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Nic Ladds 12th Jul 2009 - 13:40

Pick Poulter to fly flag for England

With The Open almost here it would seem appropriate William Hill had a host of markets for you to get involved of which Top English player looks very competitive with Paul Casey and Lee Westwood sharing favouritism at odds of 7/2.

For the first time in some time it looks like an English player may really have a good chance of challenging for The Open title and chalking up that first win since Nick Faldo managed the second of his Open titles in 1992 at Muirfield.

So while we can boast three of the top 10 in the betting for the outright market, who will actually prevail in the battle between the Englishmen?

There is little surprise at the fact that 7/2 chance Paul Casey is up at the top of the market as he has improved out of recognition this season and has in turn climbed the rankings from 42nd all the way up to third in the world.

He has won three tournaments this year so far including the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. However he has won his tournaments on very different courses to Turnberry and he needs to prove that he can meet the challenge of links golf as well as he does others.

He shares favouritism with Lee Westwood who undoubtedly has the talent and skill to win, his 29 victories all over the world prove this. He has a poor Open record however with his only notable finish a fourth in 2004 out of 14 attempts at this Major.

His US Open record is far superior and if we are to take his failure in a play-off at the French Open recently as a sign his head is not quite mentally there then it may be best to look elsewhere for the top Englishman.

A man who many love to hate due to his cocky nature and fiery temper is Ian Poulter but at odds of 4/1 he certainly looks like he has a great chance of putting in a big performance.

He finished second in the Open last year and has followed that up with some solid performances this year. He has been on the premises in a lot of big tournaments without actually winning which is a slight concern but he will enjoy this test and looks a better bet than the two market leaders.

The final player who is at amongst the leading group in the market is Ross Fisher who is available at 9/2 in the betting.

He finished an excellent fifth in the US Open which is a fantastic result for such a young player. He is getting better and better and he has only had two stabs at the Open before which means he has plenty of time to improve and a Major could well be his in a couple of years but right now it may be a step too far to even outgun his market rivals.

Luke Donald and Justin Rose who are at odds of 9/1 and 10/1 respectively are to an extent, two of the forgotten men. Both have not been in the greatest form recently and it seems an age since Rose burst on to the scene in the Open back in 1998 to finish fourth as a 17-year-old.

He has not been able to get back to those heights and while some may fancy the pair each way, there are some better options at bigger prices.

Nick Dougherty seems to have finally put his personal troubles behind him and is getting back on track to becoming the excellent player we all know he could be.

A great win in the BMW International a couple of weeks ago confirmed he is in rude health and while his Open record is nothing to shout about, with a clear, focused head he could well surprise some punters and give the market leaders a run for the money and looks a good each way bet at odds of 16/1.

For those who want someone at an even bigger price a chance could be taken on 40/1 chance Robert Rock who has admittedly been very poor the last few weeks.

As recently as May though he placed second in the Irish Open and actually finished a respectable 16th in last year's Open. He seems to start well then often collapse towards the end of tournaments but this kind of golf may bring out the best in him and at 40/1 there are a lot worse bets with William Hill paying out 1/4 the odds on the first three places.


Ian Poulter - 4/1

Nick Dougherty - 16/1

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