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Open Championship: The 16/1 shot leading the charge of the best-backed players for the Claret Jug

by Sean Goff | July 15, 2015

Expect high winds and some crazy fashion statements as the Open Championship tees off at St Andrews at first light on Thursday morning.

With the golfing world ready to hail the new king Jordan, the two-time Major winner could become the 13th Yank in the last 21 years to haul the Claret Jug Stateside as a place in history beckons.

Open Championship 7 places

But the Texan won’t take it home without a fight as some of the world’s best golfers – and John Daly – tee it up in Scotland.

Has Spieth got the smarts? Will Dustin Johnson bottle it? Who’s ex-wife is that with Tiger Woods are just some of the questions we’ll have the answers to on Sunday night.

But for now here are the seven best-backed golfers in Paddy’s book as of noon on Wednesday.

1. Rickie Fowler 16/1

Rickie-Fowler-Links-840

Fowler’s been busy proving he’s not just a clothes horse and ‘ the most overrated player on Tour’ by winning the Players Championship in States and getting his eye in for this week’s test by winning the Scottish Open.

‘Little Rickie’ as Matt Kuchar called him after a late surge won him last weeks’s Scottish Open follows the same path as Phil Mickelson in 2013 and tries to go back-to-back in Scotland.

The best-backed player in the book, a Fowler win on Sunday would leave Paddy as broke as 50 Cent.

2. Matt Kuchar 50/1

Matt Kuchar 840

Hidden in full view for most of the season – the ‘Kooch’ has suddenly found his ‘A’ game.

Got the networks all jiggy in the US Open after being up with the early pace his troubles with the flat- stick resurfaced and he eventually finished T12.

Proved that he still has the game though by leading in the clubhouse at Gullane before R Fowler kneed him in the nuts to win by one shot.

Was 27th behind Louis Oosthuizen here in 2010 and could be peaking at the right time to improve on his 9-15-54-placed finished in the last three Open Championships.

3. Justin Rose 20/1

Justin-Rose-US-Open-840

Rose became the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin (1970) to win the US Open when he triumphed Stateside in 2013 and will become the first Englishman since Nick Faldo (1992) to win the ‘home’ Open if he triumphs on Sunday.

But his record at the Open Championship since finishing fourth as an amateur in 1998 is worse than QPR’s away form and only managed 74th in Scotland after opening with two 66’s.

A winner already this year when winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans before just losing out in a play-off in the Memorial tournament – he needs to rediscover that form if he’s going to contend.

4. Jordan Spieth 13/2

Jordan-Spieth

The king is at home with his injured foot up so the hottest player in the world right now gets a clear run at his third Major on the bounce.

But Spieth has seen less of St Andrews than Sunderland fans have of Danny Graham and opted to stay in the States for the John Deere Classic (which he won) rather than spend four days hacking it out of the rough in Scotland to placate the traditionalists.

He’s generally hotter than Mila Kunis with the flat-stick and may need to be again to compensate for a lack of length off the tee and his inexperience at the home of golf.

5. Shane Lowry 33/1

Shane-Lowry

He may be a few pounds over the general baggage allowance for professional athletes but it hasn’t done Lowry’s game any harm as he’s on the verge of securing his full US Tour card.

Blotted his copybook a little by sliding down the leaderboard at Gullane when up with the leaders before finishing T31 – but a Top 10 berth at the US Open (and last year’s ninth-placed finish at Hoylake) proves he’s not far off the Major contenders.

Won the Irish Open as an amateur in a monsoon so the conditions shouldn’t bother him even if the hunger pangs do.

6. Phil Mickelson 40/1

Phil Mickelson 840

Finally got his head in front at an Open Championship two years ago when coming with a late rattle to win at Muirfield.

But the 45-year-old’s form has been patchy this season mixing virtual no shows with a T2 at the Masters and more recently two top-five finishes at Wells Fargo and the FedEx St Jude tournaments.

Was down the field in the Scottish Open despite three rounds in the 60’s but even with his gambler’s instinct needs to improve on his previous St Andrews finishes (40-11-60-48) to lift a second Open title.

7. Louis Oosthuizen 22/1

Louis-Oosthuizen-840-x-400

The South African’s form has hit the skids since almost knocking Jordan Spieth off his f****** perch when rallying to finish tied second at Chambers Bay – but Oosthuizen is a big-game hunter.

An easy winner of the Open Championship at St Andrews in 2010, he was was just edged out by a Bubba Watson wonder-shot at Augusta two years later.

Has two top 30 finishes in the last two years in this tournament and if he gets off to a good start he’ll knows how to stay there all the way through to Sunday.

Will the going gets rough at St Andrews? All the latest Open Championship odds on desktop | mobile

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