Molinari makes a fine first-round leader bet for The Open

There are many ways to profit from golf’s oldest Major and guessing the identity of the first-round leader for the 144th Open Championship is certainly one of them for Ladbrokes customers.

While a fast start is no guarantee of the Claret Jug, as 6/1 tournament favourite Jordan Spieth has demonstrated in such imperious fashion in 2015; being among the top 10 after 18 holes is usually paramount to success.

Given Rory McIlroy won’t even have the chance to lead from start to finish this year, as he did in 2014, many punters will be sorely tempted to lump on Spieth at 9/1 to set the clubhouse lead at St Andrews.

This is understandable, as golf’s latest sensation threatens to eclipse even the golden, double-Major winning year McIlory pieced together in ’14, but as always there is value to be found in abundance elsewhere.

Spieth was placed in a seven-way tie for seventh after the first round at Chambers Bay and one of the gentlemen sharing a score of -2 looks incredible value to lead another of the European Tour’s blue-ribband events this season.

Francesco Molinari is enjoying a purple patch of form and at 80/1 looks an enormous price to lead the field after day one.

The Italian is in a groove, posting four top-six finishes across both Tours since mid May – the last of which came at the Alstom Open de France most recently.

The elder brother of Eduardo also led the PGA BMW Championship after 18, weighing in with an opening score of 65, and when you marry his current form with his Open Championship form, his chances appear far rosier than his odds suggest.

Molinari senior has posted top-15 finishes in his last two Open appearances and crucially began very brightly in both, featuring high on the leaderboard after the first round on both occasions.

He was hot on Rory’s coattails at Royal Liverpool in 2014, tied for third on four-under-par and ninth at Muirfield prior to that.

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

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