Justin Thomas

The Open special bets: Americans to be toast of Sandwich

The 149th Open will finally get under way on Thursday after it was postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal St George’s hosts The Open for the first time since 2011, when Darren Clarke claimed his only major title with a three-shot victory in Sandwich.

It is a traditional par-70 links course and Shane Lowry starts the week as the defending champion after his victory at Portrush in 2019.

We have already picked out our betting tips from the outright market but now we are focusing on some of the best The Open special bets.

Players to have an ace time in Kent

Major championship golf returns to Sandwich and the last time the venue hosted The Open, there were two hole-in-ones at the tournament.

Dustin Johnson, the world number one heading in this week, took the honours with the first ace of the tournament at the par-three 16th on the opening day and it is 4/1 for a hole-in-one in the first round.

With 156 players playing the opening two rounds at Royal St George’s, there is more chance of an ace and there was also another hole-in-one on the second day in the 2011 event.

Five-time Open champion Tom Watson was the recipient as he holed out his first shot at the sixth to become the oldest player to make the cut at the age of 61.

It is also 4/1 for an ace to happen once again in the second, while it is 15/2 to occur in the third or fourth round in Kent.

America to come out on top?

This year’s Open Championship will be the 15th edition to be held at the Sandwich venue and there have only been three Americans to lift the Claret Jug here.

Walter Hagen won successive events in Kent in 1922 and 1928, Bill Rogers lifted his only major title in 1981 as did Ben Curtis in 2003.

However, 13 of the world’s top 20 players are from the United States, with Spaniard Jon Rahm (second) and England’s Tyrrell Hatton (10th) the only non-Americans in the top 10.

An American winner is priced at 4/5, while an Englishman to win the tournament for the first time since Nick Faldo in 1992 can be backed at 13/2 and a South African at 16/1.

Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick – who lost in a three-man play-off at last week’s Scottish Open – Paul Casey, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose represent good chances for England, while 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and rising star Garrick Higgo are hopes for South Africa.

Consistency the key in Sandwich

Six of the last 10 winners have seen the champion play in the final group of the tournament, which can be backed at 2/5 but that is not necessarily an omen at Royal St George’s.

Clarke did play in the final pairing in 2011 but the three previous Open champions at this venue – Curtis in 2003, Greg Norman in 1993 and Sandy Lyle in 1985 – did not. It is 7/4 for the winner not to be in the final group for the last round.

Tournament favourite Rahm, who finished seventh in the warm-up event in Scotland last week, is priced at 4/1 to make the final group as he aims to collect his second successive major following on from his US Open triumph last month which gave us a 9/1 winner.

There have only been seven wire-to-wire winners in the history of the Open Championship, last achieved by Jordan Spieth in 2017, and it is 12/1 to happen at The Open 2021.

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