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The Open Championship: Australian hopes for success

Cameron Smith became only the fifth Australian to win the Open Championship when he triumphed at St Andrews 12 months ago and now he goes in search of a repeat at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake.

Smith is seeking to become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2006 and 2007 to successfully retain the Claret Jug and is confident that his game is in good shape to mount another strong challenge.

He recently told reporters: "I think as a golfer, I'm actually a better now than I was last year."

Smith is clearly the leading Australian contender heading to Hoylake, but several of his compatriots will also be hoping to be in the mix come the final round.

WhatThe Open Championship
WhereRoyal Liverpool GC, Hoylake, England
WhenThursday 20th July - Sunday 23rd July, 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsRory McIlroy 8.00, Scottie Scheffler 8.50, Jon Rahm 13.00, Cameron Smith 17.00

Smith in the mood for more

Smith announced himself at the highest level of the game last July as he shot a superb final-round 64 to claim the Open Championship by one shot from American Cameron Young.

The Aussie looked to have lost his chance when a halfway lead turned into a four-shot deficit heading into the final 18 holes, only for Smith to storm back and secure his first Major title.

Since then he has recorded a tied ninth at the US PGA Championship and a fourth-place finish at the US Open, showing that he clearly a taste for the big events - he has seven top-ten finishes to his name at Majors to go with his Open victory.

Just over a week ago Smith won LIV Golf London by one shot to show that he is in prime form, and he is 17.00 to make it back-to-back Open triumphs, while he is as low as 2.80 to end up in the top ten.

Smith is even narrower at 2.30 to be the leading Australian player.

Scott holds Royal Liverpool pedigree

Hoylake has only hosted the Open twice since 1967, with Adam Scott finishing inside the top ten in both 2006 and 2014.

In 2006, Scott earned a share of eighth place, some nine shots adrift of the winner, Tiger Woods.

Eight years later, a second-round 73 put paid to any real hopes of glory for the 2013 Masters champion, but a strong weekend of 69 and 66 meant he eventually shared fifth place with compatriot Marc Leishman.

Since then, Scott has managed a further six top-ten finishes at a Major, but the last of those came at the US Open back in 2019, so the 43-year-old will need to draw on memories of past successes to be a genuine contender.

Scott is as far out as 76.00 to win the Open Championship, while he is 7.50 to add another top-ten finish at a Major to his current tally of 19.

Lee has links success to his name

Min Woo Lee is the rising star in the Australian game and his tie for fifth place at the US Open last month showed exactly what he is capable of.

Only a third-round 74 prevented Lee from being a genuine contender for the victory at the Los Angeles CC, while he warmed up for the Open Championship with a solid if unspectacular showing at the Scottish Open.

Rounds of 68, 69, 69 and 70 only earned a share of 35th place at the Renaissance Club, but he did show a level of consistency that will be needed to impress at Hoylake.

Lee won the Scottish Open in 2021, so he does have previous success on a links course to draw upon for the stiff test of Royal Liverpool, where he is 61.00 to be crowned champion and 12.00 to secure a top-five finish.

The rest of the Aussie contenders

The biggest name of the other Australian hopefuls is 2015 PGA champion Jason Day, who like Scott will be hoping to draw upon past glories, having not made an Open cut since 2018.

He is 1.50 to make the cut this time around and 7.50 to finish inside the top ten.

Completing an Aussie contingent of ten players are Hayden Barron, Lucas Herbert, Connor McKinney, David Micheluzzi, Travis Smyth and amateur Harrison Crowe.

Of those, Herbert is perhaps the one to watch, having won the Irish Open in 2021 to prove that he can master testing conditions, even if that win was at Mount Juliet, which is not a links course.

The 27-year-old Victorian is 13.00 to finish in the top ten at Royal Liverpool and 10.00 to end up as Top Australian.

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