Golf Tips: We’ve a 17/2 treble play for the final day of the Open Championship

Who'll be holding the Claret Jug come tea-time?

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With the dust settled on a superb Saturday of action at St Andrews we have two players sharing the 54-hole lead on 16- under, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland.

McIlroy came into the week as a single-figure odds favourite on the back of a superb run of form, which had seen him post a win and four further top-eight finishes in his last seven starts. He was clearly the man to beat when the first tee ball was struck on Thursday morning and nothing he has done since has changed that view.

On Saturday the Northern Irishman stayed patient early in his round before picking off his birdies on the ‘getable’ holes on his way to a superb 66 with the highlight of the day came on the tenth when he holed a bunker shot for an eagle two.

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND – JULY 16: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland looks on during Day Three of The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course on July 16, 2022 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

The four-time Major Champion gained over 4.5 shots from tee to green on Saturday and if he can continue in the same vein on day four and not let the pressure get to him then he will surely finally end his Major drought.

As we know though strange things can happen on the final day of a Major and if McIlroy loses his way Hovland who also shot 66 on Saturday is more than capable of taking advantage. The Norwegian though, who was bogey-free on Saturday is yet to post a top ten in a Major so this is unchartered territory for him, and having had one of those days with the putter on Saturday where the long ones were dropping it may just be he struggles to keep it going on the final day.

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With every winner of the Open at St Andrews having been within four shots heading into Sunday, if the front two were to falter then the penultimate pairing of the two Cameron’s, Smith and Young who start four back on 12- under are the most likely duo to take advantage.

Thirty-six hole leader Smith who had been on fire on the greens on the opening two days unexpectedly lost his way with the flatstick on Saturday. With his long game still looking solid though I expect him to bounce back in the final round and he may just yet have something to say.

Ultimately though he and Young, along with the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Si Woo Kim and Dustin Johnson who start five and six back, will need help from the front two and I am not sure McIlroy in particular will give it to them.

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Open Championship St Andrews

To sum up I expect McIlroy to win but I am reluctant to jump on board now at odds on. Instead then I will turn my attention to the final day’s two balls in search of some value starting with chancing Brian Harman as the outsider when he tees off against Shane Lowry at 1.35pm.

The Irishman hasn’t quite been able to string it all together this week with the putter in particular letting him down and but for a couple of back-to-back hole-out eagles on the ninth and tenth on Saturday he would be further down the pack.

Harman meanwhile despite having his worst day on the greens this week posted a solid 68 on Saturday and if the gritty American can rediscover his putter from the first two days he may well get the better of Lowry.

Next up I will take my chances with Tommy Fleetwood against Dustin Johnson when the duo head out at 2.20pm.

Fleetwood has done very much what I expected him to do this week, which is play solidly without getting seriously into contention and it would not surprise me to see him shoot a low one to wrap things up and make his way into the top five. Johnson meanwhile was right in the thick of things until three scrappy bogeys down the stretch derailed his challenge. It may just be that some competitive rust has caught up with him and I expect the Englishman to close out the event more strongly.

To wrap up our final round treble I am going to return to the well with Cameron Smith against Cameron Young when they head out at 2.40pm.

As mentioned earlier Smith did little wrong on Saturday but it was just one of those days on the greens. Normally so reliable with the flatstick I expect the Aussie to bounce back strongly and with Young having started to look somewhat edgy down the stretch on Saturday the Players Champion looks the value to get the better of him.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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