Colin Montgomerie has a great chance for fourth senior Major crown
Best betting tips for the Senior Open
Sky Sports Golf, midday Thursday
For the first time the Senior Open heads to the home of golf, St Andrews, and could we be hailing another European victory to follow the magnificence of Francesco Molinari’s Open triumph at nearby Carnoustie?
There are four serious contenders - defending champion Bernhard Langer, winner of ten senior Majors, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Colin Montgomerie and Paul Broadhurst - and America’s best player Steve Stricker isn’t coming which is a help.
Nobody will be trying harder than proud Scot Montgomerie who achieved his best Open finish on the Old Course when runner-up to Tiger Woods in 2005.
On turning 50, Monty quickly hoovered up three senior Majors but has found it difficult to add to that tally in the last couple of seasons. He is 55 now and this is his best chance of a fourth.
He did win in Denmark on the European seniors tour in June and there have been enough high finishes in the States, including two victories at the end of last year, to justify putting him up as an each-way poke for the one he wants most.
Bernhard Langer’s 24th place at the Open was a remarkable performance from a guy just a month shy of his 61st birthday. I had thought he was on the wane but must now revise that opinion.
He is super-fit and Carnoustie being so flat, he should not be worn out. The great German never won The Open in his prime but only Seve Ballesteros beat him at St Andrews in 1984.
Fred Couples always used to love coming to the Fife course. He was fourth there in 1984, sixth in 2000 and third in 2005 and it would be no surprise if he went well again.
However, Paul Broadhurst, Senior Open champion at Carnoustie two years ago and a Major winner in the States this year is worth an interest.
Jimenez finally won a Major this year but never did particularly well at St Andrews. Vijay Singh took his time to win on the roundbellies’ circuit but had form at St Andrews in his prime, fifth, sixth, 11th and 12th, and must be a danger after landing his first senior Major last time out.
Brandt Jobe, third to Singh at the Players, is a solid big-occasion performer. Fifth to Broadhurst at Carnoustie, he is each-way value.
David Toms, winner of the US Senior Open last month, Jerry Kelly and Scott McCarron are obvious American dangers and while it would be a fairytale if three-times champion Tom Watson could turn back the clock at 68, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
St Andrews is the only Open course in Scotland he never conquered - he won at Carnoustie, Muirfield, Troon and Turnberry.
2pts each-way 20-1 bet365, Betway, Hills
2pts each-way 11-2 bet365
1pt each-way 20-1 bet365
0.5pt each-way 28-1 Betfred
Course St Andrews Old, Fife, Scotland
Prize money $2m ($315,600 to the winner)
Length 7,216 yards Par 72 Field 144
Where to watch On Sky Sports all four days starting at midday on Thursday
When to bet By 6.30am on Thursday
Weather forecast Around 22C and dry for first three rounds. Rain and cooler on Sunday
Last year (at Royal Porthcawl) 1 B Langer, 2 C Pavin, T3 B Andrade, F Couples, P Lonard
Latest form - Senior Players Championship 1 V Singh, 2 J Maggert, 3 B Jobe, T4 J Kelly, S McCarron
Course overview It’s a public course, the most famous in the world, dating back over 600 years, a relic of the past with the 17th, the Road Hole, as tough a par four as you could find.
Lots of blind shots and gigantic double greens that slow play down. Pot bunkers abound. There are 112 traps, some with famous names like Hell, the Principal’s Nose and The Coffins.
A couple of easy par fours around the turn and two more gift par fours on the back nine, the 12th and 18th.
The 11th is a very difficult short hole with a wicked bunker at the front. Only two par fives and two par threes.
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