The Open

The 2023 Open Championship: Steve Rawlings' pick of the specials

Golfer Adam Scott
Adam Scott - fancied to play well at Hoylake for a third time

On the eve of the 151st Open Championship, Steve's had a good look at all side markets and he's picked out six bets ranging from 13/82.63 to 50/151.00...

Golf fans have enjoyed seeing three stalwarts of the game win for the first time in a while this year.

Justin Rose, who was the pre-event favourite on the last occasion that the Open was staged at Hoylake in 2014, and the ever-popular, Rickie Fowler, won on the PGA Tour for the first time in four years and in-between their two successes, Jason Day claimed the Byron Nelson Championship for a second time in May, having not won since 2018.

Dreary Day looks worth dismissing

Dave Tindall's 10-year trends piece points to Rose and the in-form Fowler would be a great pick at 32.031/1 in the outright market if only he were more reliable in-contention but I'm more than happy to oppose Day.

Since winning in Texas, the injury-prone Aussie's form has fallen off a cliff and after three missed cuts in-a-row, his 45th place finish at the Travelers Championship last time out is nothing to shout about.

His fourth-place finish at St Andrews back in 2015 is far and away his best finish in this major, he was 58th here in 2014, and he's not made the weekend in his last two Open starts - in 2019 and 2021. The 13/82.63 about him missing out on weekend employment again looks very fair.

Back Jason Day to miss the cut @ 13/82.63

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Ferguson fancied to enjoy Hoylake again

As highlighted in the Find Me a 100 Winner column, I was tempted to play Scotland's Ewen Ferguson again this week given he won the Boys Amateur Championship at Hoylake ten years ago and that he finished tied for 12th last week in the Scottish, but I'm not convinced he's quite capable of winning a title of this magnitude.

He will however be a decent bet in the Top Debutant market should one go live and I'm more than happy to chance him in the Top Scottish Player at an industry-best of 7/24.50.

ewen Ferguson at the British.jpg

Last week's gallant runner-up, Robert MacIntyre, is the strong favourite but it's a weak heat after that and there's every chance that MacIntyre suffers some sort of reaction to Sunday's unlucky defeat.

Back Ferguson Top Scotish @ 7/24.50

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Scott a fair price for a top-20 finish

If I wasn't so keen on the defending champ, Cam Smith, I'd be looking to back Adam Scott in the Top Australian market given I want to be against Day but I'm more than happy to play him in the Top-20 finish market, where he's a very fair price of 11/43.75.

Scott was eighth here behind Tiger Woods back in 2006 and he was fifth behind Rory McIlroy in 2014 when on the wrong side of the draw.

The PM-AM starters were disadvantaged to the tune of almost three-and-half strokes nine years ago and Scott has talked of how frustrating it was to sit in the clubhouse and watch the wind ease on Friday afternoon as the scoring improved.

He's been in very fair form of late and he was 15th 12 months ago when not playing as well as he is this year.

Back Adam Scott Top-20 @ 11/43.75

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World's best can both secure a top-ten

Given the world number one, Scottie Scheffler, hasn't finished outside the top-12 places since October and that the world number two, Rory McIlroy, won here wire-to-wire in 2014, that he arrives in tip-top form having just won the Scottish Open in dramatic fashion, and that he's finished inside the top-five places in five of the last seven Opens, the 2/13.00 about them both finishing inside the top-ten (including ties) in the #OddsOnThat section on the Sportsbook looks a great bet.

Scheffler & McIlroy both Top-10 @ 2/13.00

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Can Rory go wire-to wire again?

I'm also more than happy to take the 50/151.00 about Rory repeating his feat of nine years ago.

Rory wins the Scottish.jpg

He led from start to finish at Hoylake in 2014 and that looks a fair bet in the Will History Repeat Itself? section on the Sportsbook.

McIroy lead after every round @ 50/151.00

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And finally, one of the reasons I fancy the 50/151.00 about Rory winning wire-to wire is that in the 12 Championships previously held at Hoylake since 1897, only one winner (Walter Hagen in 1924) has been outside the top-six places after round one but he was only four off the pace.

Up with the pace winner is bet of the week

Being up with the pace has been vital here but it's not just at this venue, a slow start in this particular major, unless the weather is foul, is very difficult to overcome.

Francesco Molinari in 2018, Todd Hamilton in 2004, and Henrik Stenson seven years ago are the only Open winners in the last 18 years to be outside the top-ten after the opening round and five strokes is the furthest any winner has trailed after round one this century.

A fast start is essential and three of the last five winners have been inside the top-five places all week so the 9/25.50 available about it happening again for the fourth time in six years and for the fifth time in six Opens here looks like the bet of the week to me.

In the 12 previous Opens here, nine winners have been inside the top-five all week long and of the three that weren't, two of them were inside the top-five from halfway having sat sixth after round one. Hagen, who sat tied for 13th and four off the lead is the only winner not in the top-six all week long.

Winner top-5 after every round @ 9/25.50

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Golf... Only Bettor. An Open Special. Watch now.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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