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Rose can rekindle Birkdale memories

Rose can rekindle Birkdale memories

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Royal Birkdale is the venue for the 146th Open Championship and history tells us that the north-west venue will pose a stiff test.

Birkdale, a par 70 course, last held the Open in 2008 and Padraig Harrington won the Claret Jug with a +3 score of 283 – the only time in the last 17 years that the winner has been over par.

Equally surprising is the fact that it’s been 25 years since an Englishman won the tournament – that was Nick Faldo at Murfield in 1992.

Justin Rose looks the best option to end that baron run, on a course that brings back fond memories for the 36-year-old. Rose (20/1 Outright market) secured a tied-4th finish as the top amateur back in 1998 and has finished in the top 25 in the last three Opens.

The Englishman, runner-up at the Masters, has also recently claimed a top-five finish at the Irish Open in Portstewart and will head to the Open high on confidence.

Another potential home contender is Tommy Fleetwood (19/10 Top 10 Finish), who is a local to the north-west coast and in brilliant form.

After finishing fourth at the US Open in June, the 26-year-old has recorded a victory at the Open de France and two other top-10 finishes.

The American challenge is likely to be headed by Rickie Fowler (16/1), who looks to be inching closer to his first Major title. Fowler has finished T-11 and T-5 in the first two Majors of 2017 and heads to Birkdale off the back of a top-10 finish at the Scottish Open.

World number one Dustin Johnson – T9 last year – currently heads the outright betting at 12/1, while fellow American Jordan Spieth is priced at 14/1.

Henrik Stenson is looking to become the first golfer since Harrington – 2007 and 2008 – to win back-to-back Opens and the Swede is 25/1 to lift the Claret Jug at Brikdale.

A Rest of the World winner can be backed at 7/2, with Adam Scott representing good value at 28/1. The Australian has four top-10 finishes and two top-30 finishes in the last seven years, and was tied 16th when Birkdale last played host.

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Warren Ashurst Warren has been a sports journalist for over 25 years, both written and broadcast. Having worked as a radio commentator, he has a wealth of experience of seeing top-level sport first hand and specialises in football, golf and cricket.