The Open betting preview: Who will impress at Royal Portrush?
By Ben Coley
Last Updated: 17/07/19 10:31am
Ahead of the final men's major of the year, Ben Coley takes a look at the betting market and offers his predictions for The Open.
All eyes are on Rory McIlroy as the Open Championship returns to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years, and he's a worthy favourite to win a second Claret Jug.
Should Rory do it, there'd be a story to rival that written by the England cricket team at the weekend, but it may be that the local crowds have to make do with an only slightly less popular winner with Tommy Fleetwood primed to go well.
Fleetwood has been well-fancied for this over the last two years, first when he was the one returning home at Birkdale and then at Carnoustie. Both came with huge pressure: he was the local hero in 2017 and held the course record ahead of last year's renewal.
This time, a fairly low-key preparation means he's just slipped under the radar and that may be the different. He has an excellent game for a course which requires precision iron play and can follow his friend Francesco Molinari in winning this great championship.
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Among the biggest threats from across the pond is Patrick Cantlay, who was 12th at Carnoustie, has played well in all three majors this year and yet remains underestimated in the market.
Cantlay is the most complete package on the PGA Tour - he's excelling from tee-to-green and putting better than ever - and he's tasted contention at a major. With a win this season another positive, he's a knocking each-way play.
Henrik Stenson's preparation has been almost perfect and he too is worth including. The Swede, a fabulous winner in 2016, has been flushing his approach shots and won't be hamstrung by his unwillingness to hit driver here.
At bigger prices, Shane Lowry has the confidence to compliment his magic hands and is a fine links exponent, while if there's to be a shock winner to rival Todd Hamilton's success some 15 years ago, it could be Jazz Janewattananond.
This young Thai has been in spectacular form throughout the year, and while most of his good play has been in Asia, he was second through 54 holes of the PGA Championship. Something similar here is possible.
Watch The 148th Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports' dedicated channel. Live coverage from the opening round begins on Thursday from 6.30am on Sky Sports The Open.