Here we take a look at the top British contenders for the 2018 Open. By Henny Fudge
Open Championship British Contenders 2018
With British golf booming on the world stage, Sunday afternoon at The Open could well feature a few of our nation’s contenders.
Could a Brit break the Americans’ major winning streak on home soil?
Here we take a look at the top British contenders for the 2018 Open…
Open Championship British Contenders 2018
One of Britain’s best hopes for bringing home the Claret Jug is Tommy Fleetwood. His form over the last two seasons has been exceptional with three wins on the European Tour and countless top-10s around the world. After shooting a record-equalling final round performance at the US Open last month, Fleetwood has proven that he can carry his nerves incredibly well in the toughest of conditions. As well as this, Fleetwood holds the course record at Carnoustie after shooting a 63 in last year’s Dunhill Links, proving he knows his way round the course. He may well be the one to beat.
Since being low amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998 Rose has only carded one top-10 in an Open. Having said that, his form heading into Carnoustie is around the best it has ever been. Rose has won twice on Tour this season, one of these being a WGC, so he’s on the right track for his next big win. Already having a major win under his belt can allow Rose to take the contained approach at Carnoustie and become a real threat to the rest of the field.
There’s almost no doubt that if Rory plays well he will be there or thereabouts come Sunday afternoon at Carnoustie. With three top-5s in his last three Opens (victory in 2014), it’s incredibly hard to not see him contending for his second Claret Jug. However, his form this season has been somewhat inconsistent. Having won the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier in March people would’ve thought things would spring in the right direction. Since the win, Rory has missed the cut at both the Players and the US Open.
At the age of 42, Poulter was finally victorious in a stroke play event in America earlier in March at the Shell Houston Open. This crucial win (his first in over five years) has given Poulter the confidence that he has been in search of for a long while. Having still not got that major win in his locker, he’ll be motivated to take home the Claret Jug at Carnoustie. Making the Ryder Cup team will also be at the forefront of Poulter’s mind. Being currently well outside the standings means a more than solid week is needed for a possible recreation of the ‘Miracle at Medinah’.
Over the last two years, Tyrrell Hatton has really made his mark as a worldwide star thanks to three wins on the European Tour since October 2016. Like Jon Rahm, he is known for his more fiery approach on the course which could be a cause for concern in major tournaments, however he heads into Carnoustie on great form. He may have missed five cuts in his six Open appearances but his T5 finish in 2016 at Royal Troon could be incredibly valuable when tackling this challenging Scottish Links course.
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Since having a good week at Shinnecock Hills with a T12 finish, Fitzpatrick heads into the Open on solid form. His cheeky charm around the course makes him a player who is easily won over by the fans, especially his home fans who can then play a major role in his potential success at Carnoustie. Although his season has been quite flat to date, it only takes an amazing four days grab an important win and become a major champion. Fitzpatrick is definitely capable of that.
Matthew Southgate has come on leaps and bounds since being clear of testicular cancer in September 2015. He may not have secured his maiden professional victory yet but consistent performances on the European tour are putting him in good stead to get the job done and with very good results in the last two Opens maybe he might complete the improbable and lift the Claret Jug at Carnoustie.
Matt Wallace heads into the Open on the best form of his career coming off a victory at the BMW International Open. Three wins in the last 14 months has seen him rise up the world rankings and up to a career-high of 66th. He’ll definitely have more first tee nerves than any other British contender as he is making his Open debut at Carnoustie. Is it possible that the winning score will come from a debutant?
It has taken Casey almost nine years to finally grab his second PGA Tour victory earlier in March giving him fine form heading into Carnoustie. His woeful Sunday performances were at last put behind him as he came from five shots back on the final day at Innisbrook Resort to capture the Valspar Championship. His major form this season has been pretty decent too with a T15 finish at Augusta and a T16 finish at Shinnecock Hills. Casey is known for his unexpected charges therefore could that potentially go in his favour in the battle for winning his maiden major?
The Scot has just won on a links course at the Irish Open and was second the week prior in France. Knox has won a WGC before as well as a regular PGA Tour event so clearly has the game to mix it with the world’s best. He is looking to become the first Scottish winner of the Open since Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie in 1999.
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