The final Major of the year is upon us. The Open Championship gets underway on Thursday morning at Royal Portrush, for the first time since 1951. Local northern Irishman and former Open Champion Darren Clarke gets play underway at 6:35am local time on Thursday 18th July.
Of course the big names you’d expect to see will be playing however, some had to work a little harder than others to guarantee their spot in the 2019 event.
Andrew Johnston better known as ‘Beef’ carded a nine-under par 62 in the final round of the ASI Scottish Open at The Renaissance last week. This catapulted him up the leaderboard and secured him one of the few remaining spots at The Open Championship. Not long before the Scottish Open, Beef shared how his struggle with his mental health had impacted both his life, and his golfing career. It will be great to see him back performing on a big stage after facing a difficult period of time in his life. We wish you all the best going forward Beef, and good luck this week!
Another late qualifier was local man Graeme McDowell, who hasn’t played an Open Championship since 2016. He qualified by draining a 30ft putt on the 72nd hole at the Canadian Open to clinch one of two qualification spots available for the championship. G-Mac will undoubtedly be a local favourite, having played the course over 500 times in his career. Which begs the question – will his local knowledge serve him well over the coming days? We can’t wait to see the action unravel.
G-Mac will be among many of the Irish crowd’s favourites this week – there is a total of 6 Irish and Northern Irish playing at Royal Portrush. Top of that list will be none other than World No.3, Rory McIlroy, who has a host of triumphs to his name including shooting the course record (61) at Royal Portrush when he was just 16 years old! Adding to that, he hasn’t finished outside of the top 5 since he won the event in 2014, no wonder he’s the bookies favourite!
Another player who could almost be classed as a home favourite this week is Brooks Koepka, yes American Brooks Koepka. Now how can he be a home favourite I hear you ask? Well Ricky Elliot, Koepka’s caddy was a member at Royal Portrush when he was younger. He’s a well-established golfer himself and has formed a formidable partnership with Brooks over the last few years, winning multiple majors together. It will be exciting to see how the duo get on in the caddies old backyard.
There is certainly going to be strong crowd following the Irish, and Brooks this week, however with other big names in the field such a Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and defending champion Francesco Molinari, the crowds will certainly have the pick of the bunch. Who do you think will come out on top this week?
Royal Portrush is set to stage the 148th Open Championship and we expect there to be a show. The best golfers in the world are about to play their hearts out to give themselves the best possible chance of getting their hands on the Claret Jug, and being named the 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year. Royal Portrush, we are excited to see play unfold on Thursday morning!
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