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For the majority of the field this week’s venue, Royal Portrush, is an entirely new test and as such it presents a fine opportunity for a wider range of golfers in the field – and particularly those who are still seeking their first win in a major. Here are three golfers at the top of that list that golf betting fans should consider.
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Jon Rahm (+1600 with DraftKings)
It didn’t take the 24-year-old Spaniard (pictured above) long to get to grips with professional golf. He finished third on his debut in the paid ranks, second in his third and he won tournaments in his first full seasons on both the PGA and European Tours.
It seemed there was nothing he couldn’t achieve and yet there was one glaring omission from his log book – a half decent performance in the majors. It was not only that he failed to finish top 20 in his first six appearances, it was that he admitted he hadn’t really come to terms with how to prepare for them.
Spin it forward to this week, and he’s made four major championship top-10s in his last seven starts, and you get the impression that this is a man who is getting to grips with peaking when it matters. Moreover, he gets an added bonus this week – playing in Ireland. Why is that so important?
Well, he claimed the Irish Open two years ago, won it again two weeks ago, was fourth in-between and every one of those performances was by the sea. He’s got a great chance this week.
Eddie Pepperell (+8000 with 888Sport)
Linksland golf calls for creativity and perhaps that explains why the 28-year-old Englishman is such a brilliant exponent of it. He’s become something of a social media legend as a consequence of his willingness to think outside the golfing box, and it clearly transfers to a form of the game that requires quick wits.
He was T43rd in the Scottish Open on a course softened by rain and made easy with no wind. The week before, however, at the Irish Open, he was faced by a Lahinch test which was far more like this week’s examination and finished fourth. And just a couple of months ago he was second in the British Masters at Hillside, a course next door to Royal Birkdale.
Twelve months ago he thrashed a final round 67 at Carnoustie to record sixth place in the Open and he has proved himself on the rugged coastline of Northern Ireland when reaching the playoff of the Irish Open at Royal County Down in 2015 (he was defeated by Soren Kjeldsen). He’s currently a cult hero to many, but victory in a major would lift him into the mainstream.
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Tommy Fleetwood (+3300 with FanDuel)
Alongside this week’s defending champion Francesco Molinari, Fleetwood was the breakthrough superstar of the 2018 Ryder Cup – is it possible that this week Fleetwood can complete a Moliwood defense of the Claret Jug?
It would make a great story, and it’s far from a complete outside chance because after many years of being hyped as a contender the 28-year-old Englishman enters this week somewhat flying under the radar.
Back in 2017 he played in his hometown of Southport amid much clamor and was eventually happy with a top-30, and last year he managed a tournament best T12th at Carnoustie. So, he’s trending in the right direction.
He’s yet to make a top 30 in the majors this season but that only helps him stay out of the limelight and that might matter because while he copes admirably with it there is no question that it presents difficulty. More recently his form has shown promise with T13th at the Travelers Championship and T23rd in the Irish Open.
“I thought it was perfect preparation,” he said of the latter and he now has a great chance to take the next step in his career.
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