Open Championship Speciality Bets
FIRST ROUND LEADER
DUSTIN JOHNSON - 25-1 - 1pt e/w - 1/4 odds 1st 6 - LOST
I mentioned in my main preview that I expect a strong showing from the world No 1 this week and I would not be surprised if he did end up walking away with the Claret Jug.
Ultimately though I felt unable to pull the trigger on him at the prices on offer.
One area I do like DJ though is in the First Round Leader market.
It’s become fairly apparent to me that like lots of the really elite players if they are going to contend for a big title they are ‘at it’ right from the off on day 1.
We saw this from Dustin when he opened with a 67 in 2016 at Oakmont when he won his US Open title and also when he opened with a 65 the year before when he came agonisingly close at Chambers Bay.
In that same year he opened his Open Championship campaign at St Andrews with a 65 and his PGA challenge with a 66.
In addition as recently as last month of course DJ began his campaign for this years US Open with a 67 which saw him tied for the day 1 lead.
For me therefore the message is a fairly simple one, if you fancy Dustin to have a strong week at a major have him on side to make a fast start.
The one slight negative to this is DJ’s tee time, which is an afternoon one, however if the forecast is to be believed we are not looking at a significant increase in wind speeds on Thursday afternoon so I am willing to take a chance on Dustin overcoming this.
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE - 85-1 – ½ pt e/w – 1/5 odds 1st 8. LOST - [9th place!]
The name of Englishman Matthew Southgate is a name on a lot of peoples lips this week as he brings a great links pedigree along with a membership at Carnoustie to the equation.
From my point of view whilst I perhaps might have been interested in Matthew for our main team at the fancy prices which were around a few weeks back those are long gone now and I cannot bring myself to back someone at 125-1 or so outright if I just cannot picture them winning the event.
As all things do point to Southgate going well though I am keen to have him onside in some manner and the First Round Leader market seems the ideal opportunity.
Matthew tees of on Thursday morning in the second group at 06.46 so he should get the best of the greens and the lightest of what wind there is on the day.
Southgate opened with a 65 at last weeks Scottish Open before gradually slipping down the field to finish in a respectable 23rd place.
My hope is that this week he can again start quickly at a course he obviously knows well and likes and in doing so give us a nice day 1 pay out.
72 HOLE TOURNAMENT MATCH BET
B GRACE To Beat F MOLINARI 2.5pts win 6/5 William Hill. LOST!!!
I appreciate that taking on arguably the hottest player in world golf at the moment may seem a little foolhardy but I just have a hunch that the Italian’s bubble may burst this week.
When going in to bat with a 72 hole match bet in a major there are obviously two halves to the equation, firstly you fancy one player to go well and secondly you fancy the other to relatively struggle based on the expectations coming in to the week and for me this is my feeling on both players here.
I have made my case for Grace in my main preview for the week so I wont go over it again in detail here.
Suffice to say I expect a really solid week from him in conditions, which should suit him down to the ground.
Lets now take a closer look at Molinari. The down side of course is that he has ‘been on fire’ of late and there is a risk that he just stays in the groove and has another great week.
On the other side of the coin though he is coming straight of the plane from the John Deere where he was throwing darts at a rain sodden course to an event that he has never performed particularly well in.
The second part of this to me is the key. If I were looking at Zach Johnson for example he has a proven record in links golf and we know he has all the shots in the bag required. The adjustment therefore from the John Deere would not be such a big concern.
Francesco however does not have a good record in the event with only one top 10 and three top 20s in his last ten starts.
With the conditions the players will face this week I feel that more than ever the adjustment from the John Deere will be a tricky one and I believe that players who are proven on firm, fast links courses will be at an advantage and I am therefore happy to chance the South African v the Italian at a shade of odds against.
CAMERON SMITH – TO FINISH TOP 20 – 1.5pts win – 9-1 - LOST
For my final bet this week I am keen to have the young Aussie Cameron Smith on side.
Regular readers will know that Smith was included in my ‘six to follow for 2018’ blog which I published at the beginning of the year, and for the first few months of the year he did us proud.
Over recent weeks however the wheels have definitely come off and he missed four straight cuts on the PGA Tour from the Players through to the US Open without breaking 70.
Last weekend though he broke that unwanted run with a solid 42nd place finish at the Scottish Open which included four rounds in the 60s.
Moving forward we now come to a course playing to conditions which the young Aussie will be relishing.
Brought up on the Brisbane coast of Australia firm fast links courses are his bread and butter and he has shown that on many an occasion since he joined the professional ranks.
Smith already has two top 5 major finishes to his name with the most recent one coming earlier this year at Augusta. The other coming on a tough links type test at Chambers Bay.
He is clearly therefore a man for the big occasion and at 9-1 I am happy to take a chance this week that he has turned a corner and will produce the goods at a venue which should really suit his game.