Back-nine form makes Woods worthy favourite at Muirfield

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There are three clear reasons that Tiger Woods should typically be opposed to win the Open Championship, but the way he has played the back-nine at Muirfield does suggest that these can be overridden.

Woods is the 5/2 favourite to win a fourth Open Championship and he is one four players to sit one stroke off the halfway lead held by Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Meanwhile, he is one of four players that have not posted a score over-par in either of the opening two rounds, with only seven players managing to shoot red figures in what proved a tricky second 18 holes.

However, since 2008 Woods has been inside the top five at a major on five occasions and has failed to win any, in comparison to winning 14 of 20 from this position previously.

Furthermore, Woods has not shot under-par in any weekend Open Championship round since 2007, while all of the six winners of this major came from outside of the top two after the second round to secure victory.

The good news for Woods is that he has played the back-nine better than anybody else so far, taking only 67 shots, and this could be significant as the pressure begins to build.

Jimenez is 16/1 to become Spain’s second winner of the Claret Jug after Seve Ballesteros and the oldest ever. But he tends to start well in this event before fading and so may be best left alone.

Lee Westwood is second in the Open Championship betting at 6/1, but his difficulties getting over the winning line in majors is old news and is another, alongside Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson, that will have to overcome the statistic of being better than tied third at the halfway stage to win the tournament.

Ernie Els triumphed from seven strokes back after two rounds last year and there are 38 players within this deficit of the lead at Muirfield.

Webb Simpson may be the one to pay closer attention to at 40/1 and he is currently four off the lead.

Simpson knows what it takes to win a major after his 2012 US Open success and averages below 70 over the final two rounds of events on the PGA Tour this season, which could be significant.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.