Ones to watch at The Open Championship 2016

Sport360 staff 00:26 14/07/2016
Sport360 looks at the key contenders as well as dark horses.

Here’s our rundown of the key names who we think have a strong case for winning this year’s Open.

Do you agree with our choices? Have your say and let us know, use #360fans on social media.

Jason Day (AUS)

World ranking: 1; Age: 28

Last five Opens: T4-T58-T32-T30-T60

Recent form (last five starts): T3-T8-T27-W-T5

Best result in 2016: Winner (Players Championship, WGC-Dell Match Play, Arnold Palmer Invitational)

Top-10s in 2016: Eight; Starts in 2016: 13

The Australian did not have the best of records in the Open before finishing just one shot outside the play-offs last year. St Andrews really was the starting point of his remarkable run and he will be eager to show the world he can win on links courses too.

Dustin Johnson (USA)

World ranking: 2; Age: 32

Last five Opens: T49-T12-T32-T9-T2

Recent form (last five starts): W-W-T5-T3-T12

Best result in 2016: Winner (US Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational), third (The Memorial, Shell Houston Open)

Top-10s in 2016: Nine; Starts in 2016: 14

The American is enjoying the form of his life. His long-hitting takes most hazards on the golf course out of play, and he also possesses remarkable touch on and around the green. There really is no reason why he can’t make it three wins in three starts. World No1 will be the bonus if he does.

Jordan Spieth (USA)

World ranking: 3: Age: 22

Last five Opens: T4-T36-T44-DNP-DNP

Recent form (last five starts): T3-T37-T57-Best result in 2016: Winner (Hyundai Tournament Dean & Deluca Invitational)

Top-10s in 2016: Seven; Starts in 2016: Given his phenomenal short game skills, on any golf course. He is also leading the making 4.56 of them per round.

Rory McIlroy

World ranking: 4; Age: 27

Last five Opens: DNP-W-MC-T60-T3

Recent form (last five starts): 3-MC-T4-W-T12

Best result in 2016: Winner (Dubai Duty Free Irish Open), Third (Open de France, WGC-Cadillac, AD HSBC Championship)

Top-10s in 2016: Nine; Starts in 2016: 14

The Northern Irishman was gutted last year when he was unable to defend his title at St Andrews because of the freak ankle injury. He spoke of getting into some bad habits with his swing during the Open de France, but finished third there and 10 days of practice would have helped further.

Sergio Garcia (ESP)

World ranking: 12; Age: 36

Last five Opens: T6-T2-T21-MC-T9

Recent form (last five starts): T5-T5-W-T54-3

Best result in 2016: Winner (AT&T Byron Nelson Classic), Runnerup (The Honda Classic), Third (Open de Espana)

Top-10s in 2016: Six; Starts in 2016: 12

After Johnson won at Oakmont, it would somehow be fitting if Garcia could also shed the unwanted ‘best player not to have won a major’ tag at Troon. Nine of his 20 top-10 major finishes have come in the Open, including second in 2014. Garcia is enjoying some very good form right now.

Dark Horses

Ernie Els (RSA)

World ranking: 242; Age: 46

Best Open finish: Winner (2002, 2012)

Recent form (last five starts): 5-MC-MC-MC-MC

Top-10s in 2016: One; Starts in 2016: 20

The South African may have had four missed cuts before the Quicken Loans National, but at Congressional, he was the best putter in the field. A force on links courses, his game is turning around.

Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL)

World ranking: 124; Age: 33

Best Open finish: T7 (2012)

Recent form (last five starts): T3-T22-MC-3-T22

Top-10s in 2016: Four; Starts in 2016: 17

There are distinct signs that the Belgian Bomber is slowly getting back to the form that earned him a Ryder Cup debut in 2012. Brilliant finish at Scottish Open means the momentum is with him.

Cherry on the cake #theopen

A photo posted by Nico Colsaerts (@nicolascolsaerts) on

Lee Westwood (ENG)

World ranking: 39; Age: 43

Best Open finish: Second (2010)

Recent form (last five starts): T11-T32-T8-Top-10s in 2016: Three; Starts in 2016: In contention both at the Masters and the this year, the Englishman is showing he force. At peace with his personal life now, game is slowly getting back at its best.

Patrick Reed (USA)

World ranking: 13; Age: 25

Best Open finish: T20 (2015)

Recent form (last five starts): T10-52-T39-MC-T8

Top-10s in 2016: Eight; Starts in 2016: 19

Throw the American a challenge and he is always eager to grab it. Played superbly over the weekend at the Scottish Open and then spoke of his delight on qualifying for Olympics. He is enjoying his golf.

Francesco Molinari (ITA)

World ranking: 56; Age: 33

Best Open finish: T9 (2013)

Recent form (last five starts): 2-T8-T34-MC-T55

Top-10s in 2016: Four; Starts in 2016: 16

The younger Molinari enjoyed two fantastic weeks at Congressional and then at Open de France. He enjoys a huge advantage over others with his deadly accuracy off the tee, which will help at Troon.

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