The Open: Noren, Poulter and Stricker among Birkdale lively longshots
Royal Birkdale hosts the 146th Open championship this weekend, and all eyes turn to Southport to see who will prevail.
The game of Golf is enjoying a remarkable run of competiveness these days, with the last nine Majors going to nine different men.
Not only that, but each of the last seven were first time Major champions too, so will that run continue?
We’ll have to wait to find out, but we’re set for a dramatic weekend and the weather forecast bodes for difficult conditions throughout the four days.
That could lead us to a surprise winner, so here are six longshots we’ve dug out, all of whom are 50/1 or bigger…
Alex Noren – 50/1
The 2016 Scottish Open champion, Alex Noren is enjoying the best phase of his career.
Claimed victory at the BMW PGA Championship earlier this year, was 10th at the Players Championship and also at the French Open last month.
Marc Leishman – 50/1
Marc Leishman looks a handy price, and has the pedigree to feature whatever Birkdale and the weather throws up, having been runner-up during that mad weekend at St Andrews two years ago.
Plus, the Australian is in rather good form, missing just one cut from his last 11 PGA Events. Highlights of the year include victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and fifth at the Quicken Loans National last time out.
Ian Poulter – 66/1
The ever-popular Poulter has worked hard to claim his place this weekend, securing his spot just the other week at Woburn.
And it looks like he’s in good form too, with a strong showing at the Scottish Open last time out. He’s keen to perform and in good nick, and for Ian Poulter, that’s a mighty combination.
The 2015 Open champion hasn’t been in great form this year, but a T5 last time out at the John Deere classic was a timely return to the sharp end.
It’s Zach Johnson’s Open pedigree which means he must be considered. The American boasts 10 cuts in a row and three top-ten finishes in his last five appearances.
His game should suit Birkdale, and having come through the melee to win at St Andrews on the Monday two years ago, Johnson has all the right attributes to succeed.
Steve Stricker – 100/1
Few can match Steve Stricker’s experience, and like Zach Johnson, is another whose game and temperament could come to the fore this weekend.
Stricker is in good nick too, boasting T16s at both the Masters and US Open. Was fourth at Royal Troon 12 months ago, and tellingly, T7 at Birkdale back in 2008.
Chris Wood – 125/1
The Englishman was a remarkable fifth as an amateur at Birkdale nine years ago, and he’ll have happy memories as he returns to Southport.
Has been hampered by a wrist injury this year, but a second at the Nordea Masters and a fourth at the China Open have both come in the last three months.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing