In-form McDowell and Els hard to ignore ahead of The Open

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Graeme McDowell produced a stunning final round 67 to claim the French Open title last weekend and is looking bang in form just in time for The Open.

The Northern Irishman went nine-under for the week, shooting three sub-70 rounds and a 70 to finish four clear of the chasing pack and claim his second European Tour success, after winning the Volvo World Matchplay back in May.

The 2010 US Open champion was an almost constant presence at the top of the leaderboard at Major championships last year, but never quite got himself into a winning position.

He did finish in the top 12 in all four events including a second place at the US and a tied-fifth in this very tournament.

McDowell has been in the top 20 at this showpiece a further two times but his showing at Lytham displayed his ability to master a Links golf course and his win at Le Golf National could go a long way to spurring him on to a second Major victory at 25/1.

Ernie Els is the current holder of the Claret Jug and it is hard to ignore the South African here, also at 25/1.

The Big Easy achieved his first Open triumph at Muirfield back in 2002 and heads into this tournament after an impressive showing at the BMW International Open.

The 44-year-old set the pace with a sensational 63 in the first round in Munich and followed that with three more sub-70 outings to edge out Thomas Bjorn by a single shot.

In his previous three Tour outings Els has registered a tied fourth and tied sixth to add to his victory in Germany.

His Major form is also strong, with a tied-fourth and a 12th in the first two of the season, while he has finished outside the top 13 in just one of his previous five appearances in the Big Four.

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

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Aaron Cox

Aaron has written for a number of top-level publications, including FourFourTwo and the Manchester Evening News. As well as being a fanatical Rochdale AFC fan and blogger, he shares a passion for rugby league and golf.