Jimenez makes most sense from Open’s first-round leader list

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It goes without saying that over the course of four rounds of golf it’s not possible to win a major on the first day.

But when it comes to setting the early pace at The Open Championship, there are some names that should garner more attention than others when having a bet, here’s the leading three:

Graeme McDowell – 33/1

The last time golf’s links-based major was held at Royal Liverpool, it was McDowell who was the 18-hole leader with a six-under-par 66 back in 2006.

Portrush’s number one golfer has further history of leading this tournament after the opening day, having shared a three-way tie for top spot at Royal Birkdale in 2008 with a score of one under par.

An early, 09:48 tee time should help McDowell capitalise on favourable conditions on Merseyside too.

Zach Johnson – 50/1

The 2007 Masters champion’s long price is slightly baffling considering he led this tournament after the first round last year.

His five-under 66 gave him a one-shot lead over his nearest rival at Muirfield 12 months ago and followed up another strong start to The Open having finished the first 18 holes in tied-second in 2012.

The Iowa City native also has the fifth lowest first-round scoring average on the PGA Tour this season, at 69.17.

Miguel Angel Jimenez – 66/1

Backing the Spaniard each way to top the first round’s leaderboard at Royal Liverpool is easily the most sensible option here.

Ladbrokes will pay out on the first five after 18 holes at quarter odds and Jimenez has obliged on that front in four of the last eight Open Championships.

Anyone sceptical that his ageing frame won’t be able to maintain consistency only has to look at last year’s T4 first round at Muirfield, or his fourth-place finish at this year’s Masters.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.