UG Tips: The Open Championship

This is without doubt the most exciting week of the week for us as lovers of The Open and in particular, links golf. Recent conditions mean that Carnoustie is in the sort of shape that anyone who loves links golf will appreciate as optimum – yes, it looks like a massive Ryvita!

Carnoustie has a reputation as being an absolute beast in its normal state, but just because the ball is running for miles (don’t be surprised by 400 yard drives) it won’t necessarily be any easier. The rough won’t devour so many balls but being on the fairway may be even more beneficial than usual this week. At the moment the wind forecasts don’t look particularly strong, but it won’t take much to add an enormous amount of difficulty to the links. Given the unique conditions, I really can’t see someone coming in having not played links golf these past couple of weeks having any chance at all. It’s just so different to their normal game that even the world’s best will need to acclimatise.

With that in mind, this week’s all-important picks won’t consider anyone who hasn’t played the last 2 European Tour events …….. apart from Sergio!

Rickie Fowler 18/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £245

It’s not surprising that Rickie is listed among the favourite this week, given his tidy tune-up at Gullane and his affinity with links golf. He’s now become a regular performer in majors and has been embraced by the Scottish galleries. To be able to play well on a links course in this kind of condition there is an important mind-set that needs to be obtained and I really believe that Rickie relishes this challenge. Every facet of his game is firing and importantly with the greens running slower than most weeks, he has a putting stroke that will perform well.

Tommy Fleetwood 22/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £295

Relatively stingy odds when you consider the short amount of time he has been residing among the upper echelons of the game. I said above that I wouldn’t pick somebody who didn’t play these past 2 weeks, but …… Exhibit A will be his final round at Shinnecock. This lad has got major game and there’s a strong feeling that something seismic is going to happen very soon.

Sergio Garcia 30/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £395

Sergio’s card has been marked for this event all year. These odds are seriously generous for a man who has recorded a top ten in pretty much half of the Open Championships that he has played. I still shudder, every time I think back to 2007 when he should have claimed his first major. Sergio loves links golf and this was always expected to be his best chance at a major. There’s no doubt that his game is beautifully suited to this style of play – he’s a must in anyone’s betting this year.

Patrick Reed 40/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £520

The world’s gone mad! We were a couple of holes from Reed being on for the Grand Slam at Shinnecock! He’s not a popular guy, but I feel like I’ve warmed a little to him since he showed well at Gullane and also invested in a set of hickories. He looked good for the most part last week and adapted well to the conditions. Love him or hate him, he’s going to contend for plenty more majors.

Matthew Southgate 125/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £791.25

Sir Matthew Southgate as he should be known. He’s made nearly £1million on links courses alone these past 12 months and he’s made everyone at Urban Golf almost as much! While he may not have been on fire these past couple of weeks, he’s shown enough for me to pile in at these odds.

Eddie Pepperell 200/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £1260

Pepperell will have entered many people’s thoughts after his blistering performance at Gullane last week. I’ve had him marked as a player of the highest links pedigree since he won the West of England amateur at the Cradle of English golf a decade ago.

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