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It was tense and dramatic viewing on Sunday afternoon if you followed me in on Henrik Stenson recommended at 30/1 two days before The Open Championship and didn’t lay off. It was also outstanding golf from both the Ice Man and Phil Mickelson as they slugged it out like prize fighters shooting 63 and 65 but I always felt that the Swede held the edge during those final 18 holes so I am glad that I held my nerve. As I wrote in the final day preview, I really fancied him to get the job done so I managed to resist the temptation to green up, though having backed him each-way makes that easier of course as the insurance was already there. Unlike newspaper and website golf tipping columns, Stenson was also one of just two pre-tournament outright selections rather than the five players or more everyone else seems to do these days.
In finishing a clear runner-up, Mickelson also landed our Top Former Champion bet at 11/2 and my sole final-day advice of Steve Stricker each-way at 11/1 without Stenson and Mickelson finished runner-up in that market losing out to J B Holmes by one shot. Had he not double bogeyed the 17th hole then that would have really put the icing on the cake. But it’s a 72-hole event so no complaints. Like five of the last six Open winners both Stenson and Mickelson had contested the Scottish Open the previous week which was a significant factor in my recommending them and, with Holmes and Stricker having also experienced that same links test the previous week meaning the 1234 all did so, you can be certain that will form a large part of my thinking for the 2017 Open Championship.
My other outright each-way pre-tournament recommendation was Chris Wood who retired half-way through his first round and some bookmakers (certainly Paddy Power who I suggested we back him with as they were paying down to eighth place) have given stakes back as a free bet. A generous concession but a word of warning though, you might have to ask them direct for that free bet. The next golf I will be covering is the final Major of the season, the USPGA Championship, which due to the Olympics has been brought forward a week so starts in just ten days’ time.
Onto the racing and I will be previewing Ascot’s King George VI & Elizabeth Stakes card on Friday and Postponed is odds-on to become the first back-to-back winner since Swain. Prior to that I’ll be taking an early look at the best of that meeting and Glorious Goodwood in Ante-Post Focus on Wednesday. Incidentally, when Swain beat Pilsudski, Singspiel and Helissio in the best KG in terms of depth I’ve ever seen, that was also the last time I attended the race. I might put that right this year. Three days later I will start my previews of all five days of Glorious Goodwood. We had a very good opening day at the Newmarket July Meeting but struggled to maintain that on the second and third days.
Well done to Adam Hewson who recommended Theresa May to be the next Conservative Party Leader at 13/2 in his blog before the EU Referendum. He’ll be starting to ramp up his coverage of the US Presidential race in the autumn.
Paul Smith’s 14/1 recommendation of a 2-2 draw between England and Pakistan got off to a good start with the visitors winning at Lord’s yesterday. My view was that Pakistan had to win the opening Test match to have a realistic chance of that 2-2 score line coming off so now we’re really in the ball game for that four-Test series with that result now a 5/1 chance. It might sound like after-timing but I have to say that I was surprised to see England chalked up as favourites as they headed out to try and chase down 283 in that fourth innings. All too often the team chasing down a final innings score is underpriced and that proved to be the case yet again. I’ll be taking on Paul at Wellingborough Golf Course today and expect to get spanked. It’s never easy when you are 80+ yards behind after every tee shot! He can send it out here that boy. My putter is going to have to be on its best behaviour but I've got my Stenson shades at the ready!