While Muirfield's tight fairways and thick rough will punish the more errant drivers, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this week's British Open will be reasonably high scoring. The East Lothian course has hosted the Open Championship eight times since the Second World War and all seven winners have been world-class performers. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo (twice) and, most recently, Ernie Els in 2002, have all hoisted the Claret Jug at Muirfield. The average winning total for those eight Opens has been 6 Under and with fine weather conditions expected, there is a good chance that the lowest score on Sunday will be in double figures.
So what are we looking for when picking a potential winner? Our best guess is a straight of the tee, classy performer who ideally has a good record on links courses. While he isn't a major winner, there is enough evidence to suggest Henrik Stenson could challenge this week. The Swede has had a solid year on the PGA Tour with 9 made cuts and 3 top 10s from only eleven events. The 37-year old is also eighth in driving accuracy so should be able to avoid the worst of the rough that Muirfield has to offer. He in very good form after finishing tied third in the Scottish Open last week and has achieved that same position in two out of the last four Opens he has played in, so his pedigree is not in doubt. 50/1 isn't an amazing price but we're reasonably confident Stenson will be in the shakeup on Sunday so he is worth a punt.
Brandt Snedeker may not look particularly slick but his golfing ability is certainly not in doubt. The Nashville native's blistering start to 2013 was curtailed by a rib injury but he has still been very competitive in both majors, finishing 6th at Augusta and 17th at Merion. His recent form is solid with top 20s in his last two outings and his third at Lytham last year shows links courses aren't a problem for the FedEx Cup champion. Snedeker is also straight off the tee and feels like one of those players who is going to win a major pretty soon, so hopefully it will be this week.
So in summary, we're backing Henrik Stenson at 50/1 and Brandt Snedeker at 40/1 to win the British Open Outright with Ladbrokes.
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