McIlroy favourite for Irish Open, but Fleetwood is the form man

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The 146th Open Championship is now just a fortnight away, and that means it’s crunch time for anyone hoping to challenge at Royal Birkdale.

For Rory McIlroy, a good performance at this weekend’s Irish Open should set him up nicely.

The four-time Major winner is 6/1 favourite at Portstewart in Ulster, but it’s a high-quality field this weekend, and in truth, better value lies elsewhere.

Hideki Matsuyama is Rory’s closest challenger in the betting at 10/1.

Question marks remain over Hideki Matsuyama’s top-line ability on a Links course, but he was in fine form too finish second at last month’s US Open.

That’s not the sort of form 14/1 shot John Rahm can boast. The Spaniard has missed his last two cuts (US Open and the Memorial), but a second and a fourth in May suggests he can quickly rediscover his form.

The main man right now though, is 16/1 chance Tommy Fleetwood. The 26-year-old heads to Ulster having won last week’s French Open.

It was the Southport hitter’s second Tour win of the year, following on from his win in Abu Dhabi in January.

Throw runner-up finishes at the WGC Mexico at Shenzhen International, a fourth at the US Open and sixth at the BMW International, and this is unquestionably Fleetwood’s finest year.

As for an each-way shot, Tyrrell Hatton is due a good result.

The Englishman was in great form earlier this year, claiming three straight top tens across the spring, though things have gone off the boil a touch since.

However, Hatton boats great links pedigree.

He won the Alfred Dunhill Links last year, has finished second in the Scottish Open and was fifth in both the Irish Open and Open Championships in 2016 too. Looks a fine option at 33/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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