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2018 Open Championship: Who Are the Leading Contenders?

2018 Open Championship: Who Are the Leading Contenders? Image courtesy Shutterstock
2018 Open Championship: Who Are the Leading Contenders? Image courtesy Shutterstock

The 2018 Open Championship will be staged at Carnoustie from July 19-22, with the famous Scottish links course hosting the Open for the eighth time.

Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Paul Lawrie and—most recently Padraig Harrington—are among the former winners of The Open Championship, but who will follow in the footsteps and conquer Carnoustie this year?

We take a look at some of the leading contenders of the 2018 Open Championship and assess their chances of victory at Carnoustie.

2018 Open Championship contenders

Jordan Spieth

Spieth is the defending Open champion having won 12 months ago at Royal Birkdale. Despite struggling for form since finishing third in the Masters at Augusta in April, it is never possible to discount Spieth in a major—that could well be the case at Carnoustie. The winner of three of the four majors, could he become the first back-to-back champion since Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008 when he also won at Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie?

Dustin Johnson

It is now more than two years since Johnson won his only major: the 2016 U.S. Open. However, the world number one remains in the best form of his life this year and desperate to add to his haul. He was 10th in the Masters and third in the U.S. Open this year. Johnson is definitely a contender for the 2018 Open Championship title. He has 15 top-10 finishes in major across the last decade, including three in the Open.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy has an exceptional Open record, winning in 2014 at Royal Liverpool as well as finishing inside the top five in 2010, 2016 and 2017. Another significant chapter in McIlroy’s early career was his tied 42nd in the 2007 Open at Carnoustie when he was the lowest amateur. Earlier this year, McIlroy was in the final group of the Masters in April, only to fail to fire on the final day at Augusta. Will the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie be a different story?

Tiger Woods

It’s now four years since Woods last played in the Open and, as a three-time winner and with four more top-10 finishes to his name, golf fans would love to see the American return to the top of the game. His form continues to catch the eye in his comeback season, and his Carnoustie record offers optimism, too: he placed 7th in 1999 and 12th in 2007.

 Tommy Fleetwood

Fleetwood underlined his growing reputation in world golf when he finished runner-up in last month’s U.S. Open (he finished fourth in the same event in 2017). His Open record doesn’t make such good reading, with three missed cuts and a tie for 27th last year, but his game looks as good as any right now.

Sergio Garcia

Runner-up to Harrington when the Open last visited Carnoustie in 2007, Garcia had to wait another decade before finally getting his first major win when he triumphed at the 2017 Masters. Could he land an Open title too on his return to Carnoustie? His form suggests he has a chance.

Rickie Fowler

Fowler is something of a “nearly man” in majors, having finished runner-up three times including in the 2014 Open Championship. He started this year by placing second in the Masters, too, and seems destined to eventually win a big one. Will it be the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie?

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