145th Open Championship

Hi All, 

A great week just gone, seeing us land the IWAC shot Alex Noren in the Scottish Open at odds of 55/1, seeing us get out of the week comfortably in profit, and taking our 2016 total to plus 467.25 points in profit! The week did not pass without frustrations either, as NAP Lydia Ko took a 2 stroke advantage into the final 15 holes of the Women’s Open, and was unable to get over the line, finishing in 3rd place, with NB Stacy Lewis also just outside of a place for us in 7th spot. Having watched Lydia all week, I was less than comfortable going into the final round, as she has really been struggling with her game, and for me it was only a matter of time when this bad play caught up with her, and it did in grand style on the 9th hole of the final round, when a double bogey 7 effectively ended her chances of victory. Anyway, onwards and upwards, and this week I have decided to solely concentrate on 145th Open Championship from Royal Troon, the third major championship on the men’s calendar; and below is a comprehensive write up accompanied by some selections for your perusal. 

Last Week’s Outlay 30 pts Last Week’s Return 72.75 pts (+42.75pts) Year To Date + 467.25 

OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: July 14th - 17th 2016 

At Royal Troon Club, Scotland In 1923 The Open came to Troon for the first time, and since then it has become a regular venue and has hosted the Championship on eight occasions. The course, which took its current form in 1888, is designed in the traditional out-and-back manner of the Old Course at St Andrews. 

A gentle opening few holes and relatively straightforward closing stretch are the bookends for a series of holes which weave up, round and through some of the most striking linksland to be found at any of the host venues. This character makes the strength and direction of the wind even more important than is usual on a links course; if the wind is against the players on the back nine then it is as tough a finish as can be found anywhere. With this in mind, we could be set for one of those open’s where the luck of the draw comes in to play, whether that be best going out early or late… 

The Open returns to Royal Troon for a ninth time this year. While minor adjustments have been made to every hole in preparation for the Championship, more significant changes have been made on the 9th, 10th and 15th holes, largely to restore some of their previous characteristics and features; it is with this in mind that we will move on to discuss some of the selections for this week, and the overall theme I have decided to go with. 

As touched up above, and having looked into the projected weather forecasts and wind strengths for the 145th playing of The Open next week, we look to be in for a real stereotypical championship played in true mixed British conditions. As such, experience and know how could prove vital. Not only at open championships, but also here at Royal Troon itself, and a number of my selections have not only had the opportunity to play an open here at Troon before, but have had that luxury twice; both times successfully I may add. 

TOP THREE SELECTIONS – 20 pts Outlay NAP – DUSTIN JOHNSON 9/1 (SkyBet, BetVictor & PaddyPower) 10 pts WIN 

Form horse DJ not only arrives here in the form of his live, but also as the most on form player on the planet, and comfortably so in my opinion. This is an opinion I have had for many a year now, and it so great to see him establish himself at the top of the game, where his abilities really do deserve to be. Now the world number 2, and hot on the heels of the top spot, you will see a common theme over the coming years of Dustin not only competing, but winning many of golf most coveted titles. I always said ones he won one, the floodgates would open, and I will be standing by that, and fully expect Dustin to win a handful of majors by the end of this decade and beyond. By the way, this is far from a blind selection at this event, there is plenty of form behind Dustin to fill me us with even more confidence. 4 top 15 finishes in the open in the last 6 events, including when should have been a win in 2011 at a similar set up at Royal St Georges, other than a visit to the out of bounds handing the victory to Darren Clarke. A 14:02pm opening tee time, game number 40 for Dustin, will mean that he may have the stronger winds to contend with on Thursday, but he will have the early morning conditions and fresh greens to play on during round two. 

NB – BRANDEN GRACE 28/1 (Ladbrokes) 3 pts EW 

Signs have been good this year and last for Branden Grace, and his position amongst the world top players is becoming stronger and stronger. 10th in the official world ranking now, and with a win and 5 further top 10 finishes on The PGA Tour this season show that his game is in good shape. When looking into Branden’s Open Championship record, it does make for modest reading; however, his results have been improving with every year that goes by. Branden is also a winner of the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Tournament, a tournament played across 3 of Scotland’s more tricky links set ups, a tournament he won by an impressive 7 shots, and was as recent as 2014, so he clearly has the tools and creativity required to succeed on a Scottish Links Course. A 8:03am opening tee time, game number 9 for Branden should historically mean that he will have the calmer conditions and fresher greens to play on for his opening round, hopefully allowing him to post a good score and be in contention right from the off. 

IWAC – PHIL MICKELSON 50/1 (BetVictor & 888sport) 2 pts EW   2nd 


The 2013 champion from up the road at Murfield, Phil arrives here in decent fettle, after finishing last week’s Scottish Open with a second best of the day 6 under par 66 for a top 15 finish. It has been a good 2016 season for Phil without being great, with 2 runners up finishes and a further 5 top 10 finishes. The Open Championship is an event that Phil targeted for many years, and his success at Murfield the other year really showed how he has successfully managed to adapt his game to cope with these links challenges, and at odds of 50/1 I think he will be ready to go close again! A 13:26pm opening tee time, game number 37 for Phil, will mean that he may have the stronger winds to contend with on Thursday, but he will have the early morning conditions and fresh greens to play on during round two. 

EACH WAY CHANCE SELECTIONS – 10 pts Outlay

RICKIE FOWLER 33/1 (BoyleSports & 888sport) 1.25 pts EW 

5 th in 2011, and 2nd in 2014, it has been clear to see that Rickie has a liking for Links golf. It has been a very underwhelming year indeed so far for Rickie, I had strong feeling towards this being the major where Rickie breaks his duck, and at the start of the year I was also set for Rickie to be our leading hope, but his form this year has taken away from that, but I am also not willing to ignore him all together, and am hoping that the above mentioned liking for Links golf, and the creativity required may spark a return to form. A 9:25am opening tee time, game number 16 for Rickie should historically mean that he will have the calmer conditions and fresher greens to play on for his opening round, hopefully allowing him to post a good score and be in contention right from the off. 

LEE WESTWOOD 60/1 (BetFred) 1.25 pts EW 

Playing his way nicely into a bit of form, Lee will be keen to continue this in such a big event as an Open Championship; with one final Ryder Cup swansong strong on his radar. With the points on offer at a major championship a good performance here from Lee will go a long way to securing this goal of his. Performances at the open have been solid, with two 3rds and a 2nd among his top performances. With also a bit of course form thrown in, with a 4th place finish here at Troon at the last playing here in 2004. A 13:26pm opening tee time, game number 37 for Lee, will mean that he may have the stronger winds to contend with on Thursday, but he will have the early morning conditions and fresh greens to play on during round two. 

PAUL CASEY 80/1 (BetFred, Coral, Ladbrokes & BetVictor) 1.25 pts EW 

Leader after round 1 here at Troon in 2004, Paul arrives for this year’s playing in the middle of his most consistent season for quite some time. His quality of ball striking should see him figure strongly this week, and if Paul can get his putter working, he could prove one of England’s best hopes at nice odds of 80/1. A 12:53pm opening tee time, game number 34 for Paul, will mean that he may have the stronger winds to contend with on Thursday, but he will have the early morning conditions and fresh greens to play on during round two. 

JIM FURYK 90/1 (BetFred) 1.25 pts EW 

As I mentioned in my initial introduction, experience can often prove to outdo raw ability in Open Championships. I have narrowed this trend down to specifically the playing of this championship at this venue. Not only has Jim played in the open twice before at Royal Troon, but he finished 4th in the 1997 playing; which again as mention in the initial write up construction has taken place on the course to bring it back to a similar set up as this. After a long lay of through a nasty wrist injury, Jim has come back well, and runners up finish in the previous major championship shows he still has the ability to compete at the highest level. A 07:41am opening tee time, game number 7 for Jim should historically mean that he will have the calmer conditions and fresher greens to play on for his opening round, hopefully allowing him to post a good score and be in contention right from the off. 

OUTSIDER FANCIES – 5 pts Outlay 

RUSSELL KNOX 100/1 (Ladbrokes & 888sport) 1pt EW 

Local home favourite. On form after a good showing in similar conditions last week at the Scottish Open. Played well at the top level in winning a World Golf Championship. Overpriced. A 14:02pm opening tee time, game number 40 for Russell, will mean that he may have the stronger winds to contend with on Thursday, but he will have the early morning conditions and fresh greens to play on during round two. 

ERNIE ELS 125/1 (BetFred & BetVictor) 0.75pts EW 

A 13:26pm opening tee time, game number 37 for Ernie, will again mean that he may have the stronger winds to contend with on Thursday, but he will have the early morning conditions and fresh greens to play on during round two. 

PADRAIG HARRINGTON 125/1 (WilliamHill, Coral & StanJames) 0.75pts EW 

A 8:25am opening tee time, game number 11 for Padraig should historically mean that he will have the calmer conditions and fresher greens to play on for his opening round, hopefully allowing him to post a good score and be in contention right from the off. 

NOTE: PaddyPower are offering an impressive top 8 places for The Open Championship, with SkyBet also offering top 7 places, both a 1/4 odds. Always worth doing your homework before placing, to ensure you are getting the best deal for your outlay. 

This Week’s Outlay – 35 pts 

Good luck to all those following, and enjoy what I sure to be a great week, 

Stu @PriestleyStuart

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