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We Pick The Irishman Most Likely To Win The Open

We Pick The Irishman Most Likely To Win The Open
By Conor O'Leary Updated
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Irish golfers have had a great record at the British Open in recent years. Padraig Harrington got the ball rolling at Carnoustie in 2007, before repeating the trick in 2008 at Birkdale. That 2007 Open also featured the young Rory McIlroy winning the silver medal for the best amateur, and he fulfilled his promise when McIlroy claimed the Open last year. Sandwiched in between was Darren Clarke remarkable and unlikely win back in 2011.

But with McIlroy out injured after a football injury - which of the Irish golfers will contend on the back nine on Sunday? Here's how the Irish challenge is shaping up ahead of golf's most famous tournament.

1. Shane Lowry 50/1

 

Call me patriotic, but Shane Lowry is the man.

An all round good golfer who thrives on links courses, if Lowry is going to win a major -it's going to be the Open. Why not now? He's in good form - a top ten place at the US Open, and a sixth place at the BMW PGA Championship the month previous highlight good results in big tournaments. A pair of 66s at the Scottish Open last weekend highlight that his game is close to firing too.

But what is most attractive about Lowry is his record at St. Andrew's. In his last two starts at the Alfred Dunhill Links which features two rounds at St. Andrew's: Lowry finished third and sixth.

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He's got the power to fire through this course, and if his putter is hot - he's now had some experience of contending on Sunday.

Recommended bet: 7/1 Top 5 Finish

2. Graeme McDowell 150/1

 

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Graeme McDowell is going through a bit of a crisis in confidence this year. He was fancied at the US Open before missing the cut, with the majority of his 2015 results highly forgettable.

However, two 66s at the Scottish Open suggest he is turning the corner. Hopefully that outing will give him confidence before a slight collapse at the weekend. Because McDowell has the game to win another major. He finished 11th at St. Andrew's in 2005, and 23rd in 2010, while also having two top ten finishes at the Open.

If he wasn't in such dire form, he would be worth an each-way bet. McDowell has turned a corner and should make the cut - but think of this as a stepping stone before he goes on to bigger things later in the season.

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No bet

3. Darren Clarke 300/1

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Clarke came from nowhere to beat the field in 2011, but it would take an even bigger Cinderella story to see the world's 456th ranked player to take his second Claret Jug on Sunday. The new slimmer version of Clarke has reclaimed a little bit of form after drifting out to 498th in the world after a dreadful 2014.

A 28th place finish at the Irish Open and a 20th at the BMW are sandwiched between a missed cut at the US Open and withdrawing from the Players Championship highlight the unreliability of Clarke's form.

Clarke has done well in his four Opens at St. Andrew's with best finish of seventh (2000) and worst of 44th (2010).

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4. Padraig Harrington 175/1

 

The two-time Open champion has seen better days, but his enthuasism always leads you to think that an upturn is on the horizon. Perhaps that's why he's rated as a 175/1 chance compared to Clarke's 300/1 despite being in worse form.

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Since winning the Honda Classic in February, Harrington has missed five cuts, with no finish better than 42nd in his other five tournaments.

The World No. 102 just hasn't shown enough in his recent play to suggest that he will make the cut. It's a truly sad sight to see.

Nothing would thrill me more than if I was wrong.

5. Paul Dunne (a) 1000/1

 

The amateur from Greystones was spectacular in qualifying for his second consecutive Open Championship. The 22-year-old will be graduating from the University of Alabama this September, which also counts Graeme McDowell as one of its alumni.

He's planning to turn pro when he graduates, and with the experience of playing at the Open last year - he will be focused on making the cut that he narrowly missed out on at Hoylake. I'm backing him to last until the weekend, which gives him a decent chance of winning the Silver Medal

Recommended bet: Make the cut 2/1
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