Open Championship In-Play Tips – Louis the early leader at Royal St Georgeโ€™s

15:25 – July 15, 2021

With a very late finish to round one today and an extremely early start to round two tomorrow, I thought I’d crack on and kick the Open Championship in-play blog off early, and the story of the day so far is just how poorly the warm favourite, Job Rahm, has performed.

It hasn’t been quite as bad as the start witnessed by the last Open Championship favourite, Rory McIlroy, who opened the 2019 Championship at Royal Portrush with a quadruple-bogey eight before missing the cut, but it wasn’t what was expected after a stunning run of form.

Rahm started nicely enough hitting approaches close at one, two and four but after missing all three very makable birdie attempts, he must have gotten frustrated.

With scoring much better than expected Rahm double-bogeyed the ninth to put himself under pressure and he’s just finished his round after a string of pars after the turn and a birdie three at the 18th. At the time of writing, he’s tied for 71st and seven off the lead and that looks too far back already. The last player to win the Open from seven back after round one was Mark O’Meara in 1998. He sat tied for 68th.

Playing ahead of Rahm, the 2017 Open Champion, Jordan Spieth, who was one of four players I backed at a triple-figure price to lead after every round and win, posted the clubhouse lead with a five-under-par 65 but half-an-hour later, playing alongside the misfiring Rahm, the 2010 Open winner, Louis Oosthuizen, posted one better, with both men highlighting in no uncertain terms, just why past Open winners command respect.

Louis and Jordan are vying for favouritism at this very early stage with both men trading at 6.25/1.

Having backed Rahm a few weeks ago as he won the US Open, his start was very disappointing but Stewart Cink, who was one of three past winners selected for the Find Me a 100 Winner column, has started nicely with a bogey-free four-under-par 66.

Rory McIlroy has only just started his opening round and the final three-ball doesn’t tee-off until 16:16 UK time so there’s an awful lot of golf yet to be played on day one but when the music stops late today, it’s probably best not to scan too far down the leaderboard. As highlighted in the preview, a fast start is often key at this major.

Looking back at previous Opens, it’s nearly always been vital to be up with the pace early on and 12 of the last 15 winners were inside the top-ten after the opening round. The three winners that weren’t are, Francesco Molinari and Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie (where the majority of winners have come from off the pace), and Henrik Stenson at Troon three years ago.

Molinari sat tied for 18th and four adrift and Stenson was 12th and five back. Harrington was tied for 38th and five back, so he was the only player to pass a lot of traffic.

Pre-Event Open Championship Selections:
Jon Rahm @ 12.011/1
Brooks Koepka @ 22.021/1
Tyrrell Hatton @ 44.043/1
Lee Westwood @ 101.0100/1 (ante-post)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout @ 201.0200/1 (ante-post)

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Back 2 ยฝ u Phil Mickelson @ 160.0159/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

Back 2 u Phil Mickelson – Top-20 Finish 6.611/2
Back 2u Stewart Cink @ 180.0179/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

Back 1 ยฝ u Padraig Harrington @ 320.0319/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
Back 2 u Padraig Harrington – Top-20 Finish 7.613/2

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