Home hopes and in-form stars – 5 players to watch at the Open
Collin Morikawa will defend his title when the 150th Open Championship takes place at St Andrews from July 14-17.
Here, the PA news agency looks at five players to watch in the year’s final major championship.
McIlroy has finished second, eighth and fifth in the majors this season after finally ending his bad habit of getting off to slow starts, although he has not really been in contention to win on the back nine in the final round. Injury prevented him from defending his Open title in 2015 at St Andrews, where he carded an opening 63 in 2010 and shot 80 in the second round in terrible weather before recovering to finish third.
The world number one’s brilliant run of form, which saw him win four times in the space of 57 days, including a first major title in the Masters, eventually came to an end with a surprising missed cut in the US PGA, where he double-bogeyed his final hole to miss out by two shots. However, Scheffler bounced back the following week to finish second in the Charles Schwab Challenge and was also runner-up to Matt Fitzpatrick in the US Open.
Zalatoris remains without a win on the PGA Tour but his record in the game’s biggest events is remarkable, the 25-year-old recording six top-10s in his last seven completed majors. That includes losing a play-off to Justin Thomas for the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills and finishing joint second in the US Open at Brookline. His sole Open Championship appearance to date ended after one round due to a back injury suffered hitting a shot out of heavy rough at Royal St George’s.
The 2019 Open champion missed the cut in the US Open by a shot after being on the tougher side of the draw, but has otherwise been in consistent form in 2022, posting five top-10 finishes. The most recent of those came on home soil in the Horizon Irish Open, where he birdied the last four holes in the second round to make the halfway cut with a shot to spare before carding weekend rounds of 68 and 67.
Hatton missed the cut the last time the Open was held at St Andrews in 2015, but the following year won the Dunhill Links Championship, which includes two rounds on the Old Course, and successfully defended his title 12 months later before narrowly missing out on a hat-trick of wins in 2018. He finished 13th in the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills but has missed the cut in two of his last three starts.
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