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Golf Australia Express : Issue2
They’re ranked No.’s 1, 2and4intheworld respectively, so it goes to reason that Luke Donald , Lee Westwood and reigning US Open champion Rory McIlroy go to Sandwich with a lot of expectation to do well—nah, scrap that—to win. While Northern Irishman McIlroy remains the shortest-priced favourite to win the on Sunday, don’t discount the experience of the two Englishmen, who’ve both settled comfortably into the toing-and-froing of golf’s top spot this year. All these guys—or so it seems—were born on a links golf course and are likely to be thereabouts at the end. Throw another major winner, Rory’s mate and countryman Graeme McDowell, into the mix and it’s starting to look like a local-dominated love-in. Truth be told, these guys are in red hot form, on a home track in conditions that suit their games. There’s every chance the claret jug’s coming home. It’s hard to look past one of these four, but you never know, the British Open has a habit of throwing an unknown right into the golfing limelight. Just ask Louis... The list of players with a chance to win here is long and storied—much like the event itself. It’s an endearing part of the British Open: almost anyone can get up and win. Australia’s Jason Day is not without a chance. We know the 23-year-old finishes tournaments—especially majors—like a steam train, so the challenge for Day will be getting off to a solid start. It’ll be interesting to see whether his decision to stay in the US last week to play the John Deere Classic rather than get some practice on a links course at the Scottish Open was a smart one. His two 2nd place finishes at majors this year leaves him fairly popular with punters. Phil Mickelson, now ranked No.6 in the world, must surely fancy his chances. While the freewheeling American has a poor British Open record— just one top 10 finish in 17 starts—he looks more comfortable in his game than ever, and his preparation at the Scottish Open last week showed some positive signs for fans of Phil. THE PLAYERS He’s been so close so many times. In fact he’s finished inside the top 10 at the British Open on six occasions, including losing a heartbreaking playoff with Padraig Harrington in 2007 to finish runner-up. For too long, Sergio Garcia has been tormented by the “Best Player Never to Win a Major” tag—surely it’s his turn for glory. And having lost his mate and mentor, Seve Ballesteros—a 3-time British Open winner—back in May, we reckon the golf gods will sprinkle a little Seve magic Sergio’s way at St George’s. Wouldn’t that be fitting of a British Open finish? OTG PEEK THE A BRITISH OPEN PREVIEW WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND Reigning champion, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen knows first- hand how to win a British Open. His remarkable 7-shot win at St Andrews last year took the golf world unaware. Playing flawless golf in extremely tricky conditions, Shrek (as he’s known on Tour) showed steely resolve to run away from his much-fancied pursuers in Paul Casey and Lee Westwood. While his form of late has been anything but flash, this underdog knows how to rise above the pack when it matters. We know Shrek had a sequel. Could St George’s be the site of Louis’ second act? THE LOCALS THE HOPEFULS THE ROMANTIC PICK THE DEFENDER