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GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
THE TOP TEN CONTENDERS FOR THE BRITISH OPEN
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By DOUG FERGUSON
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  
  

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Saturday, July 14, 2018 – Page S12

A capsule look at 10 top contenders for the British Open, to be played July 1922 at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland (listed in order of predicted finish): JUSTIN ROSE Age: 37 Country: England World ranking: 3 Worldwide victories: 20 Majors: U.S. Open (2013) 2018 Majors: Masters-T12, U.S.

Open-T10 British Open memory: Holing out a wedge for par on the 18th hole at Royal Birkdale in 1998 when he tied for fourth as an 18year-old amateur.

Backspin: Twenty years after he made his memorable Open debut, Rose will have a chance to reach No. 1 in the world. He has not missed a cut since the PGA Championship, and he has six top 10s in his 11 starts this year. Driving and iron play are his strengths, and they are critical at Carnoustie.

JUSTIN THOMAS Age: 25 Country: United States World ranking: 2 Worldwide victories: 9 Majors: PGA Championship (2017) 2018 Majors: Masters-T17, U.S.

Open-T25 British Open memory: Making a 9 on the sixth hole at Royal Birkdale last year, and being seen on television counting the shots on his fingers.

Backspin: He already has backed up last year with two victories this season and reached No. 1 in the world. Thomas is mentioned frequently as a player who shows impressive control of his shots in the wind when he plays in south Florida.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD Age: 27 Country: England World ranking: 10 Worldwide victories: 5 Majors: None 2018 Majors: Masters-T17, U.S.

Open-2 British Open memory: Bouncing back from an opening 76 before a home crowd at Royal Birkdale to make the cut on the number.

Backspin: Closed out the U.S.

Open with a record-tying 63 despite missing birdie putts of 12 feet and eight feet over the last three holes. He shows up big in the biggest tournaments against the strongest fields. The last British winner of the Open was at Carnoustie (Paul Lawrie) in 1999.

Fleetwood set the course record at Carnoustie last year in the Dunhill Links Championship with a 63.

BROOKS KOEPKA Age: 28 Country: United States World ranking: 4 Worldwide victories: 6 Majors: U.S. Open (2017, 2018) 2018 Majors: Masters-DNP, U.S.

Open-1 British Open memory: Telling the R&A he was not going to keep playing at St. Andrews because his golf ball wouldn't stay still on the putting surface in 2015.

Backspin: Missed four months with a wrist injury, and didn't miss a step in his return. He became the first player in 29 years to win back-to-back U.S. Opens.

Koepka seems to play his best golf in the majors because they get his attention.

TIGER WOODS Age: 42 Country: Unites States World ranking: 69 Worldwide victories: 90 Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), U.S. Open (2000, 2002 2008), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007) 2018 Majors: Masters-T32, U.S.

Open-Cut British Open highlights: Winning at St Andrews in 2000 to complete the career Grand Slam at the age of 24, and then winning at St Andrews in 2005 for a different Grand Slam - he won all four majors that Jack Nicklaus played for the final time.

Backspin: Woods has had moments where he looked capable of winning this year, such as the Valspar Championship, where he was runner-up. But he struggled in the two majors. He was never closer than seven shots at the Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open. He will probably need a top 10 at Carnoustie to become eligible for the final World Golf Championship event at Firestone, where he is an eight-time winner.

DUSTIN JOHNSON Age: 34 Country: United States World ranking: 1 Worldwide victories: 18 Majors: U.S. Open (2016) 2018 Majors: Masters-T10, U.S.

Open-3 British Open memory: Hitting a 2-iron out-of-bounds on the 14th hole at Royal St. George's when he was making a Sunday charge in 2011.

Backspin: He has two victories and two runner-up finishes this year, and he thought he had another U.S. Open title until his putter went cold on the weekend at Shinnecock Hills. He is tough to beat as long as he doesn't get frustrated if the putts don't go in early.

RORY M C CILROY Age: 29 Country: Northern Ireland World ranking: 8 Worldwide victories: 22 Majors: U.S. Open (2011), British Open (2014), PGA Championship (2012, 2014) 2018 Majors: Masters-T5, U.S.

Open-MC British Open memory: Winning at Royal Liverpool in 2014.

Backspin: A year that began with promise when he won at Bay Hill has the trappings of frustration.

He failed to convert from playing in the final group at the Masters with a shot at the career Grand Slam. Since then, he has contended just one time, losing the weekend lead at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

JORDAN SPIETH Age: 24 Country: United States World ranking: 6 Worldwide victories: 14 Majors: Masters (2015), U.S. Open (2015), British Open (2017) 2018 Majors: Masters-3, U.S.

Open-Cut British Open memory: His birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie stretch at Royal Birkdale to win last year for the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

Backspin: Spieth seems to fall off in the even-numbered years, and this is no exception. Not only has he failed to win, his only serious chance was at the Masters when he started the final round nine shots behind and shot 64 with a bogey on the last hole. He is coming off a three-week break, the longest of his year.

PATRICK REED Age: 27 Country: United States World ranking: 13 Worldwide victories: 6 Majors: Masters (2018) 2018 Majors: Masters-1, U.S.

Open-4 British Open memory: Opening with a 78 in his British Open debut at Royal Liverpool.

Backspin: No one talked about a Grand Slam until the Masters champion had a share of the lead in the final round of the U.S.

Open. The Masters remains his only victory this year. Reed has been leading the Race to Dubai in Europe since his Masters victory.

SERGIO GARCIA Age: 38 Country: Spain World ranking: 19 Worldwide victories: 28 Majors: Masters (2017) 2018 Majors: Masters-Cut, U.S.

Open-Cut British Open memory: Watching a 10-foot putt to win lip out at Carnoustie in 2007 and then losing a playoff to Padraig Harrington.

Backspin: Garcia hasn't made the cut in a major since the British Open last year. He has shown progress in Germany and France in recent weeks. Carnoustie holds two bad memories: crying in his mother's arms after an 89 in 1999, and the playoff loss to Harrington in which he said he was playing against more than the field.


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