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British Open Tips: Bet on Spieth at Royal St Georges

British Open Tips: Jordan Spieth is the headline selection.
British Open Tips: Jordan Spieth is the headline selection.

After a fantastic couple of weeks of sporting events in the UK, we now move onto the oldest golf tournament in the world, on one of the most prestigious courses in England. After losing the event to covid last year, it’s time for the Open Championship at the stunning Royal St George’s.

Royal St George’s is a 7206 yard par 70, located on the South East coast of England, in Sandwich, Kent. It was the first course in England to host The Open Championship in 1894 and returns this year for the 15th time and the first since 2011, when Darren Clarke secured an emotional victory.

The course is a beautifully natural and traditional links course. Heavily undulating fairways and greens, thick rough and truly penal, deep bunkers aside the fairways and around the greens, meaning you can start to rack up big numbers pretty quickly. With the course layout vaguely resembling a figure of eight, meaning you are playing in ever changing wind directions and no hole plays the same. 

You are always at the mercy of the weather with links courses. In benign conditions, many of them don’t have the teeth to stop the world’s best players going low, which we have seen in recent renewals, with four of the last five winners shooting -15 or better. Including the reigning champion from 2019, Shane Lowry, who produced a simply magnificent display to win at Royal Portrush by six shots.

British Open Odds

British Open Tips

There has been plenty of rain before the start of the event, which means the course won’t quite play as firm and fast as they’d like to begin. Though there’s still a bit of rain forecast in the coming days, it looks dry throughout the week which will hopefully dry the course out a little and combined with some strong breezes, which could quickly turn into strong winds, we’ll hopefully get some true links conditions.

With it being a major we have a typically strong field with most of the best players in the world teeing it up, though due to covid there’s been a great deal of withdrawals over recent weeks. Most notably this year’s Masters champion, Hideki Matsuyama and past Open champion, Zach Johnson.

Golf betting tips
Jordan Spieth each-way (9 places)
20/1
Odds correct as of 2021-07-12 16:40 Odds subject to change.

Jon Rahm is the clear favourite at around 8/1 after another strong performance in Scotland last week, following on from his US Open win. There’s then quite a gap between him and a bunch of guys at 16/1-20/1, including the likes of Dustin Johnson, who was 2nd here in 2011. Though it’s with 2017 Open Champion, Jordan Spieth where I start the staking plan this week.

It’s been a year of great golfing stories so far and Spieth’s return to form has certainly been one of them. After four years without a victory, he finally returned to the winners circle with a win in his home state in the Texas Open, his first title since that Open win in 2017.

This wasn’t a flash in the pan, with his return to form further enhanced by the fact his only missed cut in 14 events came in the first event back, in the Farmers Insurance Open. He’s since made 13 cuts in a row, 11 of them top 20s and 8 times in the top 10. This has seen him jump from being on the verge of being outside the world’s top 100, in 92nd at the start of the year, to being back in the top 25, currently 22nd.

It’s easy to see why he’s back up there when we look at his stats, where he’s made improvements in every aspect. 8th around the greens, 19th in approach and 34th in putting are all impressive, with the 114th off the tee still a marked improvement on his driving in the last couple of years. 

His major pedigree is without doubt, just a PGA Championship shy of the career grand slam and he’s recorded top 30s in each of this year’s majors. With a game tailor made for links golf, shown by his excellent record where he hasn’t missed a cut in seven and has recorded two other top 10s to go with that victory in 2017.

Texan golfers are more than accustomed to windy conditions, so he won’t shy away if the conditions get really tough at some point. I fancy this gritty competitor and born winner to complete the comeback by winning this final major of the year at Royal St George’s this week.

Patrick Reed each-way (12 places)
33/1
Odds correct as of 2021-07-12 16:45 Odds subject to change.

Texan golfer who is a gritty competitor, a born winner and also a major champion. You could be forgiven for thinking I’m stuck on repeat after speaking about Jordan Spieth but the same is very much true of Patrick Reed.

Another good year for Reed, where he’s now racked up a win in eight of the last nine years, after winning the Farmers Insurance Open at the start of the year. His form has been solid since, hitting the top 25 in three of his last four starts, 5th at the Memorial Tournament four starts ago his best performance since the win.

All parts of his game are in good shape, gaining strokes in all aspects. Though the typically excellent short game continues to be the biggest asset, where he ranks 14th around the greens and 9th in putting, it’s actually the approach play that stands out the most. He’s currently hitting his irons better than he ever has , ranking 40th in approach, which would be his best ranking in that respect since he turned pro. Though he’s had a few issues with the putter of late, he’s not exactly putting terribly, shown by a good putting performance in the US Open three starts ago.

I’ve long fancied Reed as a future Open Champion. Fantastic short game, superb putter, highly improved iron play and can handle the wind as well as many due to his low ball flight. It’s a surprise he hasn’t gone better in an Open before, though three top 20s in six attempts is not to be sniffed at and this test gives him the ideal platform to improve on that this week. 

Stewart Cink each-way (10 places)
125/1
Odds correct as of 2021-07-12 16:45 Odds subject to change.

Stewart Cink is among a long list of veteran players who’ve been enjoying a renaissance in their career the last 12-18 months. Without a win since he won this very title at Turnberry in 2009, where he played the villain to deny Tom Watson, who at the age of 59 was attempting to win his 6th Open Championship and become the oldest major champion in history. He returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 11 years to win the Bermuda Championship at the end of last year. Before bolting up to win the RBC Heritage by four shots in April of this year.

His iron play stands out, where he ranks 21st in approach but he’s also found some extra distance off the tee, which has clearly helped him keep up with the modern player if these two wins in quick succession are anything to go by. 

As mentioned, he’s a former Open Champion and has a solid record in the Open since that win, missing just two cuts in nine. Now in the best form of his career since that Open win, I think he could well produce his best result in the event since winning it and will suit the tougher test that Royal St George’s will throw up compared to recent Opens.

Ryan Fox each-way (12 places)
300/1
Odds correct as of 2021-07-12 16:45 Odds subject to change.

This week’s other longshot is big hitting New Zealander, Ryan Fox. Who I thought was worth chancing considering he has a really good book of results on links or links types tests and is playing well at the minute.

Four top 15s in nine starts on tour this year for Fox, represents a solid year so far. With his best coming in a 6th place finish in Saudi. Despite a 44th place finish in Scotland last week, he finished the week strongly, recording two rounds of 68 over the weekend.

His tee-to-green game is in fantastic shape, ranking 4th on the European Tour, thanks to being 13th around the greens, 19th in approach and 44th off the tee. All of which should stand him in good stead this week.

An excellent record in similar tests, where he’s made three cuts in four at The Open, with a best of 16th in 2019. His impressive book of links form includes 2nd and 4th place finishes in the Irish Open and 4th and 6th place finishes in the Scottish Open. 

He’s a player who’s shown a real liking for this type of golf, more so than other types and would be, at the very least a lively outsider to fill one of those incredible 12 places on offer this week.

Cameron Smith each-way (12 places)
55/1
Odds correct as of 2021-07-12 16:45 Odds subject to change.

There are so many players in this mid range who appeal. Ian Poulter is playing well, Rickie Fowler has an excellent Open record and has found form again, whilst Lee Westwood would be the best and a rather pertinent story based on the veteran winners in recent months but I’ll finish with two quality short game players, starting with Australia’s Cameron Smith.

After showing some quality form earlier in the year, including a 4th at Riviera and top 10 in the Masters, Smith endured a bit of a lull recently. First finishing 59th in the PGA Championship, then missing the cut at both the Memorial Tournament and US Open. Though he did show some positive signs in his last start at the Travelers Championship, where he contended before dropping down the leaderboard in the final round. The most promising part of his game that week was the iron play, which was also on show in the US Open and he would’ve made the cut there if it wasn’t for an uncharacteristically terrible performance around the greens.

I say uncharacteristically as the biggest attribute of Smith’s game over the years has been his short game. He’s become excellent on the greens, where he ranks as the 13th best putter on tour and has always been a good player around the greens, ranking 48th this year and ranking as high as 11th in 2017.

He’s shown a liking for windy conditions with his win in Hawaii, an event always at the mercy of the wind and that 4th place finish at Riviera was played with some brutally tough conditions, so he won’t mind if the wind gets up during the week.

An Open Championship record which has improved on every start, MC in 2017, 72nd in 2018 and 20th last time out in 2019. He has a game well suited to links golf and I hope the talented, yet gritty Aussie will continue to trend in the right direction this week.

Harris English each-way (12 places)
66/1
Odds correct as of 2021-07-12 18:55 Odds subject to change.

Another player, like Cink, who had to wait a long time between victories, only to win again a matter of months later. English has been in great form in the last few months and is the type of golfer who may hang about whilst others drop away this week. 

Picking up his first win since 2013 by winning the Tournament of Champions at the start of this year, English hit a bit of a flat spot after but has returned to form in great style in recent months. Culminating in an excellent 3rd place finish at the US Open being followed up by a dramatic playoff victory in the Travelers Championship in his last start. Which now puts him at a career high 12th in the world rankings.

He hasn’t played in The Open since 2016 but in his five starts he’s made the cut four times, with his best coming at Muirfield in 2013, where he finished 15th. A course which offers plenty of encouragement as to his ability to cope with Royal St George’s due to it’s difficulty and the course layout making wind directions on every hole different and tricky to handle.

He’s on a run of 13 consecutive cuts made in major championships and is in the best form of his career right now. He has the type of solid all round game, with a particularly high quality short game, 22nd in putting and 35th around the greens, to enable him to improve on that best Open performance of 15th this week.

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