Ray Flanagan offers his British Open portfolio
Rickie Fowler: Critics will point to recent Sunday performances in big tournaments and admittedly it is hard to argue with the accusation that he has become a “bottler”, He performed poorly on the Sunday at both the US Masters and Us Open when in a winning position and also in one of the weekly PGA tournaments in between the two majors. Yet it takes a good player to get into the winning positions in the first place and I always believe a player can improve or indeed a person in life in general and learn from past failings rather than going along with the notion of once a bottler always a bottler.
Fowler is arguably the most consistent player on tour this year and has a proven solid record on links terrain. I think he struggled in the US Open due to the course being a shade too long for him more than anything else and to my mind he boasts a similar profile to what Jason Day had prior to the 2015 USPGA- boasting solid recent form, learning from the past mistakes and primed to strike.
It could be his time.
Hideki Matsuyama: Can blow hot and cold and putting weaknesses a concern. Nonetheless is a top ball striker and has played well in the wind previously. Impressed me at the US Open where he played magnificently in two rounds and poorly in the other two. I think he needs a tough course to bring out the best in him, similar to a horse who needs soft/heavy ground to slow the opposition down. He did not feature in the Irish Open but that course played too easy and in a shoot out like that he tends to struggle. Tougher course will be up his street though and has the class to feature if avoiding the one shocking round that has tended to scupper him in previous majors.
Mark Leishman: Solid Australian is back to form this year after a disappointing 2016. Has a good record on links golf and made the playoff two years ago at St Andrews when an unconsidered 200-1 shot. Streaky type who can go low when the notion takes him. Could have a good week and is the type of golfer who could pounce as first round leader.
Journeyman European Tour campaigner who is well at home on links golf. Needs the winds to blow strong to slow the others down but if conditions are tough is well equipped to slug it out. Not having the best of seasons but recent interview encouraging and could develop to be a good outsider.
Special Market- What odds Paddy- 63 or lower
Paddy Power going 10-1 on a round of 63 or lower over the course of the tournament. The golf odds compilers I dare say know more than me but this appeals as a fair bet. It is true scoring was very hard here back in 2009 but who says the wind will blow as strong again and with equipment modernising every year, let no one tell me that there will be not be chances of a 63 (-7) over the week. We will wait and see.
2 pts ew-Fowler-14-1 SkyBet-10 places
1 pt ew-Matsuyama-20-1 SkyBet-10 places
0.5 pts ew-Leishman-45-1 SkyBet-10 places
0.5 pts ew-Leishman- 1st Round Leader-55-1 SkyBet-6 places
0.5 pts ew-Kjeldson-110-1 bet 365- 8 places.
1.5 pts -A round of 63 or lower-Paddy Power-10-1 (Markets-What Odds Paddy)