The Old Course, Royal Troon Golf Club, Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland
Par 71, 7,064 yards
The Open Championship is the oldest of the four majors and always takes place on a tricky links style setup in the month of July. The last time Troon hosted the Open Todd Hamilton was the surprise winner beating Ernie Els in a playoff.
Royal Troon Golf Club is a links golf course located in Troon, South Ayrshire, southwest of Glasgow. The club was founded 138 years ago in 1878, initially with five holes. George Strath was appointed in 1881 as the club’s first golf professional. Adjacent to the Firth of Clyde, Troon was granted its “Royal” accolade in 1978, during its centennial.
Past Open champions at Royal Troon include Justin Leonard, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Watson, Tom Weiskopf, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Locke, and Arthur Havers. The last six Opens at Troon have been won by Americans.
The course has 11 par 4’s, 3 par 5’s and 4 par 3’s. The toughest holes at the 2004 Open were the par 4 eleventh and the par 5 sixth which measures a daunting 601 yards.
The teeth of this course are the blind bunkers off the tee, some of which are deep pot bunkers, the prevailing wind howling in off the coast and the penal gorse. Royal Troon is home to both the longest and shortest holes in Open Championship golf. Regarded as one of the top holes in the world, the par-3 8th hole “Postage Stamp” measures a short 123 yards, but its diminutive green measures a mere 420 square feet and can be difficult to hit if the wind gets up. The main areas to look at here are GIR, driving distance/accuracy, strokes gained putting and above all else previous Open/links experience.
Usually players that have played well in previous Opens and contended in majors over the last few years are the guys to keep an eye on here. Have no doubt about it, experience will be key.
Dustin Johnson 9/1
What an incredible few weeks it’s been for DJ. He has played superb golf this season and comes to Troon this week after back to back wins at The US Open and The WGC Bridgestone. I noticed on Twitter last week Johnson played a round in Portmarnock Links and St Annes in Dublin getting in some practice for Troon and played very well apparently. The American has been in superb form recently finishing fourth in Riviera, third in Houston, T4 in Augusta, T12 at The Byron Nelson, third in Memorial, fifth at the St. Jude and back to back wins in Oakmont and Firestone.
His Open Championship CV is also quite good with a T14 in 2010 at St Andrews, second in 2011 at Royal St Georges, ninth in 2012 at Lytham and T12 at Hoylake in 2014. He led after two rounds in St Andrews last year but fell behind after a couple of 75’s over the weekend to finish T49. Johnson ranks second in driving distance, 30th in GIR, 38th in strokes gained putting, second in proximity to the hole and leads par 4 scoring. After playing with such dominance over the last few weeks, Johnson has to be the man to beat here.
Adam Scott 25/1
After back to back wins at The WGC Cadillac and The Honda Classic earlier this season not to mention his good current form, Scott could be one to watch here this week. The Aussie has been playing well lately with four top 20’s in his last five starts. He had a good week at The Wells Fargo finishing T17 and followed that with a T12 at The Players, T18 at The US Open and a T10 at The WGC Bridgestone. He has been in Troon over the last week practicing and said on Sky Sports News his game “felt really good”.
Scott has a great Open Championship record finishing second in 2012 at Lytham & St Annes, third in 2013 in Muirfield, fifth in 2014 in Hoylake and T10 last year in St Andrews. He had a great chance to win in 2012 but his tee shot found a pot bunker just off the 18th fairway and Scott was left with no other option only to chip out sideways. This led to an unfortunate bogey and he ended up losing by one stroke to Ernie Els. He ticks a lot of boxes statswise here ranking first in SGTTG, 15th in driving distance, 23rd in GIR and sixth in proximity to the hole. With such a great record in The Open over the last few years Scott has a really good chance here.
Henrik Stenson 28/1
The Swede had a good week in Scotland finishing in a respectable T13 and recovered well after opening with a 76. Stenson has five top 25’s in his last eight starts and looks to have his game in great shape coming into this week. He played well in Houston finishing solo second and followed that with a T24 in Augusta, a T4 at The Nordea Masters, a win in Germany at The BMW International Open and a T13 last week in Castle Stuart.
He has a mixed bag of results at The Open over the last few years but most notably finished third in 2010 in St Andrews and second in 2013 in Muirfield. Statswise he ranks first in driving accuracy, second in GIR and seventh in SGTTG. In 2013 Stenson finished T3 in Castle Stuart at The Scottish Open and followed that up with a second place finish in Muirfield. Let’s hope history repeats itself here and Henrik goes one better this time around.
Branden Grace 30/1
Grace started well last week in Castle Stuart shooting 71,67 in the first two rounds but fell away over the weekend shooting a disappointing 74,71 to finish T29. However he has been in great form lately and had a great win at The RBC Heritage a few weeks ago. He followed that with a T5 in Oakmont at The US Open and a T10 in Firestone at The WGC Bridgestone. He won at the windy Doha Golf Club Qatar in 2014 and again earlier this year and is no stranger to windy conditions.
He has won on links style setups before winning the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2012, a second place finish in Castle Stuart at The Scottish Open in 2013 and a respectable T25 at The Alfred Dunhill Links 2014. He has played the Open four times in the past and his best finish was T20 last year in St Andrews but he could improve on that here in Troon. The South African ticks the boxes here ranking 20th in driving distance averaging just under 300 yards off the tee, 23rd in GIR and seventh in strokes gained putting. With a decent links CV and good current form Grace could be worth keeping on side here.
Martin Kaymer 45/1
The German has been playing very well recently and looks to have his game in great shape with five top 15’s in his last six starts. His good run began in Valderrama where he finished T6 at The Open De Espana in wet and windy conditions. He followed that with a T5 in The Irish Open at another wet and windy venue The K Club in Co. Kildare negotiating the conditions superbly finishing with a final round 65. Kaymer had another good week in Wentworth finishing T7 and the BMW PGA and followed that with a T5 at The Open De France and a T13 last week in Castle Stuart.
He has a good Open Championship record finishing T12 in St Andrews last year, T12 at Royal St Georges in 2011 and T7 at St Andrews in 2010. Kaymer has a decent links record winning The Alfred Dunhill Links in 2010 and finishing T7 at the same tournament in 2013. With excellent current form and a decent links record, Kaymer could be another danger man here at a decent price.
Graeme McDowell 80/1
The Portrush man played well in Castle Stuart finishing T10 and didn’t shoot worse than a 71 to finish nine under for the week. He has been showing glimpses of decent form finishing T9 at The Players Championship which included two 69’s over the weekend. He then followed that with a T27 at The BMW PGA in Wentworth and a T18 at The US Open in Oakmont. He won The OHL Classic at Mayakoba earlier this season at the windy El Camaleon in Mexico. Gmac has a decent record at The Open over the last few years finishing T9 in Hoylake in 2014, T5 in Lytham and St Annes in 2012 and T23 in St Andrews in 2010. He is another player with decent Links credentials finishing T19 at The Alfred Dunhill Links in 2015 and T3 in 2011 and winning the US Open around the windy Pebble Beach in 2010. McDowell is an accomplished links player and looks great value here at 80/1.
Nicolas Colsaerts 125/1
The Belgian bomber looked really impressive last week in Scotland especially on the back 9 on Sunday. He had four birdies and an eagle to card an impressive 30 strokes on the way in to finish T3 for the tournament. He has been playing well lately with seven top 25’s in his last eight starts. He had a good week in China finishing T15 and then followed that with a T3 in Mauritius, T23 at The Irish Open, T22 at The BMW PGA, solo third at The Nordea Masters, T22 at The Open De France and a T3 last week in Castle Stuart.
Colsaerts was one of four players to claim a spot for the Open in Scotland and has only played in three Open Championships before. Despite missing the cut at both St Andrews last year and Muirfield in 2013, he did play well in Lytham and St Annes in 2012 finishing an impressive T7 which included two 65’s. He has played well on links setups in the past finishing T3 in 2011 and T8 in 2013 in Castle Stuart, T19 at The Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles in 2012 and T9 at The Alfred Dunhill Links in 2011. Statswise he ranks 12th in driving distance averaging 301 yards off the tee and seventh in GIR hitting 75% of greens on average. If the Belgian heats up and makes a few putts he could be a big contender at a huge price.
Final selections –
Dustin Johnson 2.5pts EW 9/1
Adam Scott 1pt EW 25/1
Henrik Stenson 1pt EW 28/1
Branden Grace 1pt EW 30/1
Martin Kaymer 1pt EW 45/1
Graeme McDowell 1pt EW 80/1
Nicholas Colsaerts 1pt EW 125/1
Total staked = 17 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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