Open Championship 2018: Outright and three-ball picks for day two

Former US Open champion Webb Simpson
Former US Open champion Webb Simpson has the scrapping skills for Carnoustie
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Paul Krishnamurty updates the state of play at Carnoustie and recommends seven new bets ahead of day two...

"Here's an interesting outsider of three. Kinhult is a high-class prospect who has performed well in big European Tour events in his rookie season...Both opponents are very beatable."

Back Marcus Kinhult 2u @ [4.6]

Returning to a venue that has only produced classic Open Championships in the modern era, this year's renewal is shaping up nicely after the opening round. Indeed, it is hard to recall a more wide-open leaderboard a this stage of any major.

Kevin Kisner, matched up to [610.0] pre-tournament, is the sole leader on -5. None of the seven players to better -2 were trading below [100.0] pre-tournament, with Tony Finau the only one below [250.0]. Take those outsiders out of the equation and the next 65 players are separated by just three strokes.

Bombers neutralised as scrappers thrive

The puzzle is therefore barely any easier to solve than it was before the start of play, although we have gained some clues. Its notable to see a short-hitter in the lead, and fewer bombers up there than seems usual in majors nowadays.

Of course a bomber can win this Open but their regular advantage is of little relevance. The key to success at Carnoustie remains smart course management, avoiding bunkers and scrambling well for par. Above all, it suits a scrapper, like 2007 champion Padraig Harrington or, for that matter, Kisner.

The American put up a really gutsy run from the front at last year's USPGA but this round came out of nowhere. The leader makes very little appeal at [25.0] and nor do any of that leading group. For me, the value right now lies somewhere among that mass of players between -2 and +1.

Late starters set to enjoy the best of conditions

One way of whittling down potential selections is to try and predict the weather and its effect. These forecasts notoriously change fast but at the moment, the consensus is there will be rain in the morning until early/mid afternoon. The wind will be stronger than today, gusting up to around 19 mph, with some forecasts saying it will die down in the afternoon.

If that proves right, those starting their rounds after midday will enjoy the best of it. They will be able to attack pins on receptive greens and, without strong winds, scoring would be even easier than today.

Plus, these late starters are unlikely to see their odds drift throughout the morning. Evidently, there are very few low scores out here, especially in wind and rain. I doubt Kisner will be more than a shot off the pace when teeing off at 12.53pm and he may well still lead.

Start the in-play book with this quartet

Back Rickie Fowler 5u @ [17.5]
Back Matt Kuchar 3u @ [65.0]
Back Webb Simpson 2u @ [100.0]
Back Brian Harman 1u @ [400.0]

As I wrote in my preview, Carnoustie is very much a place to lay the leaders, in expectation of change. However that makes little sense in the current scenario when none are at short odds, so the plan for today is to just get four of those late starters into my in-play book, to be updated tomorrow.

Fowler is in the seventh last group, which is around the perfect time. It may well be that he comes up short yet again when it matters but I strongly fancy him to be there or thereabouts over the weekend.

The other three are all precisely the sort of resilient, smart course managers and excellent scramblers mentioned above. Kuchar was runner-up last year and this set-up is equally suitable.

Neither Simpson or Harman have hit such heights in an Open yet, but haven't disgraced themselves either and tick all the other boxes. If this were a US Open - and the demands are not that different - both would be a fraction of these odds.

Three-balls - A trio of bets

Back Marc Leishman 2u @ [3.35] (Starts 07.52) (vs McIlroy, Olesen)

Rory McIlroy should always be taken on in bad weather and we have two high-quality opponents to choose from. Leishman looked like challenging for the first round lead before finishing poorly for 72 while Olesen hit 70. Both are cracking links and wind exponents but the Aussie gets marginal preference because he's more reliable off the tee and very resilient in majors.

Back Marcus Kinhult 2u @ [4.6] (Starts 12.53) (vs Pieters, Kisner)

Here's an interesting outsider of three. Kinhult is a high-class prospect who has performed well in big European Tour events in his rookie season. He contended for the high-class Open de France on his penultimate start, fought back well on debut and was third in the Qatar Masters - a regular Open indicator.

Both opponents are very beatable. Kisner was in poor form until yesterday and is under pressure carrying the lead. Carnoustie does not look the right set-up for Pieters' ultra-attacking game.

Back Brian Harman 4u @ [2.1] (Starts 13.15) (vs Ikeda, Landry)

Considering Ikeda's poor record, this was a disappointing bet to lose yesterday with an even par round. Landry hit 80 and is evidently not yet accustomed to links golf. The formbook deserves another chance. Ikeda has never bettered 71 and only twice beaten 74 in ten Open rounds from this stage of the event.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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