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Golf: Australian hopes at the British Open

The 150th British Open gets underway at St Andrews on Thursday and a number of Australians will be targeting an historic victory at the home of golf.

Arguably the biggest Major out of the four, the world’s greatest players will be out to write their name into the history books with victory on the famous old course in Fife, Scotland.

A total off 11 Aussies will take to the course for the opening round on Thursday. Among them will be Cameron Smith who is Australia’s biggest hope of lifting the famous claret jug for the first time since 1993.

That was at Royal St Georges when Greg Norman would win his second British Open title. The first time the ‘Great White Shark’ won the Open was at Turnberry in 1986.

Peter Thomson won the British Open on a staggering five occasions between 1954 and 1965. One of those victories was at St Andrews in 1955. Kel Nagle also won at St Andrews in 1960.

Australia’s other taste of success in the Open came in 1991 when Ian Baker Finch won the title at Royal Birkdale.

Can another Australian do the business this week? Let’s take a look at the contenders.

What: The British Open Golf Championship
Where: St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
When: Thursday 14th July to Sunday 17th July 2022
How to watch: Foxtel
Odds: Cameron Smith 25/1, Adam Scott 100/1, Marc Leishman 90/1, Lucas Herbert 110/1, Min Woo Lee 200/1

Cameron Smith

Smith is without doubt Australia’s biggest hope and has already shown he can perform on the big stage this year.

He already has two big wins this season, including his victory in the ‘fifth Major’ the Players’ Championship. He also finished tied for third in the Masters at Augusta.

Smith loves the big occasion and if he can get himself in the mix early on he could be pushing for glory come the final day.

The main concern is that Smith’s best performances came at the start of the year and his form has dipped a little since then. His short game has started to let him down and his driving accuracy has not been great.

He will need to rediscover both to be in with a shout of winning this week.

Adam Scott

Scott knows what it is like to taste success in a Major having won the Masters at Augusta in 2013.

That success came just a year after he came so close to winning the British Open at Royal Lytham.
He was leading the Championship by four shots with just four holes to play but let the lead slip as clubhouse leader Ernie Els took the crown.

At 41 Scott could have another Major in him. He has three top 10 finishes to his name this year and is putting well.

Marc Leishman

Leishman relishes playing links golf and came close to winning the British Open when it was last played at St Andrews in 2015.

He finished tied for the lead on 15-under along with Zach Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen and went into a three-way play-off. It was Johnson that eventually came out on top but Leishman showed he can play great at St Andrews and will be pushing to be in the mix again.

Grew up playing his golf in one of the windiest places in Australia, Warrnambool, Victoria so he will be able to cope with the conditions if it blows this week.

Lucas Herbert

The 26-year-old has already won on two occasions on the European Tour when taking out the Dubai Desert Classic in 2020 and also the Irish Open in 2021.

The latter qualified him for the British Open and shows that he is more than capable of playing links golf. St Andrews will suit him down to the ground.

Plays on confidence and if he can get the week off to a good start there is no reason why he could not play his way into contention.
Min Woo Lee

Another who likes links golf having won the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club last year and if his game comes together he could be in the mix this week.

Finished tied for 14th on his first appearance at the Masters this year so has what it takes to play on the biggest stage. He will prefer the course at St Andrews.

His sister Minjee Lee won her first Major, the US Women’s Open this year, and it would be some double Min Woo could follow suit.

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