With our main team bets all struck for the Open Championship, it is time to turn our attention to the raft of speciality markets that Paddy Power have priced up. We’ll begin by taking a look at the options for Leader after Round One.
Nothing can be taken for certain with the weather forecast, but there doesn’t seem a huge draw bias on Thursday. It looks like the wind will stay fairly steady at around 10-15mph throughout the day.
With that in mind I’ll take one player from each half of the draw and begin with the player I have the biggest hunch for: 60/1 play Tony Finau who tees of at 2.48pm.
Still only one PGA Tour title to his name, Finau is yet to prove that he has what it takes to become a big-time winner at the highest level. What cannot be doubted is the level of talent the American has, or indeed his ability to put in strong performances at the big events.
With four top 10 finishes in his last seven Majors, Finau has become something of a Major specialist.
Two of his three visits to the Open Championship has seen Finau finish in the top 5 after day one. While he’s a man to be wary of on a Sunday, he is someone to have onside on Thursday and I’m happy to take the 60-1 with Paddy paying eight places each-way on the Leader after Round One market.
My second selection is Romain Langasque at 100/1, who did us a nice favour each-way in Scotland last Sunday.
Langasque is a former British amateur champion having clinched the crown at Carnoustie and when he played in the subsequent Open Championship at St Andrews he opened with a round of 69.
Now established on the European Tour, the Frenchman continues to show a liking for links golf and hopefully buoyed by his third place finish in Scotland at the weekend can start quickly with his 7.19am tee time.
Moving to the ‘Nationality’ betting, I’m keen on last week’s John Deere Classic winner Dylan Frittelli to be top South African at 13-2 especially with Paddy paying 1/5th the odds the first three in this market.
John Deere Classic winners who have gained last-minute entry to this field ride the crest of a wave to produce a solid week with Michael Kim being the latest example of this last year.
Granted, Frittelli has yet to make has mark in the Open but look at the competition. Branden Grace is struggling badly for form, Louis Oosthuizen is something of a ‘one-hit Open wonder’ after his 2010 win, and recent Andalucian Masters winner Christiaan Bezuidenhout is making his Open debut.
I am happy to run with the hot hand of Frittelli.
The Top Lefty market is an interesting category and by a process of elimination we could land on a 3/1 winner in Robert MacIntyre. Mickelson is a previous Open winner but Bubba has a dreadful record in the Open while Mexican Isidro Benitez looks out of his depth and Brian Harman only ever made one cut in the Open – coincidentally the week after he won the John Deere Classic.
McIntyre struggled slightly under the home pressure in Scotland last week, but has had a very solid debut season on tour and loves links golf.
Finally I am expecting Thorbjorn Olesen to have a strong week and am happy to take the 3-1 on him finishing in the Top 30.
The Dane has finished top 15 in his last two starts, so he is coming into form nicely. Having finished 12th and ninth at the Open previously he certainly knows how to handle a tough links set up and was T18 at the Irish Open when it was held at this venue in 2012.
What’s not to like!