iBet: Pre-tournament bets for the Muirfield Open
The Open Golf, Muirfield, starts today:
Back the following players each way: Sergio Garcia (33/1), Graeme McDowell (28/1) and Henrik Stenson (50/1)
Back Stenson to be top Scandinavian (3/1)
Back Shane Lowry in a match bet with Paul Lowrie at 10/11
It is five years since Tiger Woods won his last Golf Major. The days when he dominated world golf must seem like a distant dream and the result for punters is that they have become much harder to call – there have been 18 different winners of the last 20 Majors. Muirfield is regarded as a track that brings the cream to the top – and it’s striking that 13 of the previous 15 winners there are in golf’s Hall of Fame.
The pros believe it offers the fairest test because there are fewer bumps and hollows that can send a good shot careering into the rough – in other words luck is less important than on some other links golf courses. A wet spring and early summer followed by the current hot spell means that the rough is deep and the fairways are hard. Driving accuracy is absolutely vital and even though Woods is back to World No1 status, says his elbow injury is mended and he is talking a good game, even at a tempting 10/1 it’s hard to recommend him as a value punt at 10/1 on that basis alone.
In fine conditions I expect a low winning score and so do the spread firms (Spreadex predict around -10). Graeme McDowell (25/1 with Betfair Sportsbook) has a great links game and an assured Major temperament – he is 15th in the driving accuracy stats and although I’d be more confident in bad weather, he’s worth an each way interest.
I also have a sneaking fancy for Sergio Garcia (33/1). The Spaniard has seven top 10 Open finishes and he loves this course. He finished eighth here in 2002 and won the Amateur Championship at Muirfield in 1998. Garcia is one of the best iron players in world golf and seems to be over his putting yips. He’s in solid form too – his average finishing position in the last ten tournaments he’s finished has been 15th and I fancy the forecast fine weather will bring the best out of his game.
Henrik Stenson (50/1 in the outright market) blew a great winning chance in the Scottish Open last week but the Swede proved his game is in top order and the former world No4, who has finished third twice in The Open, looks a good bet at 3/1 with Betfair to be top Scandinavian. Shane Lowry is an improving player who loves links golf and I like the look of the Irishman at 10/11 in a match bet with struggling Paul Lowrie, who has missed six of his last ten open cuts and prefers it when the wind blows hard.
Betfair gives you better value. To see how much more you can win go to www.betfair.com/betcheckerbetting
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