McIlroy’s mate the pick of GB and Irish challengers at the Open

World number one Rory McIlroy’s absence from this year’s Open Championship at St Andrews, after winning the Claret Jug for the first time at Royal Liverpool 12 months ago, means plenty of punters will be reassessing their betting strategies ahead of Thursday, not least in Ladbrokes’ ‘top GB and Ireland golfer’ market.

Justin Rose is the predictably-short 3/1 favourite to take this imaginary title, having finished tied-second or better in three of his past seven tournaments, winning the Zurich Classic and sharing runner-up money  at the Masters during that run.

The 34-year-old endured an erratic warm up in his unsuccessful defence of the Scottish Open though, ending up 74th at Gullane Golf Club having been three shots off leader Daniel Brooks at the halfway point.

Despite consistently being up there with the best in Major championships over the past nine years, with seven top-10 finishes including a US Open win in 2013, Rose is yet to better his remarkable T4 finish as an amateur in the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale, with T12 in 2007 as good as it has got since.

Furthermore, having failed to line up at St Andrews in 2000 or 2005, Rose missed the cut in the last Open Championship at the home of golf five years ago, and has failed to make the weekend in two of the four renewals since.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry, on the other hand, managed a share of 37th in his first Open appearance at the same course half a decade ago, and after missing the next  two runnings of British golf’s showpiece event, posted T32 and T9 finishes in 2013 and 2014.

Lowry, who won the Irish Open as a 22-year-old amateur on his European Tour debut in 2009, climbed to a career-high 40th in the world rankings earlier this year, and is clearly in fine fettle after posting a second Major top-10 finish in 11 months at the US Open in June.

At 8/1, the Offaly man ranks as a value pick in the top GB and Irish market.

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

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.