I WAS eyeing a golden double on Sunday with Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood challenging for the lead going into the final rounds of the John Deere Classic and Scottish Open respectively.
But first round and halfway leader Thomas and the rest of the field were blown away by this week’s Open favourite Jordan Spieth while Fleetwood never recovered from opening with a double bogey at Gullane on Sunday and finished one shot outside a place.
Thomas at least bagged three birdies in the last four holes to finish tied fifth and earn me a place.
This week the grand old lady of golf is calling and the top golfers from around the world are here to take part with the exception of Rory McIlroy.
On the Old Course at St Andrews being long and accurate off the tee combined with solid putting will be important to winning and that points to the sensational Spieth lifting his third Major of the season. But for me he is too short at best 27-4 with 10bet.
He’s paired in rounds one and two with Dustin Johnson whose three-putt at the last handed Spieth the US Open title last month.
However, you won’t be surprised to hear I’m giving Dustin another chance. His putting let him down at the US Open but I’m still of the opinion he has a Major in him.
If he has got over his abhoration on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay – although playing alongside Spieth won’t help him forget – I think the big hitter can post four low scores on the Old Course and win the Claret Jug.
Adam Scott had a T4 finish in the US Open and had caddie Steve Williams back on the bag which obviously gave him a lift. In 2012 he finished T2 to Ernie Els after looking a winner with three holes to play.
His last three years at The Open have finished T2, T3 and T5 and looks a lot happier with Williams on his bag as the New Zealander will keep him focused on getting over the line.
Last week I placed some bets as I thought prices would tumble on players’ form in the Scottish Open. One was Rickie Fowler.
He had a disastrous US Open, failing to make the cut after a horrendous 81 in the first round but in the Scottish Open he grabbed the title on the last green from Matt Kuchar. Mr Fixit and myself followed Fowler on Friday for a few holes and he impressed me enough to lay a small wager on him for St Andrews.
Maybe he can do a Phil Mickelson and win the Scottish Open and follow up with The Open a week later.
Another player who I liked close up was Fleetwood. He is such a compact player and although he fell away a bit on the Sunday he has the game to win at St Andrews – but does he have the mentality or the bottle?
His last four scores over the Old Course in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship when he finished T2 and 5th are 65, 67, 62 and 68. He knows his way around the course. He had a T27th in the US Open so hopefully won’t be overawed by the occasion. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he finishes in top 10 but hopefully higher. Paddy Power tempt me with Fleetwood to finish in the top 20 at 5-2.
Again you’ll not be surprised I’m picking Paul Casey after five top fives this season and driving accuracy around 65%. I remember him playing at St Andrews in 2010 when Louis Oosthuizen (Mr Fixit’s tip I believe) blew the field away.
After triple bogeying the 17th in the second round he came back out on the Saturday and had five birdies on the front nine. Unfortunately being four behind the South African was just too much and he pushed too hard and triple bogeyed the 12th and that was that. Don’t know why I still like him as I had backed him to win that year although I can’t believe he’s only 30-1 on Paddy Power but you can get 40s elsewhere.
Kuchar was rocky steady at Gullane last week and almost won so Paddy’s 60-1 looks too big – he can place and the likes of the Irish firm and McBookie are going seven places.
D Johnson 2.5pts ew (12-1, Paddy Power, McBookie)
Scott 1.5pts ew (25-1, 888sport)
Fowler 1.5pts ew (18-1, bet365, Betfred)
Fleetwood 0.5pts ew (80-1, Betfred, Ladbrokes)
Fleetwood 2pts top-20 finish (5-2, Paddy Power)
Casey 0.5pts ew (40-1, Betfred)