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With the dust settled on the third round of The Open at Royal St George’s the man in sole possession of the 54-hole lead is the same player who held the advantage through the first two rounds, Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen battled tougher scoring conditions on Saturday, which derailed the challenges of the likes of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, to add a 69 to his efforts on the first two days, and he now sits on 12- under, one stroke clear of Collin Morikawa on 11- under.
Behind this pair we then find Jordan Spieth on 9- under and the duo of Scottie Scheffler and Corey Conners on 8- under. With all of the last 31 Majors having been won by a player within four shots of the lead heading in to Sunday it is highly likely the winner will come from this quintet.
With six runner-up Major Championship finishes to his name, Oosthuizen will surely be the one who has the most to lose going into today’s final round. After a nervy stretch of holes the South African made a superb birdie at 16 and it could be that the way he steadied the ship towards the end of his round gives him the belief to go to the wire and finally land his second Major.
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Ultimately though without a win anywhere in over two-and-a-half years and with the baggage he brings in to today I can’t bring myself to trust him at the odds. Morikawa conversely heads into Sunday with absolutely nothing to prove. The 24-year-old landed his first Major last August and with four wins on tour in less than two years he clearly has the winning habit.
After struggling on the greens last week in Scotland the American has worked it out with the putter this week and any time he does that whilst continuing to be dialled in with his approaches he will be hard to beat. In his career to date Morikawa has shown an ability to take everything in his stride and with no wind to speak of forecast on Sunday to derail him I am happy to side with him to continue to pepper the pins and land his second Major.
Spieth finds himself three back courtesy of three bogeys coming in, including a two-foot miss for par on 18, and with scoring set to be tricky again on Sunday, the 2017 Open Champion now needs a bit of help from the front two and particularly in Morikawa’s case I just can’t see it coming.
Spieth is of course more than capable of producing the magic needed however his putter is obviously causing him problems this week and its Morikawa for me.
Looking now at today’s two-ball pairings and I will firstly give another chance to Cameron Smith who tees off alongside Justin Harding at 1.55pm. Smith didn’t do too much wrong in shooting 68 on Saturday with a superb display from Corey Conners needed to get the better of him.
Smith though continued to hit his irons solidly and with Harding stalling somewhat in his round of 70 I expect the Aussie to come out on top today.
Next up I will take my chances with Mackenzie Hughes against Dylan Frittelli in the 2.05pm two-ball. Frittelli struggled from tee to green on Saturday, hitting only one-third of his fairways, and he did well to scrap out a round of 70.
Hughes conversely finished strongly with three birdies in his final five holes on his way to a 68 and was far stronger than the South African in the long game department. The Canadian has been in far better form than Frittelli of late, finishing 15th at the US Open recently, and he looks the value bet here.
Finally, I will chance Scottie Scheffler to get the better of Jon Rahm when they get underway at 2.15pm. My logic here is that Rahm will have one thing only in mind today and that is to play aggressively and take risks to shoot the low number he needs to overhaul Oosthuizen and Morikawa and if he doesn’t have it dialled in he may pay the price and go the wrong way.
Scheffler meanwhile was really solid again on Saturday and with his strong Major record I expect more of the same from the Texan on Sunday and I am happy to risk him at decent odds against to take advantage of any slip-ups from the Spaniard.
The above three legs in a Paddy Power treble pays out at approximately 8/1 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO PLACE THE BET.
Open Championship 2021 betting tips
8/1 two-ball treble:
Cameron Smith to beat Justin Harding
Mackenzie Hughes to beat Dylan Frittelli
Scottie Scheffler to beat Jon Rahm
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