Frazzled's second preview of the Open Championship recommends a few First Round Leader bets, with the emphasis being on players that are out early on Thursday morning in what looks set to be more favourable conditions.
Almost every Open Championship preview has heavily focused on the weather this week at St Andrews and we were no exception - See HERE for our main preview. The weather conditions and strength of the wind will be especially relevant when examining the first round bets as at the time of writing, there looks like there will be a significant advantage afforded to those with an early tee time on Thursday morning.
As of 7:00pm on Wednesday evening it looks like the wind will be relatively benign in the morning with the speed forecast to be between 5 and 10 km/h between 7:00am and 1:00pm and with gusts no stronger than 11km/h. However this increases significantly to speeds of between 15 & 20 km/h in the afternoon, with gusts of up to 30km/h. Based on this forecast which is generally very accurate, there could be at least a 2 shot advantage for the morning starters, so we are looking at players from this group that have links form and have a history of making fast starts, or a recent history of the latter.
We have already made the case for Brandt Snedeker in our main preview and advised a bet on him at 50/1 for First Round Leader with Boylesports. He is a solid 27th Round 1 Scoring this season and has finished in the places in this market in 2 of the last 4 years. For further details on his chances, please reas the main preview.
Patrick Reed seems to have been overlooked this week, possibly because of a missed cut last year and the fact that he has been relatively quiet in the past couple of months. However his last number of visits to UK soil have seen him play some outstanding golf in the Ryder Cup and then make the Quarter Finals of the Volvo World Matchplay last October.
He made a very solid start to this season, with a victory in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and then he was 7th in the Honda Classic in windy conditions in January. This really was an event he should have won, but it proved his effectiveness in the blustery Florida weather, backing up his win in the WGC Cadillac Championship last year at Trump Doral. This was another event where wind was a significant factor. Since his 7th in the Honda, Reed has produced intermittent big displays with a 2nd place in the Valspar Championship and a solid 14th in the US Open. In the latter he opened with a brilliant 66, but fell away over the weekend.
He lies second in Round 1 Scoring Average on the PGA Tour this season, 4th in Putting Average, 18th in Strokes Gained Putting and 22nd in Par 4 Scoring Average. He is playing alongside Garcia and Westwood and the likely crowd attention could inspire rather than unsettle him again. He looks pretty decent value at 50/1 with Bet365, Betfred and Boylesports, who are all paying 6 places each way.
JB Holmes is our final selection in this market and he is a player that could really take advantage of a soft course in relatively calm conditions. He is a monster driver, ranking 5th in Driving Distance this season and he is also a player that can make some very fast starts to tournaments. He ranks 6th in Round 1 Scoring this season, 3rd in Putting Average, 8th in Par Breakers and 35th in Par 4 Scoring Average. After finishing 2nd at Trump Doral this season to Dustin Johnson, he won the Shell Houston Open in April and although he has been relatively quiet since, he has still started brightly in many events before fading. He has opened with a 64 in Pebble Beach when finishing 10th, 62 at Trump Doral when runner up, 65 when winning in Houston and his most recent appearance was an opening 67 in the Greenbrier.
Holmes finished 14th here in 2010, which is his best Open Championship display by a considerable margin and being back at this venue, with its generous fairways is likely to inspire him to play aggressive golf. While he might lack a little in class to win the event, he could certainly set a target for the pack to aim at and with an 8:44am start, he is worth an interest at 80/1 with Bet365, who are paying 6 places each way.