Ahead of the start of The Open Championship on Thursday, we look at six star players set to shine.
Who do you think will win?
Without a doubt, one of the most talented player in the sport. Results may have not gone his way over the past 12 months but the 24-year-old is still a three-time major winner. If he can improve his putting – his biggest strength in previous years – then expect him to challenge strongly by the final round on Sunday. The Texan is currently ranked 175th of 201 players in strokes gained this season, a depressing statistic for an area of his game that used to be a cut above any of the field. Needs to prove again that he can hit the right shot when it matters after missing the cut at Shinnecock Hills.
Last five results at the Open: MC-T23-T6-T22-T54
Last five results in 2018: T23-1-T6-T10-T9
The rock-solid Englishman had one of his most successful seasons in 2017 with 10 consecutive top-10 finishes and three tournament victories. Has started this year brightly with a dominant victory at the Fort Invitational last month and looks every bit as threatening from the tee and further up the green. The 37-year-old is consistent, resilient and should be within a shout of a second major on Sunday if he continues his recent sparkling form.
Last five results at the Open: MC-1-DNP-T5-T4
Last five results in 2018: 2-T8-MC-T12-T28
It’s hard to believe it’s been over four years since his last major win. And after a rib injury ruled him out of action last season, the Northern Irishman is slowly looking back to his best in 2018 with a win, two runners-up and one third-place finish in 16 events since January. A loss of confidence looks to have lowered his stock among the game’s elite, but the former world No1 will be bidding to show that he still has the tricks in his armoury after missing the cut at the US Open.
Last five results at the Open: DNP-MC-MC-MC-T27
Last five results in 2018: T20-T23-2-T59-MC
After the pressure of having The Open on his doorstep in Southport last year, Fleetwood may shine even brighter on the east coast of Scotland this weekend. With a second place finish at the US Open last month, the 27-year-old has proven he has the short game and game management to deal with whatever situation is thrown his way. The world No10 will have to cope with high expectations again as he holds the course record at Carnoustie.
Last five results at the Open: DNP-DNP-DNP-T59-T44
Last five results in 2018: T63-T5-MC-T5-T4
The 23-year-old has been superb since joining the professional ranks in 2016, winning twice on the PGA Tour and three times on the European Tour. The Spanish sensation looks in strong form heading into The Open this week, recording three top-fives in his last four events, including a superb final round at the Irish Open two weeks ago to finish in a tie for fourth alongside Erik van Rooyen. Has buckets of talent and could easily finish the year as the world’s top ranked player.
Last five results at the Open: MC-MC-MC-T5-MC
Last five results in 2018: MC-MC-T6-T16-T9
The Englishman suffered four missed cuts in five events earlier this season, but went on to finish a remarkable sixth at the US Open and fourth in the French Open. Showed composure and nerve to successfully defend his Dunhill Links Championship title last October before lifting the Italian Open one week later. At 26, the High Wycombe native is showing signs of his class and comfortably leads the Ryder Cup qualification rankings ahead of Rose and Fleetwood.
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