Open Championship 2016: Steve Rawlings' top senior pick

Vijay Singh – The Punter’s pick in the top senior market
Vijay Singh – The Punter’s pick in the top senior market

Colin Montgomerie will kick off the 146th Open Championship on Thursday and he's the favourite to finish the week as the Top Senior but Steve is convinced the value lies elsewhere...

"Singh’s performance at Memorial last month, when local hero, Billy Hurley, was the only man to finish in front of him, was a cracking effort that far surpasses anything any of the others in this market have achieved in a long while and he should be a strong favourite to finish the week ahead of his senior rivals."

Of the nine seniors lining up at Royal Troon on Thursday, five have previously won an Open Championship - Sandy Lyle, Mark Calcavecchia, Mark O'Meara, Todd Hamilton and John Daly - but it's the youngsters, Colin Montgomerie, Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez that dominate the market. I think the betting is right and I'd be very surprised if one of those three didn't finish the week in front, but which one?

The man I least fancy is Jimenez. He's enjoying the seniors' action in the states (the Champions Tour) and his last four results there have produced a win, a fourth place and two seconds but he's rapidly becoming uncompetitive on the European Tour. He's missed his last four cuts with the youngsters and it looks to me as though he's resigned himself to the easy life. And who could blame him? The Spanish legend has been a popular figure in Europe for many years and it's no surprise to see the American public taking to him. Life's good for Miguel and I just wonder how much fight is left for four tough days on the links.

Colin Montgomerie has qualified for the Open for the first time since he finished tied for 68th in 2010 and I suspect the fact that it's at his home course was an added incentive to make the line-up. He's been assigned the honour of hitting the first tee-shot on Thursday morning and his appearance is getting plenty of coverage on Sky Sports but I wonder if he's in danger of building himself up too much.

I can see Monty starting well but just like Jimenez, there's a very big difference between his form on the Champions Tour and his form on the European Tour, although it's worth noting that he rarely strays from the seniors' tour now.

Monty missed the cut at the Scottish Open last week and that was his first European Tour appearance since he missed the cut in the same event 12 months ago. Seeing him miss out on weekend employment wasn't a surprise though - he's missed ten of his last 20 cuts on the European Tour and he's made the top-20 just once in 36 ET starts over the last five years. It would be a fabulous story if Monty contended this week but quite frankly, it looks like a fanciable notion.

In contrast to the other two market leaders, three-time major winner, Vijay Singh, hasn't taken to the Champions Tour but he's still competitive on the PGA Tour. Singh finished sixth at the competitive Honda Classic in February and only last month he finished runner-up at the Quicken Loans National. The closest the big Fijian came to winning this title was a tied second in 2003 and he hasn't played in the tournament for a couple of years. He missed the cut on his last appearance but he finished inside the top-ten as recently as 2012 and he's the man to beat here.

Singh's performance at Memorial last month, when local hero Billy Hurley was the only man to finish in front of him, was a cracking effort that far surpasses anything any of the others in this market have achieved in a long while and he should be a strong favourite to finish the week ahead of his senior rivals.


Suggested Bet
Vijay Singh @ 3.8514/5 or bigger

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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