Open Championship 2019: Outright and three-ball tips for round two

Golfer Tony Finau
Tony Finau has started another major strongly

Paul Krishnamurty's three-ball tips yielded ten units profit on day one. Check out his best 18-hole and outright bets for Friday...

"Open specialist Stenson has the perfect skills set for Portrush and nothing about his opening 70 cooled the optimism flowing from recent performances."

Back Henrik Stenson 3u @ 7/5 (vs Schauffele, McDowell) (Starts 14.15)

If scoring on the opening day at Royal Portrush is a guide to the weekend, we can expect a classic Open Championship, oozing with potential for betting drama. In contrast to most recent US majors, but more in keeping with this one, this does not look the type of course where one man will pull away.

Only two players - JB Holmes and Shane Lowry - bettered three under, but 53 hit level par or better. Despite difficult conditions in bad weather, there were plenty of birdies but mostly, the challenge is avoiding the trouble and potential disaster. As Rory McIlroy proved with his catastrophic first and last holes, everyone is vulnerable. Dozens of big names have blown it already.

Portrush looks perfect for betting and drama

I expect, and certainly hope from an entertainment perspective, that this renewal will be similar to the previous one at Carnoustie. Or St Andrews in 2015, or Muirfield 2013. One where the lead, and momentum, frequently swings between around a dozen contenders.

At this stage, the task is to identify some of that guesstimated dozen. Preferably at tasty prices that can realistically be cashed out for profit.

Without underestimating their claims, that means swerving the front two in the betting. Brooks Koepka was ominously machine-like for 15 holes. Jon Rahm maintained his superb Irish Open form. However, with such a bunched leaderboard, either could find themselves back in the pack at short notice.

The wind is forecast to be slightly lower tomorrow so perhaps scoring will improve but heavy rain is due to arrive around 3pm. The best plan at this stage is to look for players who will be finished, or close to finishing, by then. I'm backing the following trio.

Get these early starters in the book now

Starting on -3, Tony Finau or Tyrrell Hatton could easily find themselves in the lead at some stage tomorrow morning. Finau is building a fine majors record and played well in all three previous Opens, despite a lack of links experience. Hatton is very much a links specialist and may have the ideal tee-time before 8am. Let's get them in the book now and reconsider tomorrow.

Tyrell Hatton watches shot 1280.jpg

Also Matt Kuchar is recommended each-way. He's out early enough at 10:20 and in my view ideally suited by the Portrush challenge - accurate and a great scrambler. So many recent Open champions had a similar experienced profile - Stenson, Mickelson, Els, Clarke, Cink - to 41-year-old Kooch, who's finished second and ninth in the last two.

Back Tony Finau 3u @ 31/132.0
Back Tyrrell Hatton 3u @ 39/140.0

Back Matt Kuchar 1u each-way @ 40/1 (1/5 odds, six places)

Trust Arnaus to justify favouritism on links

Back Adri Arnaus 4u @ 6/5 (vs Dahmen, Papadatos) (Starts 06.57)

Thursday's three-ball tips yielded ten units profit, with Arnaus one of the winners. That came despite a terrible start on the easier holes but Dahmen soon caught up on the bogey count and it descended into a match, with Papadatos shooting +12. To reiterate yesterday's arguments about relative links experience, the young Spaniard looks a stronger favourite than these odds.

Back Branden Grace 3u @ 21/10 (vs Lowry, Mickelson) (Starts 12.53)

It was no surprise to see Mickelson suffering on such a punishing set-up given the state of his game. I don't think he'll enjoy battling against the odds to make the cut in heavy rain. Lowry hit a great round but they are never easy to follow.

Grace is rated fair value at the odds, despite his own recent struggles. The South African is a superb links player with the ideal low ball flight. This challenge may inspire and he played well enough for 70 in the morning.

Stenson primed for another good Open

Back Henrik Stenson 3u @ 7/5 (vs Schauffele, McDowell) (Starts 14.15)

I'm very tempted to back Stenson at 35/136.0 for the tournament but he's probably going to get the worst of the draw tomorrow, so better to wait for the weekend. Nevertheless, this Open specialist has the perfect skills set for Portrush and nothing about his opening 70 cooled the optimism flowing from recent performances.

This is a tough group, for sure. Schauffele is very classy but opposable after yesterday's struggle. Gmac fought well for most of the round until a catastrophic finish, dropping five shots on the last three. That might break the back of his event.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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