Another great way to bet on The Open, especially in the early rounds are the three ball markets where there is often good value to be had, this tournament more than any.
There are a couple of reasons why that is the case. One is because all former champions are exempt in this tournament and so you often get players teeing it up who just simply aren’t going to be a factor so you can whittle them down to effective two balls and the other reasonis because links golf is a very different form of golf which takes a different approach and not everybody appreciates that or indeed is capable of it.
Unlike in some tournaments every group is priced up in major tournaments so we have plenty of get stuck into and there are a few groups showing up good value on the opening day.
The first one I like involves one of the main groups of the day which is the Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Tiger Woods group. On the face of it all three players will fancy they have a good chance of winning this tournament. Woods and Oosthuizen have won around here before and you would think Day is a major champion in waiting.
It wouldn’t completely surprise me if Woods offers something this week and it could be that it will be here but even then I think Oosthuizen has him covered. Of all the majors I’m not sure this one is best suited to Day with his high ball flight and his health issues at the US Open are another concern so I like the South African here.
Oosthuizen loves this golf course. He has the length to power past a lot of the trouble and is straight enough to keep the ball in play and at the same time he has a good touch around the greens so he should score very well. Of course the last time the South African played a first round with Woods in a major he shot 7 over but I’m confident he’ll do much better this time and land the win in this group on Thursday.
The next two I like involve former champions who have had their day which can effectively be looked at as a two ball barring something extraordinary.
At 10.17am Stewart Cink goes out with Ben Curtis and David Duval in a group of former champions. We all know Duval’s story and quite simply he hasn’t been competitive for a while. The 2001 champion has been suffering with health issues for a while and is unlikely to be a factor here. Ben Curtis, winner in 2003, is equally out of form too. Since the turn of the year Curtis has played in nine tournaments and missed the cut in eight and finished tied for 66th in the other.
Cink denied Tom Watson his last hurrah in 2009 and while he hasn’t been in that sort of form this year he has made plenty more cuts than he has missed and this course should suit him. He may not score low in this round but he looks to have landed himself with a dream draw and he’s the best of the day for me.
Moving into the afternoon and last week’s winner Rickie Fowler goes out at 2.45pm. He plays alongside Justin Rose and Sir Nick Faldo. No disrespect to Faldo but he’s in with a couple of big boys here and I think he’ll be found out. Rose’s record in this tournament isn’t what it should be and he’s played in enough of them for it to be no coincidence anymore so I’m not sure he’s the threat he could be in other tournaments.
We’ve seen plenty of times over the last 12-18 months that Fowler likes links golf and he is good at it and I see no reason why he can’t score well here unless he’s put too much pressure on himself. I don’t think he will have though so at even money he’s the next best bet of the day.
Two groups later Harris English, Andy Sullivan and the amateur Ashley Chesters embark on their Open journey. No disrespect to Chesters but it is hard for amateurs to be competitive here with the low scoring on offer so I’ve got this between the other two.
Harris English stats really well on the PGA Tour but there’s something about him that I’m not sure about and I’m not convinced he is one of the Americans who will go well in this tournament. He was in the top 15 in 2013 but his other two appearances haven’t cut the standard. Andy Sullivan is used to windy conditions which this group are set to have and has played on many links courses so I’m confident he’ll be best suited to what the three are going to encounter and I expect him to shoot the lowest round.
Back L.Oosthuizen to beat T.Woods & J.Day for a 3/10 stake at 2.60 with Betfred
Back S.Cink to beat B.Curtis & D.Duval for a 5/10 stake at 1.91 with BetVictor
Back R.Fowler to beat J.Rose & Sir N.Faldo for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betfred
Back A.Sullivan to beat H.English & A.Chesters for a 3/10 stake at 2.38 with Betfair Sportsbook