The Open 2018: Molinari, Rahm and the in-form contenders at Carnoustie
The locals of Carnoustie will flock in their droves to watch the likes of defending champion Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy fight it out for The Open this weekend.
For the 147th time, the Claret Jug will be awarded on Sunday and the big guns are sure to attract the masses on the course and lower odds from the bookmakers.
But, as ever, The Open promises to be one of the most wide-open events of the year and plenty of players may have flown under your radar ahead of Thursday’s tee off.
Below, we take a look at five in-form contenders that could add an Open Championship to their CV.
Francesco Molinari is arguably the most in-form player in the world right now. The Italian started a dream three-month period with a brilliant victory at the BMW PGA Championship and also triumphed at the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour. He finished second at his home Italian Open, and was runner-up at the John Deere Classic last weekend. On this form, Molinari is a definite contender and a shoe-in for the Ryder Cup.
The locals at Carnoustie will be fully behind home favourite Russell Knox. The Scot heads to Carnoustie in good nick having followed a second place in the Open de France with a victory at the Irish Open. Knox was in contention to take home the Scottish Open over the weekend as well, before a final-round five over saw him slip away.
One of the most consistent performers on the globe, world number three Justin Rose is a regular contender in majors but has just a solitary U.S. Open to his name from golf’s big four prizes. But his fine showings this season, which include seven top-10 finishes, should put him in the right frame of mind to contend at Carnoustie. A solid showing at the Scottish Open, where he finished ninth, was his fourth consecutive placing inside the top 10.
Scottish Open in the books!— Justin Rose (@JustinRose99) 15 July 2018
After 3 weeks off, a good read on my game. Great to get acquatinted with the links conditions again! Looking forward to week #2 in Scotland. #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/L5qRRhW691
Jon Rahm is undoubtedly one of the most gifted players on the planet and if he can keep a cool head to go with his natural talents then a maiden major is certainly a possibility at Carnoustie, where compatriot Sergio Garcia came so agonisingly close 11 years ago. After missing the cut at the U.S. Open last month, Rahm will be keen to make up for lost time. Five top-five finishes in his past seven tournaments suggest his game is good shape.
Tommy Fleetwood is a hugely popular player on both the PGA and European Tours. A tied 59th and a missed cut at his past two tournaments hardly scream a player in form. But a majestic final round at the U.S. Open, where he carded a 63 at the treacherous Shinnecock Hills, saw him finish second behind Brooks Koepka. That kind of performance in the pressure cooker of a major should stand him in good stead.