Wild card contender
Padraig Harrington (66/1)
The Padraig Pirouette, the step through – whatever you want to call it, something is working for the Irishman.
Harrington’s display at Dundonald last week was not a flash in the pan. The Open champion last time at Birkdale has been putting together flashes of form for a while now.
I’d spied him at 100/1 before the Scottish Open and was disappointed not to have got on then. After he played near faultless golf to establish a 36-hole lead in Ayrshire I expected his price to collapse.
I think it would have done were it not for a horror show on Saturday when the weather turned nasty.
Harrington replied, though, with a characterful 66 in round four. At the price, I’m happy to pop a couple of quid down each way as well as targeting him in top 10 and 20 markets.
For a player that loves links golf and has come off a positive week, 14/1 is also too big in the top GB&I market.
Sergio Garcia (11/8)
With only four in this market – Jon Rahm, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Pablo Larrazabal are the others – I expected to see an odds-on favourite, particularly given Rahm’s success at the Irish Open.
Rahm is a world-class player and looks a major champion in waiting but Garcia is still the boss when it comes to the Open.
He’s finished no worse than tied sixth over the past three years and can look back at 10 top 10 finishes in all.
Garcia arrives as the Masters champion and I’m delighted to see his desire to win more majors.
I like him in the outrights, so it shouldn’t be a surprise I’m all over him here.
My view is it’s going to be hard for him to hit the same heights. There must be some mental release after picking up his first European Tour title in five years.
If Larrazabal wins at 12s, then it’s surely bad news for some notable Open contenders.
Tournament match bet
Patrick Reed (10/11) to beat Alex Noren
Both missed the cut at Dundonald last week, though Reed was two shots better.
I’m surprised to see the Swede favourite in this two ball, though. Noren has been a star of the European Tour over the past 18 months and his win at the BMW PGA Championship was built on a stunning final round.
But he’s got no real major form to speak of and has missed the cut at the Masters and the US Open this year.
Reed, while yet to win this season, has put together some solid displays – most notably a top five at the Travelers Championship.
The Open does seem to agree with him. Finishes of tied 20th at St Andrews and tied 12th last year at Royal Troon suggest he’s up to the task of bringing home this tournament match bet.
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