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Tuesday, 12 July 2016 13:09

5 Americans to watch at the British Open

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Although many experts claim that American players don’t play enough in European conditions, the British Open has proven to be a surprisingly successful hunting ground for US based players, with 13 of the last 20 Open’s being won by an American.

Royal Troon, where the 145th edition of The Open will be held this week, has been a particularly profitable, with all of the last six winners being from the USA, dating back to the great Arnold Palmer in 1962. Zach Johnson continued the American supremacy at St. Andrews last year, so let’s take a look at five other Americans who have a great chance of winning the most prestigious major of them all.

There is no question that the hottest player on tour at the moment is Dustin Johnson. DJ won his maiden major last month at the US Open and followed that up with another win at the WGC Bridgestone the following week. Dustin’s biggest strength is his driving. He’s incredibly long off the tee and has become consistently accurate over the last few months. His key to winning at Oakmont was hitting fairways and greens, this will be just as important at Troon if he wants to continue his winning streak.

Jordan Spieth’s uncharacteristically wayward driving has really let him down so far this season. He played some good golf at the US Open, but only managing to hit half the fairways over his four rounds really ruined his chances. There is no doubting his game is suited to links golf and he was well fancied to take this title last season. If he can stay straight off the tee and hit greens in regulation, then his phenomenal putting could carry him to victory on Sunday.

Jim Furyk has looked sharp since returning from a wrist injury that kept him off the tour until May. He put in a brilliant round of 66 to finish tied second with Piercy at the US Open and hit another low final round at the Quicken Loans on his next start. His methodical game suits links golf and he’s finished in the top five three times in that last ten years. He could be a big danger.

As could Patrick Reed, who recovered from an opening round 75 at the Scottish Open last week, to finish tied for tenth on -9. The 25 year old Texan will be used to playing in windy conditions and has plenty of experience playing in European events. He’s been incredibly consistent so far this season, recording nine top-ten finishes from the 20 events he has played in so far. He hasn’t performed well in the majors so far, but he always relishes the big tournament atmosphere. Reid finished in the top 20 at St. Andrews last year, who’s to say he won’t significantly improve on that this week.

Las Vegas native Scott Piercy was in contention at the Masters after two rounds, but a third round 79 saw him drop down to a top 30 finish. His good form in the big tournaments has continued recently, recording two seconds behind Dustin Johnson on his last two outings. Scott is a very solid golfer and sits highly on the stats for both driving distance and greens in regulation. If he can sharpen up his short game, then I’m sure a big tournament break-through is just around the corner.  


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