Open Championship 2013 Blog
What do Thomas Aiken, Chad Campbell, Matthew Goggin, Chris Woods and Anthony Kim have in common?
They have all ‘placed' at the Open in recent years at 3-figure odds. If they finished in their respective positions this year, you would have got a return.
Which brings me to my point. Pundits, golfing aficionados and tipsters are all stating how only the cream of the crop has any chance on a very difficult Muirfield track - that experience and tactical know-how is vital.
Whilst I agree in respects to who will actually lift the trophy, gamblers should definitely look further down the field for value with payouts on e/w terms.
I am stunned that some bookmakers are offering 7 and 8 places with a payout at 1/4 of the odds because on average the last 6 Opens have resulted in 12 players inside the top 8.
Therefore, I feel it would be foolish to not think about the outsiders, especially when you consider that since and including Muirfield in 2002, 40 ‘outsiders' have finished inside the top 8 - an average of 3 a tournament.
So where should we be looking this year to find that hidden gem?
I am a big fan of Richard Sterne, who won the Joburg Open this year and arrives in good form, whilst he is a solid links player - 3 tops 10s in his last 9 links tournaments.
Another 2013 winner Jamie Donaldson may not have much Open experience but he is currently ranked 38th in the world for a reason. He is in fine form with 2 top 10s in a row and is a superb links player - since 2010 has played 17 links tournaments, finding 9 top 25s, 7 top 10s and 1 win.
Lastly, Bill Haas and Mikko Ilonen have the perfect games to challenge any links courses and I would not be surprised to see their names up there, but only if they get their putters going.
So, instead of playing the lottery this week, wouldn't it be more exciting to back an outsider and watch him go through an arduous four days in the most exhilarating tournament in the world?
I'll let you decide.
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Lewis was a freelance writer for Golf Monthly in 2013.
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