Rose to bloom
Tipster Dave Tindall reveals his best bets for this year's Open Championship at Royal Lytham
By Dave Tindall. Last Updated: July 18, 2012 4:37pm
Justin Rose: A winner this year and ready to win first major
Lee Westwood will be a hugely popular bet at Lytham this week and rightly so given his superb record in recent majors. The Englishman has finished in the top three in seven of the last 16 majors he's played - an astonishing feat of high-level consistency. One curiosity though is his lousy record on English soil. Starting from the 1996 Open at Lytham, Westwood's record in Opens played in England reads: MC-62-47-MC-31-67-MC. By contrast, during the same period, in Scotland it's excellent: 10-18-64-MC-4-MC-35-3-2. On those figures it might be best to ignore him at Lytham (12/1 at Sky Bet) and wait until Muirfield in 2013! Better news for Westwood and indeed Luke Donald is that the last four Open winners at Lytham (Seve twice, Tom Lehman and David Duval) all topped the world rankings at some point in their careers.
Sky Bet have a whole host of Open specials for punters to get stuck into so let's discuss a few. Royal Lytham, uniquely to Open venues, starts with a par 3 and Sky Bet have priced up what score Woods, McIlroy, Westwood, Donald and Harrington will score. Each are priced up at 7/2 to make birdie or better, 4/7 to make par and 100/30 to make bogey or worse. Looking back to 2001 - the last Open to be played at Lytham - shows that Woods and Harrington twice birdied the opener while Westwood twice bogeyed it. Much will depend on the wind as it can play anything from a 7-iron to a hybrid. The prevailing wind is down and off the right so I'd be tempted to have little 7/2 wagers on Woods and Harrington making birdie or better. As for the other end of the Championship, Sky Bet have also priced up what the winner's score will be on the 72nd hole. It's 7/2 for birdie or better, 4/9 for par and 4/1 for bogey or worse. The 18th played as the fifth hardest hole in 2001 but few major winners ever close out with a bogey so I'd rather play the 7/2 for birdie or better.
Here's a stat which might locate the champion at Royal Lytham - 11 of the last 15 Open winners had won on either the European or US Tour earlier that season. So to save you looking, the 2012 winners who have Open entries are listed below. It contains most of the Lytham favourites but also the players most likely to cause a shock. Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Robert Rock, Paul Lawrie, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Jbe Kruger, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, Michal Hoey, Thorbjorn Olesen, Bubba Watson, Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts, Thongchai Jaidee, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Webb Simpson, Danny Willett, Jamie Donaldson, Marcel Siem, Steve Stricker, Johnson Wagner, Mark Wilson, Brandt Snedeker, Kyle Stanley, Phil Mickelson, Bill Haas, John Huh, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Carl Pettersson, Ben Curtis, Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman, Ted Potter Jr
With the rough up at Lytham and an emphasis on ball-striking, the five 2012 winners I like are Rose, Fowler, Mahan, Dufner and Curtis. I also like a first round leader bet at 100s. Miguel Angel Jimenez has a reputation for fast starts in Opens. He was 5th after day one here at Lytham in 2001, 2nd after the opening round at Hoylake in 2006, day one leader at Turnberry in 2009 and 3rd after the opening day at Royal St George's in 2011,