It was a sizzling Sunday at The Open and at the end of it we are left with a powerful leaderboard going into the final round of the tournament on Monday. This week has thrown up everything so far and one thing we know is that our champion on the fifth day of the event could come from literally anywhere.
Moving day ended with three men tied at the top. Two of them you could have probably picked before the tournament began in Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day. The third would have been much harder to pick as it is the Irish amateur Paul Dunne. Grand Slam chasing Jordan Spieth lies menacingly one shot off the lead.
The leaderboard is absolutely packed with major champions and talent and one of those is two off the lead in Padraig Harrington. Harrington has won this title on two occasions and his only tournament win this year came on a Monday. Paddy can be like a dog with a bone when he’s in contention and he’ll fancy his chances.
Although he is one back Spieth is now the favourite to land an incredible third major of 2015. He’s 11/4 with Oosthuizen slightly bigger at 15/4 and Day bigger still at 4/1. For those who believe in massive stories Dunne can be backed at 21/1. Padraig Harrington can be backed at 22/1 from two back with Adam Scott slightly shorter despite being three off the lead.
In terms of 2 ball betting Sunday was a bit of a nightmare. Forecasts said that the wind was going to get up in the afternoon but it never did and I well and truly paid the price for that but I’ll attempt to get the losses back with a few for Monday where the weather is set to take a turn for the worse throughout the day with wind and rain forecast.
The first match I like is the one involving Phil Mickelson. He takes on James Morrison in the final round and looks way too short to me. Mickelson and this course haven’t really ever gotten on. In his Open’s here he has finished 39th, 11th, 60th and 48th and his final rounds have been 73, 72, 76 and 75 so he hasn’t broken par in the final round at St Andrews.
That is contrast to James Morrison who has played two final rounds around here in the Dunhill Links and he has shot 67 on both occasions. I accept the course is set up easier in that tournament but even so he isn’t scared of the tricky pin positions. Morrison is in wonderful form on the European Tour right now and is hitting the ball very straight. Mickelson can’t be counted to hit it straight and with rain around the rough might not be the place to be here so I’ll take Morrison in this two ball.
The next bet I’m taking is a man who I sided with last Sunday and that is Eddie Pepperell. He takes on Charl Schwartzel who we saw the best and the worst of on Sunday. When things are calm and he’s on a roll everything goes smoothly but when conditions toughen or the pressure comes on he can be found wanting as we saw earlier in the year when he coughed up a lead in the South African Open.
Eddie Pepperell seems to love getting better as the week goes on and despite his horror drive on 17 on Sunday he played really well and catapulted himself up the leaderboard. We’ve seen time and again that when the wind and rain come along he is able to handle himself and I think he will relish the position he’s in. He’s a big price to see off the hit or miss South African here.
And finally I’m taking a man who has already won a tournament on a Monday this year in Padraig Harrington. He landed the Honda Classic after weather delays forced that to a Monday and he’ll be hoping he can emulate that here. A fine 65 on Sunday has shot him right into contention and generally when the Irishman is in contention he often stays there. The problem for the two time Open champion is getting himself into contention.
I wouldn’t put anyone off Harrington outright at the prices. We know he will feature fine in the wind and rain and he’s only two off the lead but at the price he is in his two ball I’ll take him to see off his partner Marc Leishman instead. Leishman also took advantage of the benign conditions on Sunday and it is good to see him on the leaderboard given his troubles of earlier in the year with his wife’s health but I’m less convinced he’ll stay there so I’ll take Harrington in this pairing.
Back J.Morrison to beat P.Mickelson for a 3/10 stake at 2.80 with Boylesports
Back E.Pepperell to beat C.Schwartzel for a 3/10 stake at 2.45 with Coral
Back P.Harrington to beat M.Leishman for a 4/10 stake at 2.15 with Stan James