THE OPEN always manages to throw up some excitement and who can forget Jean van de Velde's meltdown at Carnoustie in 1999.
And what about last year when Jordan Spieth won last year thanks to a magnificent approach from a car park on the 13th at Royal Birkdale.
The event returns to Carnoustie and while he's not playing Van de Velde will be at the Angus venue probably telling the story of his collapse 1000 times.
He just needed a double-bogey six down the last to win but went paddling in the Barry Burn and ended with a seven before losing a play-off to Paul Lawrie.
Last time Carnoustie held the event in 2007 it was another play-off between Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia which was won by the Irishman. Could there be another this year?
- Course: Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland: 7402 yards, Par 71.
I backed Fleetwood to win here before the US Open at 25-1 and after his superb final round at Shinnecock Hills I am happy with me selection.
He is a solid links player as shown when he hit a course-record 63 at Carnoustie in the Alfred Dunhill Links last year. I remember watching him at the Scottish Open at Gullane in 2015 with Mr Fixit and he looked a bit out of sorts then but has improved immeasurably which was proved in his US Open display.
His displays at The Open have not been that good (never better than T27) but over the past two years his game has come on leaps and bounds and he’ll be one to watch this week.
Noren is another I have been looking at for Carnoustie. He’s had two top 10s in The Open, two in the Alfred Dunhill and has won the Scottish Open and tied for third, so there’s links form here.
In 2016 he had four wins, which included the Scottish Open, and four top 10ss and the following year one win and four top 10s. His form on links courses is solid, he’s had two top 10s in The Open, won the Scottish Open and a third place and two top 10s in the Alfred Dunhill Links which is played over Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews.
This year he has already won the French Open and his form just now is top notch. He’s not one to panic and will play to the 72nd hole. Well worth backing this week.
It wouldn’t be a Major if I didn’t back Fowler. I had thought about leaving him out for once but after watching his performance in the Scottish Open I’ve revised my decision. Rickie loves links golf (and Scotland) as is shown with his results in the Scottish Open.
Over the past three years he has T8, winner, T9 and T6 finishes. Since finishing second in 2014 he hasn’t had the best results inTthe Open (T30-T46-T22) but I still have a feeling there’s a Major in him. He has also a T2 and T5 in the last five years at the US Open. I think playing well this week at the Scottish Open will enhance his Open chances.
Twice US Open winner Koepka is a favourite of mine and having backed him for the US Open this year I am quietly confident he will be up there on Sunday afternoon. Played only seven tournaments this year but the improvement in his game since winning the US Open last season has been immense.
He used to play on the European Tour and has played links courses quite a few times. In 2015 and 2017 he’s finished T10 and T6 and has a T12 in the Scottish Open (2013) and T9 in the Alfred Dunhill Links (2014).
The more I see of Hatton this year the more I like and even more so after his appearance at Gullane at the weekend. One bogey in his first two rounds at over Gullane isn’t bad going even if the conditions were benign. Everything I said about Tyrrell last week obviously applies this week but I’ve noticed a few extra stats that make interesting reading.
Since 2016 he has played 54 events, made 35 cuts, had 22 tops 10s, nine top threes and three wins. In his first Alfred Dunhill Links win in 2017 he hit a 65 at Carnoustie, the following year a 62 at St Andrews so is good on a links course. In The Open he has finished T5 at Royal Troon in 2016 but in three of the last four years he has missed the cut.
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