The Open Championship returns to Muirfield for the first time since 2002 when Ernie Els - as low as 16/1 with Sportingbet for the 2013 edition! - came out on top in a four man playoff, ultimately victorious over Frenchman Thomas Levet. Renowned as "the best course in Britain" by Jack Niclaus where "what you see is what you get", Muirfied has undergone some changes over the last few years
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This year's British Open Championship venue now plays 7,245 yards in length after the addition of six new championship tees. New bunkers have been added to certain landing areas, and renovations to deep green-side bunkering have made the entrances to sloping greens narrower, placing a premium very much on approach shot accuracy and distance control. Muirfield consists of two nines, running clockwise and counter-clockwise so wind direction will change on most holes. Spraying from the tee is not an option as thick heather/fescue is in play on every hole. As usual a certain type of player with a particular skill set will be the focus of attention for the British Open Championship staking plan.
Graeme McDowell 33/1 is a player that fits the winner criteria for Muirfield and headlines my Open Championship tips. Currently in contention at the Open De France where hitting fairways and greens is the brief, exactly the same will be required in two week's time. McDowell ranks 4th in driving accuracy and 2nd in scrambling on the PGA Tour in 2013 and his smart course management and A to B playing style should see him challenge. If the wind gets up as expected, there aren't too many more equipped to handle the Muirfield links.
A man flying under the radar somewhat in the build up to the Open Championship is Charl Schwartzel - absent since the US Open where he finished 14th. Prior to this Charl was 8th at the difficult Muirfield Village - a venue named after this year's Open championship track and third at the Byron Nelson, with a MC sandwiched in between. Missed birdie putts are the only thing stopping the South African from recording another victory but with pars the brief at Muirfield, 40/1 six places with Paddy is arguably the best value towards the top of the betting. Charl is one of the best ball strikers in the game (ranking 15th in 2013) and has the ability to control his flight and shape in strong winds....
Please note that Stanjames are going places 1-7 for this week's British Open championship - Follow me on twitter: @Nicspicks. Read my Unibet preview for more fancies and reasoning.
British Open Championship Tips
Tip #1: 1u ew G.McDowell @ 33/1 (general)
Tip #2: 1u ew Charl Schwartzel @ 40/1 (PP 1-6)
Tip #3: 1u ew Martin Kaymer @ 50/1 (general)
Tip #4: 1u ew Thomas Bjorn @ 66/1 (Ladbrokes, Coral) (injury worry)
Tip #5: 0.75u ew M. Manassero @ 80/1(Ladbrokes)
Tip #6: 0.75u ew Peter Hanson @ 100/1 (general) (injury worry)
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