The Open is nearly upon us, the most anticipated golf tournament of the year looks set to be a dramatic contest this year.

Royal Lytham & St Annes has taken a pasting from the weather in recent times and is playing a lot softer than you would expect. It also has 206 bunkers to contend with and ‘unplayable’ rough.

Accuracy and course management from the tee is without doubt a massive part of winning at Royal Lytham. If you find yourself well placed after your first shot then you can attack the hole and make your score.

I have gone for three different categories of picks and all of these I feel have the control of the ball off the tee and the course management to contend this week.

Tiger Woods is favourite as ever at a reasonable 10/1 with Ladbrokes. If he has a good week with his swing then he certainly could contend. Bit too short priced for me to go for however.

The Favourites

Luke Donald at 20/1 with Ladbrokes Ok, he hasn’t won a Major yet, we all know that. And he played poorly at the US Open, but surely he has to contend here. Plotting his way round a course, and when in trouble getting himself out of it, is what Luke is all about. Good price for a world number one player, which is what he has proved with good recent results.

Padraig Harrington at 20/1 with Ladbrokes Who would have thought Harrington would be shorter priced than McIlroy? Has been playing consistently well, 4th at the US Open, 7th at the Irish Open 16th at the Scottish Open. Loves links golf and finally seems to have settled on a swing that works again!

Rory McIlroy at 25/1 with Ladbrokes Who would have thought McIlroy would be longer odds than Harrington? The purest striker of a golf ball in the game, and although people have been saying he is in the middle of a slump, he finished 10th at the Irish open a few weeks back. You just cannot ignore him at this price.

Bet with Ladbrokes and get up to £50 on free bets:





The Contendors

Ian Poulter at 40/1 with Ladbrokes I think this course should suit Poulter, he hits it straighter than most off the tee and is top 10 for greens in regulation on the European Tour. Loves the Open and finished 4th at the French Open a fortnight ago.

Sergio Garcia at 40/1 with Ladbrokes Another player who has a stunning long game. He has been top 10 at the Open seven of the past 11 tournaments. Would perhaps be a more popular winner of the Open than a Brit, just needs to believe in his own ability.

Graeme McDowell at 33/1 with Ladbrokes Finished runner up at the US Open only a month ago. Is second on the PGA Tour for driving accuracy and knows how to survive if the weather turns bad. Always seems to play well in the Majors.

Francesco Molinari at 40/1 with Ladbrokes Second last week at the Scottish Open where he showed his ball-striking was in top form and also was second in the French Open the week before. Don’t understand how his price can be this big, if he was Westwood or Tiger then his odds would be single figures.

The Outsiders

Pablo Larrazabal at 200/1 with Ladbrokes Huge price for one of the best tee to green players on the European Tour. Finished top 20 last week at the Scottish Open and 30th last year at the Open. If the course does play soft then he could be one to capitalise.

Tom Lehman at 250/1 with Ladbrokes Now this may seem like a strange pick, but Lehman has form, finished top 5 at the US Senior Open last week. He leads the Champions Tour Greens in Regulation Percentage and is second on the money list. Tom Watson said that Lytham suits the older players as it is not as long as some of the other courses…. oh and did I forget to mention, he won the 1996 Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Open Championship advised bets

3pts each way on Luke Donald at 20/1 with Ladbrokes
3pts each way on Padraig Harrington at 20/1 with Ladbrokes
3pts each way on Rory Mcilroy at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
1pt each way on Ian Poulter at 40/1 with Ladbrokes

1pt each way on Sergio Garcia at 40/1 with Ladbrokes
1pt each way on Graeme McDowell at 33/1 with Ladbrokes

1pt each way on Francesco Molinari at 40/1 with Ladbrokes
0.5pt each way on Pablo Larrazabal at 200/1 with Ladbrokes

0.5pt each way on Tom Lehman at 250/1 with Ladbrokes