Open Championship Tips: Top Senior Market

Fred Couples, the Punter's pick for Top Senior

The Punter runs the rule over the nine over 50s competing at this year's Open Championship. Will Nick Faldo's past glories rekindle his game, will the baby of the party, Vijay Singh, outplay his older rivals or will Freddy Couples be the man to beat?

"Couples won the Senior British Open last year and his Open Championship record is sensational. He has nine top-ten finishes to his name and he finished tied-third as recently as 2005."


Some years there are no more than two or three seniors competing but at this year's Open Championship, we've got nine to assess.

Two-time Muirfield winner, Nick Faldo, makes a rare foray out of retirement with his son Mathew on the bag. Memories of his 18 straight pars in 1987 and his roller-coaster victory in 1992 will no doubt coming flooding back but fond memories alone won't get the job done and after such a long spell on the sidelines I'd be amazed if was competitive.

Sandy Lyle has been playing fairly regularly on the Champions Tour but his 22nd placed finish at the Senior Players Championship last month is far and away his best effort in a while and I'd be just as surprised to see him fare well.

Tiger Woods' big pal, Mark O'Meara, who won the Championship at Royal Birkdale in 1998, has been playing quite well this year. He's recorded six top-tens on the Champions Tour this year but it's been a while since he played well in this event.

Like O'Meara, Mark Calcavecchia has been in fair form on the Champions Tour. He was in-the-mix at the Open in 2009 and he finished tied 9th twelve months ago so he'll be feeling confident that he can do himself justice and he's definitely one to consider.

Peter Senior clinched the final spot at the Australasian international qualifier and I fancy he'll just be happy to be here this week. It's a very long time since Peter figured at an Open Championship and I fancy he'll struggle.

Has Tom Watson got one last Open tale to tell? Not content with very nearly pulling off one of the biggest sporting stories of all time when just failing to win the event in 2007, he made a hole-in-one at the 6th at Royal St.Georges two years ago. Watson strolled to victory here in 1980 and although he's by some distance the oldest man in the field at 63, I wouldn't be in a rush to discount the old master.

After a couple of decent efforts (14th and 22nd) in 2010 and '11, Tom Lehman missed the cut last year. He's bobbed along nicely enough on the Champions Tour this year but there's no real spark to suggest he'll contend.

Having only just turned 50, Vijay Singh is the baby of the group and I fancy that's as much to do with his short price as anything else. Despite his relentless practice sessions and the aid of deer antler spray, Singh hasn't shown much in a long while. He finished alongside Calcavecchia in 9th twelve months ago but that and his tender young age are just about the only positives and of the shorter priced runners in the market, he makes least appeal.

Freddy 'Boom Boom' Couples has been the model of consistency on the champions Tour of late, finishing second in three straight events before he finished 14th in the US Senior Open on Sunday. He won the Senior British Open last year and his Open Championship record is sensational. He has nine top-ten finishes to his name and he finished tied-third as recently as 2005. With the sun on his ageing troublesome back, he could enjoy a good week at Muirfield.

I'm not alone in liking Freddy this week, Paul Krishnamurty has selected him as one of his four Find Me A 100 Winners and I can't for a second disagree with him but this looks the perfect market in which to play ole Boom Boom.


Selection: Back Fred Couples @ 4.03/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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