, at this kind of price, that’s all you can ask.