THE good and the great of golf turn up at Royal Troon this week for the 145th Open Championship.

The golf club has hosted this competition eight times, the first being in 1923, and it hasn’t got any easier since then.

Signature hole is the Postage Stamp and although the par three is only 123 yards it is surrounded by five bunkers. You’ve got to land on the green to make sure you get your par because anywhere else and you could be indeep trouble. Even Tiger Woods was caught there with a six after taking two to get out a bunker and then three-putted in 1997.

Anyway down to business. I think this is going to be one of the hardest Opens to pick a winner. The top four in the world at the moment have all won tournaments in the last two or three months – Jason Day (The Players), two in a row for Dustin Johnson (US Open and WGC-Bridgestone), Jordan Spieth (Dean & Deluca) and Rory McIlroy (Irish Open). You would think therefore one of the aforementioned is going to win this Claret Jug. Or are they?

Well, I think one of them will and those of you who read this piece regularly will not need no guesses on who that might be.

The big question for me is whether Dustin Johnson will go for it in five of the first six holes. Depending on the wind he can reach the first three holes (par 4s) from the tee and the fourth and sixth par fives are easily reachable in two for the big man.

Johnson was in with a chance in 2011 but hit his second out of bounds on 14 in the last round. Last year at St Andrews he tore the Old Lady apart on the first day with a seven-under 65, followed that up with a 69.

Unfortunately it began to unravel on the final three holes of Saturday when he bogeyed them all. On the Sunday it was much the same with another 75 to round off his weekend.

That was when he seemed to be scared of winning a Major but with that elusive win under his belt his confidence is sky high and with wins in his last two outings a success here is a real possibility.

I think long and straight off the tee is going to be important but so are scrambling and putting so here are DJ’s stats. Driving distance 312.5 yards (2nd), driving accuracy 56.8% (146th), scrambling 59.57% (77th), putts per round 28.46 (24th). Johnson’s driving accuracy over the last four tournaments averages over 60 per cent so it has improved significantly.

What of the challengers? El Nino is blowing in from the west and he could at last win that elusive Major. There are not many golfers in better form than Sergio Garcia, in fact probably only Johnson.

He has four top-five finishes in his last five outings including a win at the Byron Nelson and a T5 at the US Open. Also in his last two Opens he has finished T2 and T6. He’s another whose stats have improved over the last couple of months. DD 299.4 (27th), DA 59.65 (100th), Scrambling 56.02% (152nd) and PPR 29.76 (187th).

Henrik Stenson has had three top-three finishes in The Open over the years and with the form he is in he can pick up the Claret Jug this year. After a disastrous 76 in the first round of the Scottish Open last week Stenson hit back with 69 66 70 to finish T13 – this followed a great win in the BMW International Open by three shots two weeks before.

His stats stand up for Troon: DD 291.3 (78th) DA 69.21% (11th) – i n Europe his DA is 76.2% 1st – Scrambling 54.91% (163rd) – in Europe 60.6% 15th –  and PPR 29.76 (187th).

Played twice in The Open, missed the cut once and T20 last year at St Andrews and form not that great, so why I am picking Patrick Reed? Good question but there is so much to Reed’s game including a superb short game I just have a feeling he could come good here at Troon.

After a disastrous first-round 75 at Castle Stuart last week he finished off with a couple of 67s for a T10 finish. His stats look quite solid for Troon and they give me hope of a top-five finish. DD 295.4 (48th), DA 57.42% (140th), Scrambling 64.88% (8th) and PPR 28.57 (36th).

And finally can a Scot win The Open in Scotland? I would like to think so and that man is Russell Knox (I know, you thought I was going to say Colin Montgomerie).

Knox is fifth in the FedEx rankings and is having a great year in the States. He won the WGC HSBC Champions at the beginning of the season and was second at the RBC Heritage. He also managed a second at the Irish Ope and has decent stats – DD 285 yards (139th), DA 67.41% (16th), Scrambling 62.16% (31st), PPR 29.56 (173rd).

Recommended Bets

3pts win Dustin Johnson (William Hill, 9-1)
1.5pts ew Sergio Garcia (Betway, 25-1)
1.5pts ew Henrik Stenson (Coral, 30-1)
1.5pts ew Patrick Reed (888Sport, 70-1)
1.5pts ew Russell Knox (Betfred, 100-1)

Ace Venturer

  1. townie 6 years ago

    hi ace yep dustin Johnson for me, on the same picks as you and mr f,
    outsiders for me ernie els 125/1 ew
    shane lowry 45/1 ew

    ace I don’t know if you seen my post last night as to you having any thoughts on
    the barbasol championship, was thinking of doing a double #
    g l a

  2. aceventurer 6 years ago

    Hi Townie will have a quick look.

  3. aceventurer 6 years ago

    Townie, at the Barbasol two stand out for me.
    Martin Laird is in danger of losing his fully exempt status but has looked more like his old self recently. Has shot up the FedEx list to 125th. In his last two starts he finished T21 at Congressional and followed that up with a T7 at Monteaux.
    Also Kyle Reifers has had five top tens this season and third in six starts. Well worth a look.
    Kyle Reifers (Bet365 22-1)
    Martin Laird (888sport 30-1)
    Good luck with your bets.

  4. dynamo needarest 6 years ago

    Not a golf man myself but a mate who’s big into it has recommended these to me.

    Branden Grace @22/1
    Plays very low so wind shouldn’t effect him too much.

    Francesco Molinari @ 100/1 e/w
    Has links form/experience

    Paul Casey @ 60/1 e/w
    Always around top 10

  5. the notorious 6 years ago

    Got to Brandon Grace ew at 30/1. Delighted with eir sports who show all 4 days as Bbc no longer have coverage.

  6. townie 6 years ago

    cheers ace

  7. craig 6 years ago

    going for
    Johnson 17/2
    Grace 30/1
    Mickleson 40/1
    Hatton 125/1
    All 365 ew

    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      Colin montgomerie to make the cut 11-8 bet 365.
      He practically lives on the course and qualified last week so can’t be playing terribly.
      All depends on the weather tomorrow as he is 1st out.

      Also like Westwood 1-3 and mc dowell 2-5 as a to make the cut double at 5-6 Ish…

    • Mr Fixit 6 years ago

      Elvis Parsley, Monty looks a good bet. Weather isn’t too bad all day tomorrow – a wee bit of wind but he can handle that.

    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      Bonkers bet
      Thorborn olesson 200-1 ew

    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      If I had to pick a winner Rory at 11-1 would be my pick, though odds are a bit skinny

    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      Top Danish player odds
      Soren kjeldson 11-10
      Thorbjorn olesson 13-8
      Lasse janssen 7-1

      Ive had a dabble on olesson at 13-8

    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      Just one more
      Monty top senior 11-4

  8. aceventurer 6 years ago

    Guys I think Branden Grace is in with a great shout. He nearly made my five picks but I just missed out. I think he will give you a great run for your money. Good luck.

  9. HullShaker 6 years ago

    Evening Ace – hope you are well pal!

    Great write-up as ever and good to read after a golf lay-off for me these last few months.

    Two picks and a cheeky 1st round leader:



    1ST RD LEADER = POD…85/1 E/W

    Best of luck ?

  10. maxxxx 6 years ago

    British open Tips

    My Nap is a special from Skybet, Day, Johnson, McIlroy or Spieth to win the open at 15/8. When I have been on my float some of my customers have said to me “Max give me the winner of the open” and I have to admit out the above 4 named I would have to go for Spieth. He places the ball so well and that is a big plus around here, and we will be motivated after blowing a big lead at the masters.

    It pays to shop around and with some firms playing a MAHOOSIVE 8 places then it would be rude not to have some EW selections at tasty prices. I have a 150 tip to share will you, but more on that later. A player who loves lynx golf is Rickie Fowler, I love this kid and will be following him around playing with Day and Willett could bring out the best in him.

    My other E/W selections are Aussie Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and my big outsider tip Kevin Chappell. I am taking the 125/1 at Paddy Power, but he is available at a WHOPPING 150/1. He is also 5/1 to make the top 20 and my NB comes in this market and that is Sergio Garcia at 6/5 Coral. Garcia missed the cut here at Troon but is a better player now. He as 9 top 10 finishes in his last 14 opens, he knows links golf and is having a good season.

    Why Kevin Chappell, Max I hear you ask, well this guy is 6th in the FedEx standings and he as had 6 top 20 finishes this season, and was T3 at Bridgestone last time out. He is 150/1 to get place money and as my followers know I am not one for shying away from a big price.


    Day, Johnson, McIlroy or Spieth to win 15/8 (NAP 20PTS)

    E/W tips

    Fowler 28/1
    Scott 20/1
    Kaymer 50/1
    Stenson 30/1
    Garcia 25/1
    Chappell 125/1
    (8 places Paddy Power)

    Top 20 Finish

    Garcia 6/5 Coral (NB 10PTS)
    Chappell 5/1 Various

    Enjoy the golf and hopefully I have steered you to a few winners.


    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      Just 4 winner and 6 each way tips there.
      Plenty there for your ‘followers’
      You haven’t left many players for the rest of us max.
      Good luck bud

    • lee cunliffe 6 years ago

      Good luck mate your posts do make me smile the charging peole for selfies made me laugh out loud yesterday keep up the banter

    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      I take it all back
      Chapel on fire -4 already
      Looks like a good pick

    • elvis parsley 6 years ago

      Chappell ended evens so not bad.
      Weather crap tomorrow.
      Lot will depend on tee off times clashing with the worst of it.
      My outsider olesson finished +1 and Monty even par so both got work to do to make the cut.

  11. lee cunliffe 6 years ago

    Gone with DJ and rory for 2moro hopefully the monkey finally off his back and way he clawed back day couple week back was impressive. Have been using my free sky bet fiver on mcilroy for few months now just worrying when he was 7/1 when started my ante post bets and think he was 10/1 when put it on yesterday, still a free fiver ante post over space of a few months gives a decent bet lets hope rory turns up. Good luck all.

  12. aceventurer 6 years ago

    Guys its going to be a hell of a day tomorrow. Unfortunately most of my guys are out in the morning when the worst of it is supposed to hit but Reed is pm. I think we’ll see a lot of changes on the leaderboard so good luck so good luck to you all.

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