There are still a few hours left before the opening group tees off in The Open at St Andrews so that gives us a little time to explore a few of the many side markets that have been priced up in the tournament.
Whenever a big golf tournament comes around there are a number of markets which include many countries and some including single countries and a good look through them all often throws up some value picks. This week is no different.
Usually there are a number of Spanish players in the field for this tournament but this year there are just four runners which makes for a very select Top Spanish market. It is a market which is led by Sergio Garcia at 5/6. Garcia has a decent record in this tournament through the years and it remains a mystery how he has never won the event although his indifferent putting is largely the reason and that is why I can’t be backing him at odds on here.
If Garcia was facing some out of form opponents then it would be different but quite frankly he isn’t. His three rivals are Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Pablo Larrazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez and all three are in good form. Larrazabal recently won in Germany so he’ll be confident and Cabrera-Bello has appeared on many leaderboards in Europe in recent times.
The best value could well be Jimenez though. Experience is usually no bad thing around this course and he has plenty of that. Jimenez was as close to An as anyone in the BMW PGA earlier in the year and he went well at Gullane last week. The likeable Spaniard has been holing iron shots left right and centre this year and it is that iron game that can set him up for a very big week here.
I haven’t actually chosen any Americans in my selections this week but the Top American market is worth looking at. We’ve seen in the past that not all Americans travel well and a significant percentage don’t get on with the intricacies of links golf which could whittle a big field down nicely.
Clearly Jordan Spieth is the man to beat and I don’t think too many would be surprised if he takes this market and the same could be said for Rickie Fowler or Phil Mickelson too but we’ve seen straight hitting Americans go well in this tournament down the year and there could be room for another one to steal the thunder of the bigger names this week.
Charley Hoffman hasn’t had the worst season in the world. He played in the final group at the weekend in The Masters and was contending in the Texas Open and the Shell Houston Open while the two starts before the US Open saw him in the top 10 at Colonial and in a tie for second at the Byron Nelson.
Way back at the start of the season he won the Mayakoba Classic and was second in the Humana so low scoring weeks sit well with him. He competed well in heavy wind and wet conditions in the Texas Open which is encouraging and at 100/1 he could well give us a run for our money this week.
The final market I like is another small field one which is the Top Scot market. Marc Warren so nearly won the Scottish Open last week, the second time he has come close to winning that tournament and he is 11/4 to win this market but he hasn’t really ever done much in the Dunhill Links around here neither is his Open record anything to write home about so I’m keen to take him on.
Opposing Warren this week are Russell Knox, Stephen Gallacher, Richie Ramsay, Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle. No disrespect to Lyle but we can exclude him quickly enough and I’m prepared to ignore Gallacher too as he just has no form at all. I’m not sure this is a tough enough test for Richie Ramsay so I have it between the other two.
At the prices I’m going with Paul Lawrie. He has been improving week on week in recent times and we know he has a good game for links golf. His Open win was as a result of van de Velde collapsing but we shouldn’t forget he has won this tournament and there is talk emerging that he has played very well in practice this week. Practice is only practice but with the rest of this field either out of form or not suited to this set up Lawrie looks overpriced to me.
Back M-A.Jimenez Top Spaniard for a 2/10 stake at 6.50 with Coral
Back C.Hoffman Top American (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Skybet (1/4 1-4)
Back P.Lawrie Top Scot for a 1/10 stake at 9.00 with Stan James