Branden Grace made the last major championship a highly profitable one for our outsiders' trading column. Read who Paul Krishnamurty is taking huge prices about for St Andrews...
"Eddie Pepperell has twice shown recently how much he enjoys a gruelling links test."
There is no event in the world for which the weather has such a profound effect as the Open Championship, and that equally applies to this column. If conditions and the forecast for the week were only slightly different, we would almost certainly be backing a different set of players.
So here's what we know. St Andrews is playing much softer than we've seen in recent Open Championships due to rain and with more due over the week, the greens will be receptive. Fairly strong winds are also forecast, with the current forecast suggesting an advantage to Thursday's early starters.
It certainly does not look too much like the benign 2000 and 2005 St Andrews renewals won by Tiger Woods. In my view, the weather will count against many American players and indeed most of the field, while favouring homegrown links and bad weather specialists. Indeed both of my picks are bidding to become the first English winner since 1992.
Moreover the significance of the draw, missing the worst of it, cannot be overstated. In the last St Andrews Open, it certainly helped runaway winner Louis Oosthuizen and destroyed the chance of third-placed Rory McIlroy. Therefore, longstanding big-priced fancies such as Geoff Ogilvy and Danny Willett are reluctantly substituted for players with early starts.
One man who will love the weather is Ross Fisher, who held a clear lead during the final round at Turnberry in 2009, before one disaster hole struck. Ever since he's been on my radar as a potential Open winner, but never challenged. He remains a good links player, though, and has finished runner-up at St Andrews in the Dunhill Links.
Another noteworthy point about Fisher is improving form in his last two events, finishing 11th in Germany and a close seventh in Scotland on Sunday. This sometimes world-class player may have found his range just in time and he's always going to catch my eye in this major at odds of 230.0229/1.
Next another in-form Englishman, who has twice shown recently how much he enjoys a gruelling links test. Eddie Pepperell was second in the Irish Open at Royal County Down, played in very tough conditions, and enjoyed a great weekend to finish fourth in Scotland last week.
Odds of 250.0249/1 about a player who finished the previous week so strongly on a links are big and, in any case, I rate Pepperell one of the very best prospects in Europe. He'll make a mark in this major one day for sure.
The trading advice is to stake four units on the pair, then place lay orders on both at 20.019/1 and 3.02/1, with a view towards banking a profit in-running. If either hits the first target, we'll be guaranteed to quadruple our money, whilst leaving substantial positions open.
Back Ross Fisher 2u @ 240.0239/1
Back Eddie Pepperell 2u @ 250.0249/1
Place order to lay both players 16u @ 20.019/1
Place order to lay both players 20u @ 3.02/1
Not made your mind up who to back yet? Well don't miss Steve 'The Punter' Rawlings' stunning comprehensive preview of the Open Championship here, or visit our unrivalled Open pages here, featuring stats, analysis, course guides, in-play hints, and much much more as the week progresses.