Justin Thomas.

The Open Preview

The 150th Open comes back to The Home of Golf, St Andrews. A golf course that the two greatest players ever to have graced the game, Jack & Tiger, say is by far their favourite venue, writes WARREN TODD.

Whilst it is thrilling and exciting to see how the week unravels at St. Andrews, from a betting perspective, trying to find the winner has had me in meltdown.

My Open prep Preview work usually starts around a month before the first shot is played. I had a shortlist of people I was ready to play, but for one reason or another, I have put a line through them.

So, this Preview carries a wealth warning. The tips are hopeful, not confident, as I feel there are so many more extenuating factors to take on this week.

As always, I have tried to leave this particular Major Preview as late as possible, to try and get a clearer picture of the weather forecast. At the moment there is a slight advantage to the Thursday AM / Friday PM players teeing off, with winds on Thursday creeping from 10-15mph in the morning to 15-25mph (and rain) in the afternoon. Rest of weekend seems to have 10-15mph winds all the way through to Sunday evening.

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Selections (to a 20 point Staking Plan)

Justin Thomas 4pts Each Way 22/1 Top 9 (William Hill)

USPGA Major Winner for the 2nd time earlier this year, JT has been friendless in the betting this week. The key stat I am looking at for this week is Strokes Gained from 50-125 yards, and Thomas excels in this area. We are hearing that the tee shots are bounding on 60yards+ further at St Andrews than a regular tour event, so expect to see the bombers hitting shots from very short distances to the pin on numerous Par 4s.

His price is probably double what it would be if he had played well in The Scottish Open (Missed Cut). But Top 10 finishes in half of the tournaments he has played this calendar year makes him a worthwhile each way investment at 22/1. Collin Morikawa had a poor Scottish Open last year before going on to win The Claret Jug a week later. Let us hope that JT shares the same good fortune.

Max Homa 3pts Each Way 55/1 Top 8 (bet365)

I had Max as my main selection for the US Open. For one of the best putters around, he inexplicably lost over 6 shots to the field on the green that weekend. Putting is an area of strength for him, and pretty much every week he has played this year he gains strokes on the field. Throw in the fact he is in fine form (is solid from 50-125 yards in) and is embracing links golf so much that he played 18 holes at North Berwick Friday evening after playing 18 holes at The Renaissance in the Scottish Open the very same day. I am happy to have him onboard again this week. 

Will Zalatoris 2pts Each Way 30/1 Top 8 (bet365)

Will has morphed into Koepka v2.0 for the Majors the past 2 years, and whilst the physical profiles could not be more different, he has been so unlucky not to gain that elusive ‘W’ in a Major. He has the temperament and the necessary stats to make another big push this week. Again, like Justin Thomas, his price has drifted purely down to the Missed Cut last weekend in The Scottish Open. Happy to have him on board this week.

 JT Poston 1pt Each Way 160/1 Top 8 (bet365)

Poston has hit some ridiculous form Stateside, finishing 2nd in the Travelers and then winning The John Deere Classic a fortnight ago. He is in the form of his life and he must be exuding confidence.

If St Andrews doesn’t get the chance to show its teeth and we see a birdie-fest, at 160/1 this guy is too bigger a price to ignore. 

Good Luck! 

Wozza. -IRC.

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