The Open: How are the favourites shaping up for Birkdale?

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We’re rapidly approaching the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, and it’s time to talk about the men at the top of the betting.

Having already picked out a number of lively longshots earlier this week, we’re turning our attention to those at the sharp end of the market.

There’s plenty of food for thought, not least with the fact that only one of our eight leading men having won the Open before…

Dustin Johnson – 16/1

Think back to earlier this year and Dustin Johnson could do no wrong. Across five straight events his results read; 3/1/1/1/2.

But successive missed cuts at the Memorial and US Open leave some uncertainty hovering over the world number one and his current form.

Royal Birkdale may not exactly suit the big hitting American either, but this is DJ remember, and anything can happen – plus it’s very rare to find him at such a big price. In fact, we’re currently offering top price on a Johnson win this weekend.

Jordan Spieth – 16/1

If he doesn’t win this weekend, Jordan Spieth will have gone eight Majors without winning one, and that seemed unthinkable in 2015.

He endured a couple of winless months earlier this year too, but appears to be back on track.

Spieth followed up a second at the Dean & Deluca at the end of May with 13th at the Memorial and a 35th at the US Open last month.

But he’ll be heading to Southport in great spirits having won the Travelers Championship last time out with a card which included a sensational first round 63.

Rickie Fowler – 16/1

Listen around, and you’ll find Rickie Fowler is the man many are talking about for this weekend. He’s got the game to cope with Birkdale and he’s enjoying his strongest season since 2014.

Was in Masters contention for much of the weekend, and came fifth at the US Open last month.

A third at the Quicken Loans and ninth at the Scottish Open confirms the consensus that Fowler is the ideal candidate to be Golf’s next first-time Major winner. But will that be this weekend?

Jon Rahm – 18/1

History suggests a man as young as 22-year-old Jon Rahm has little chance of winning the Open – yet.

But his current form argues that he must be considered. The Spaniard arrives in Southport having landed the Irish Open, proving he can cut it on a links course.

Was a solid 10th at the Open de France too, but missed cuts at the US Open and the Memorial remind us he has much to learn in the years to come.

Has Rahm got the experience and guile to come through this weekend at the top? Time will tell.

Rory McIlroy – 20/1

At 20/1, our traders are wising up to the increasing notion that this just will not be Rory McIlroy’s year.

Publicly the Northern Irishman remains confident about his chances and that things will come good. But successive missed cuts at the Scottish Open and Irish Open suggest otherwise.

We’re willing to stick our necks out here and say this won’t be Rory’s weekend either.

Sergio Garcia – 20/1

Sergio Garcia loves the Open, and in an ideal world perhaps he would have picked Birkdale to be the scene of his first Major, rather than Augusta.

Ten top-10 Open finishes is a superb record, and he’s looking for a fourth top-six finish in succession this year.

Hasn’t dropped off in form either following that famous Masters win, with a steady 21st at the US Open and second at the BMW International Open to call upon last month.

Justin Rose – 22/1

He’s got experience, form and composure, so will this be the year Justin Rose wins the Open?

His record in the competition has been patchy lately though, with a T6 in 2015 countered by three missed cuts between 2010 and 2013.

Rose did take Garcia to a play-off at Augusta however, and bounced back from an early exit at the US Open to finish fourth in the Irish Open last time out.

Hideki Matsuyama – 22/1

Matsuyama was sensational across the back end of 2016 and the start of 2017, but has struggled to consistently reach such heights since.

Could and should have been in the hunt at both the Masters and US Open however, but left himself too much work to do after dismal opening rounds.

His 65 second and 66 fourth rounds at the US Open last month were a great indicator of his ability however. Erase the poor starts at Birkdale and Matsuyama will be on course to be a major factor.

Click here for the latest Open Championship odds.

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

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.