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The Open Championship is back in England and heads to a course not seen on the rota since 2014.
When Rory McIlroy lifted the famed Claret Jug that year after scoring a two-shot win over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia, he had three legs of the Grand Slam.
The Northern Irishman added a second PGA Championship a few weeks later to take his tally of majors to four but, surprisingly, there it remains.
The wait is now nine years but a brilliant victory in last week’s Scottish Open shows that McIlroy is still one of the very best in the business and he’s the betting favorite once more.
The only other time Hoylake has staged the Open since the Beatles split (we are in Liverpool so the Fab Four references are justified) was in 2006.
That year the turf was baked out and Tiger Woods put on a masterclass of ball striking to win his third Claret Jug.
Hoylake, which lies on the other side of the River Mersey to Liverpool, experienced a run of 50 days without rain earlier this year but the skies have started to open now.
The course is a par 71 measuring 7,283 yards and this year features a brand new hole at 17: a par 3 where bunkers surround all edges of the greens.
Light rain is in the forecast all four days while winds are expected to be moderate.
Champion and winning score
Cameron Smith (Australia) -20 St Andrews, Scotland
Collin Morikawa (USA) -15 Royal St George’s, England
Shane Lowry (Ireland) -15 Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland
Francesco Molinari (Italy) -8 Carnoustie, Scotland
Jordan Spieth (USA) -12 Royal Birkdale, England
Henrik Stenson (Sweden) -20 Royal Troon, Scotland
Zach Johnson (USA) -15 St Andrews, Scotland
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) -17 Hoylake, England
Phil Mickelson (USA) -3 Muirfield, Scotland
McIlroy, then 25 years old, dominated the last Open at Hoylake, opening up a four-shot lead at halfway, kicking six clear after 54 and taking it home with a Sunday 71 to win with 17-under. As well as prize money of over $1m, Rory’s father, Gerry, also pocketed a cool £50,000 winning bet having placed a £500 wager 10 years earlier at 100/1 that his son would win the Open before the age of 26. After a stunning birdie-birdie finish to win the Scottish Open, it’s no surprise to see him as a favorite. Check out our golf betting guide for everything you need to know before you place your first bet!
McIlroy would be a much shorter favorite but for the sustained brilliance of Scottie Scheffler. The American has connected seven top-five finishes in an astonishing run of golf and it looks like a matter of time before he adds to his two wins so far in 2023. Scheffler was eighth on his Open debut at Royal St George’s two years ago and 21st at St Andrews last year.
Unlike the top two in the betting, Rahm already has a major in the bag this season after capturing The Masters at Augusta. He’s gone off the boil a little since then but finished fast to take 10th in the US Open. He also owns a third (Royal St George’s) and 11th (Royal Portrush) in two of his last three Open starts.
As noted, Scottie Scheffler’s high-class consistency shows no sign of abating.
Whatever the conditions, the Texan finds his way into the top five and he did that for the seventh straight time when tied third in the Scottish Open last week.
That run includes third in last month’s US Open and second in May’s PGA Championship while he also posted 10th place in defense of his Masters crown in April.
A big fan of the creativity needed for links golf, his tee-to-green play this year has been off the charts.
The putter is stopping those high finishes becoming wins but even a reasonable week with the flatstick could take Scheffler to his second major and third victory of 2023.
No-one would deserve it more so take the +750 for a Scheffler win.
Adam Scott to beat Bryson DeChambeau is my favorite offering in DraftKings Sportsbook’s 72-hole match-ups.
Scott has finished eighth and fifth in his two Opens at Hoylake and the latter came when he was on the much tougher side of the draw.
Overall the Aussie has 10 top 25 finishes in this event while Scott’s current form shows three top 10s and a further top 20 in his last seven starts.
DeChambeau took eighth at wide-open St Andrews last year but that’s a very different beast to Hoylake and he’s not managed a top 30 in four other Open appearances.
Canada’s Corey Conners looks a good fit for this course given his strong tee-to-green hitting.
The Canadian has six top 20s in his last 14 majors, including 15th in the 2021 Open, and he claimed 19th in last week’s Scottish Open.
On those numbers the Top 20 market looks the play; he’s +280 with bet365.
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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