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Golf: Aussie contenders at The Open

The fourth and final mens Major of the golfing season is looming large as the world's best get set to descend on Scotland for The Open.

This year the event is being held at Royal Troon GC in Troon on the South Ayrshire coast.

It's the 152nd Open Championship and hopes are high some promising contenders can go well in their attempts to join Peter Thomson (5), Kel Nagle, Bob Charles, Greg Norman (2) and Cam Smith as Australian winners of the greatest Championship in golf.

At the 150th Open in St Andrews in 2022, Smith ended a 29-year wait for an Aussie to hoist the Claret Jug and in doing so became the fifth Australian winner, with a combined tally of 10 wins.

Smith bids for second success

Two years ago Cameron Smith charged through the pack with a stunning final round of 64 to win by one shot from Cameron Young of the USA.

Of course, it was a day when Rory McIlroy was in the final pairing with Viktor Hovland and, seemingly, almost anyone with a voice at the Home of Golf was urging on the Northern Irishman.

Smith, of course, plays his golf on the LIV circuit these days and has been preforming well, finishing in second place at the events in both Hong Kong and Singapore, though he's without a win since August last year at LIV Golf Bedminster.

He was tied-sixth in the Masters at Augusta in April but has only managed T63 and T32 at the US PGA and US Open since.

Smith's game is well suited to links golf but his win at St Andrews remains his only top-20 finish in six Open starts.

He's priced at 31.00 to win a second Claret Jug in Scotland and 5.25 for a Top 10 finish.

Scott the great survivor

Adam Scott's place in the US Open field last month was only secured after a late exemption via the alternates list.

Still, the 43-year-old Adelaide native went to Pinehurst and made his 92nd successive major championship appearance.

Scott has won on five professional tours and his 14 PGA Tour victories include the 2013 Masters, and the 2004 PLAYERS Championship.

Of course, he famously bogeyed the final four holes at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012, losing out by one shot as Ernie Els won the Claret Jug.

Scott's run of 92 straight major is the second-longest streak in men's professional golf history. Jack Nicklaus played in 146 consecutive majors from 1962 to 1998.

That 2012 silver medal was the start of four consecutive top 10 finishes for Scott, but he's 0-7 in that regard since. He is priced at 12.00 for a Top 10 finish at Troon, while he's 91.00 to finally lift the Claret Jug.

Major improvement needed for Day

Queenslander Jason Day became a Major winner at Whistling Straits in 2015, holding off Jordan Spieth by three shots in a composed display.

That came amid a flurry of excellent efforts in golfs biggest events, including runner-up finishes at the Masters (2011) and the US Open (2011 & 2013).

Day, now 36, has not been as prolific a contender recently, with just two top-10s since 2020 alongside six missed cuts in that same timeframe.

His most recent main tour win was the AT&T Byron Nelson in May 2023, but he does head towards The Open with memories of finishing tied-second 12 months ago at Royal Liverpool. Day is 71.00 to win the Claret Jug at Troon.

Lee and Davis on the radar for many

Min Woo Lee is a name that has been checked by many as a future Major champion.

The 25-year-old Perth native, ranked 31st in the world, has already tasted success in Scotland with 2021 Scottish Open win at Renaissance Club in North Berwick beating the likes of Thomas Detry and Matt Fitzpatrick in a playoff and he will be hoping to shine once more back on Scottish soil.

He tasted home success when winning the Australian PGA Championship in November 2023 and is set to make his Olympic debut at Paris 2024, where his elder sister Minjee Lee will compete at a third Summer Games.

His best Major run so far was a tied-fifth at the US Open in 2023.

On the PGA Tour this season he has enjoyed seven top 25 finishes including runner-up postings at the Cognizant Classic and the Rocket Mortgage Classic – that latest effort coming right at the end of June.

He was foiled there by one stroke as fellow Aussie Cam Davis prevailed. The pair remain in their 20s and surely have their best Major chances out in front of them.

Lee, in particular, is a high-class talent and has grown in popularity over the last twelve months with his social media presence and charisma on the golf course.

Nicknamed The Chef, Lee has made it clear that he is 'ready to cook' in 2024 and is priced at 56.00 to win The Open, while compatriot and dual Rocket Mortgage Classic winner Davis is priced at 151.00 for Troon.

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