Barry Plummer has his eye on England’s golden summer of sport continuing in Kent. See his four picks to lift the Claret Jug here
We return to the iconic links of Royal St George’s for the 149th edition of golf’s oldest major. The Open betting markets are often the most difficult to navigate given the nature of the tournament – but I’ve picked out four names on whom to have a flutter…
The Open details
Venue: Royal St George’s Golf Club, Kent, England
Date: July 15-18, 2021
Course stats: Par 70; 7,204 yards
Course summary: This iconic Open venue is a true links test, with exposed treeless undulations and a potentially strong coastal breeze. The bounces are unpredictable, as is the perilous rough, so there is plenty of players to consider when navigating around St George’s. Undulating, slow greens will test even the best putters in the field, while run-off areas will punish poor approach play.
Purse: $11.5 million
Defending champion: Shane Lowry (-15)
The Open betting tips: Outright winners
Bazza’s Banker: Justin Thomas @ 22/1 with Bet365
When you can get a price like this on a man of Thomas’s calibre, he’s always going to be hard to ignore.
A solid performance in the Scottish Open is great preparation for this test, and when you look at his recent form he appears to be slowly edging back from a mid-season lull.
Thomas doesn’t have the most impressive Open Championship CV, hence why you are getting such a good price, but he did finish 11th at Royal Portrush and is too good a player to write off because of his competition form.
In the last 12 months, Thomas ranks 3rd for SG: Tee-to-Green and 4th for SG: Total, so don’t be surprised to see his consistency getting him over the line this week.
The Outsider: Tommy Fleetwood @ 33/1 with Bet365
Fleetwood can consider himself unlucky to have run into an impressive fan-favourite when finishing runner-up to Shane Lowry at Portrush in 2019, but the Englishman looks to be hitting form at exactly the right time and I like his chances again here.
His form at Open Championships has been steadily improving year on year, and he is on cloud nine currently thanks to an invitation to represent Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics.
Fleetwood is always a fan favourite at these events, and with a strong following he could be buoyed on to a first major victory this week.
The Long Shot: Branden Grace @ 60/1 with Bet365
I mentioned a few weeks ago that South African golf is in a fantastic place right now, so I cannot resist including an in-form Grace at a big price.
Grace has already has a top-10 at the Open Championship in 2017 – where he became the first player to ever card a 62 in a major championship.
Grace has the perfect skillset for links, with a strong ability to manage the windy conditions and consistently impressive putting on these types of surfaces.
In the two events before the Scottish Open, Grace ranked a combined 3rd for SG: Tee-to-Green and 2nd for SG: Around-the-Green, so when you combine this with a hot putter you have a player who deserves to be considered at this type of test.
The ‘Why Not?’: Alex Noren @ 110/1 with Bet365
As it’s a major, let’s have a fourth pick. Noren has been on a mini resurgence in form recently, with a 4th- and 13th-place finishes in his last three starts.
Noren also has excellent Open form for a player at this price, with two top 10s and two top 20s in his last six attempts.
His short game has been his strength recently, ranking 10th for SG: Around-the-Green and 31st for SG: Putting in the last three months.
With all those factors considered, I cannot leave Noren out with excellent place terms on offer, as he screams each-way value this week.
For more prices visit Bet365.
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