The Open Championship 2015 Preview

Written by Matt Cee for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

The Open Championship | Thursday 16 July - Sunday 19 July | St Andrews Old Course

The Open Championship will tee off at historic St Andrews on Thursday and as was to be expected, the golfing world is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of what promises to be a hotly contested affair. When Jordan Spieth won last week social media exploded as the world began to ponder whether he has it in him to pull off the unthinkable and win three Majors back-to-back. The sceptics were quick to point out that this will be easier said than done, especially when you consider that Rickie Fowler won in Europe a few hours before and looks to be in great form. Both of these players and the rest of the field will breathe a sigh of relief that Rory McIlroy is sitting this one out. He’s always one to watch at St Andrews and the tournament will be poorer for his absence.



There’s not much that can be said about St Andrews that golf fans don’t already know but for those of you who need a refresher, the course is a par 72 which measures just over 7 300 yards. There are over a hundred sand traps which makes them almost unavoidable and so the ability to keep a cool head when faced with a difficult lie in a pot bunker will be of vital importance. That cool head won’t only apply to difficult sand saves though, the pressure is going to be on throughout the four days and the ability to handle that will be key. The thick fescue is amongst the toughest around so hitting the fairway is a must, but that won’t prove to be too much of a challenge as the fairways are wide. That being said, the wind is expected to get up at some stage so only those who can control the blustery conditions will be able to win.



To Win Outright
Jordan Spieth  6/1
Dustin Johnson  12/1
Rickie Fowler  18/1
Henrik Stenson  20/1
Justin Rose  20/1

VALUE BETS
Rickie Fowler (18/1 a win, 36/10 a place)
Rickie Fowler has always been good but this season he’s showed that he has what it takes to be one of golf’s greats. Since he burst onto the scene his critics have felt him to be undeserving of the praise that has been heaped on him, but they’ve been silenced in 2015 as he has gone from strength to strength. He has one of the best all-round games on the Tour and showed the field up last week in Scotland, taking home a well deserved win and setting himself up perfectly to make a charge at St Andrews. There can be little doubt that he has the mental fortitude to succeed in the face of immense pressure as he managed Top 5 finishes in all four Majors last year. There can be little doubt that he has what it takes to perform at St Andrews as he came second last year. Let’s hope this time around he goes one better.

Justin Rose (20/1 a win, 4/1 a place)
You can’t ignore Justin Rose at the Majors and although St Andrews has never been his happiest hunting ground, he certainly has the game to fare well here this year. Although the fairways at St Andrews are wide, strategically placed drives could mean the difference between winning and losing and Rose is one of the most accurate drivers around. He also knows how to make the most of it and ranks high in birdie average, a stat that will be key to winning here. I’m backing Rose each way this week, he should be near the top come Sunday.

Hideki Matsuyama  (40/1 a win, 8/1 a place)
In this company the prospect of Hideki Matsuyama winning looks to be a bit of a long shot. That’s until you look at his recent form. He will arrive at St Andrews with six Top 5s in his last ten starts and those finishes almost all came against some stiff competition. Sure, he hasn’t won yet this year and expecting him to get his first victory in a Major is pretty optimistic but he certainly looks to have the all-round game to go far here. He doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses to speak of and that kind of game is what is required to win this. This price looks generous so get your bets on early as it won’t be around for long.

TOP BET: 
Henrik Stenson (20/1 a win, 4/1 a place)
I mentioned that I like Justin Rose this week because he has the ability to place the ball pretty much wherever he likes on the fairway and Stenson is another player who ticks that box. Winning at St Andrews is all about playing strategic golf and there is a clinical aspect to Stenson’s game that a lot of this field are lacking, which should stand Stenson in good stead. He’s proven time and time again that he can tame the Old Course and almost won in 2010, eventually finishing third. I think this could be Stenson’s year so I’m making him my Top Bet for the week. At this price he can’t be ignored.

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