Carnoustie plays host as the third Major of the year, the 147th Open Championship, gets underway on Thursday. As is customary with a Major championship, all the big guns are here and a fabulous four days in Scotland is expected.
Our golf bettng expert has run his eye over the field and has given his thoughts on who will lift the Claret Jug on Sunday.
Make no mistake, Carnoustie is tough, very tough and is probably the hardest course on the Open rota, so don’t expect a birdie fest.
However, the dry spell that has hit the UK has meant that we will see a baked and bare course which will see balls running for miles – even the shorter hitters won’t need the driver much. Think of Hoylake in 2006 and you’ll get the gist of how it’s going to play this week.
Two majors in a year for Reed?
My first selection is Patrick Reed at 33/1 with Grosvenorsport.com, who having broken his Major duck at Augusta earlier in the year, looks poised for another strong showing.
He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but few can knock Reed’s ability and two top-20’s in his last three Opens point to the fact he’s becoming more and more adept at Links golf.
He played well without really challenging at the Scottish Open last week, finishing in a tie for 23rd and that should see him primed for this week.
He’s won six times in his short professional career and with a win and a top-five in the first two Majors of the year, he has shown he can perform on the biggest stage.
Stage is set for Grace
I also must put up Branden Grace at 45/1 who has all the tools required to go very close at Carnoustie.
He follows a very similar path to the previous two Carnoustie Open winners, Paul Lawrie and Padraig Harrington, having won the Dunhill Links. He shot 62 at Birkdale twelve months ago and he’s gone close in the Scottish Open, as well as winning twice in Qatar where a Links specialist is required.
He came agonisingly close at the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay, which is another Links-type course and his sole PGA Tour win was at Hilton Head where low, stinging drivers are a must.
He has made the cut in all seven of the Opens he has played and another bold showing looks on the cards.
Snedeker to go well at a big price
Finally, it’s worth a few quid on Brandt Snedeker at a massive 125/1 with Grosvenorsport.com.
He seems to bring his best game to these shores with a T3 in 2012, T11 in 2013 and T22 in 2016 and the eight-time PGA Tour winner could have been ignored in the market here.
He’s won in a variety of conditions, notably at Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines, two courses where wind is a factor and good control of the golf ball is required.
Injuries and a loss of form have hit him hard in recent years, but he seems to be slowly getting back to his old self, with a T6 at the St. Jude in June and a top three at the Greenbrier on his most recent start.
Carnoustie is notorious for its challenging greens and there aren’t many better putters than Snedeker and this experienced campaigner could go well at a big price.
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