The Open: Weather-worn Northerner bang in the St Andrews mix

It’s beginning to feel a bit like ‘Groundhog Day’ in golf’s Major championships, with Dustin Johnson leading the Open at St Andrews after day one, having shared first place on Thursday in last month’s US Open, and Grand Slam-chasing Jordan Spieth just a couple of shots back.

After the American pair’s tussle on the Chambers Bay links, when the former three-putted at the last to hand his compatriot the win, it may seem prudent to back market leaders Johnson and Spieth at enticing 4/1 and 5/1 odds respectively, but with the weather getting grisly in Scotland, bigger prices must be sought.

A three-and-a-half-hour delay, described by former LPGA titan Dame Laura Davies as a player’s ‘worst nightmare’, has been forced on the Royal and Ancient Golf Club after a monster thunderstorm hit the east coast of Fife.

With conditions unpredictable, an Old Course expert holding a competitive first-round scorecard should be sought, and there are one or two such swingers just behind the leading pack.

Louis Oosthuizen must come into calculations two shots off the pace at five under, after the last Open champion at St Andrews chased home Spieth and Johnson at Chambers Bay, finishing tied-second with the latter.

You’ll certainly get a run for your money at worst with the 14/1 South African, but at a much bigger price a chance is taken on Southport golfer Tommy Fleetwood at 66/1.

The 24-year-old broke into the world’s top 50 for the first time after finishing T21 in May’s Irish Open, and made the top 30 three weeks later in his first crack at the US Open.

Fleetwood carried that form into Thursday, carding a solid 69 to finish four shots back from Johnson in a share of 18th.

Having equalled the Old Course record when coming second at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last year, a tournament Fleetwood finished fifth in 12 months earlier, it’s clear he has the St Andrews smarts needed to keep up the pace.

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.