The Open Championship: Key contenders at Carnoustie

Golf
Tommy Fleetwood
Tommy Fleetwood

Press Association Sport looks at some of the possible contenders for one of golf's biggest prizes, the Open Championship.

Tommy Fleetwood

From 188th in the world as recently as September 2016, Fleetwood has climbed to 10th thanks to a successful title defence in the Abu Dhabi Championship in January and his thrilling runners-up finish in the US Open, where a closing 63 equalled the lowest score in tournament history and left him just a shot behind Brooks Koepka. After the pressure of having the Open on his doorstop last year, the 27-year-old from Southport will again have to cope with high expectations as he holds the course record at Carnoustie.

Sergio Garcia

Five years after claiming he was not good enough to win a major, Garcia proved himself wrong in dramatic fashion by beating Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose in a play-off to win the 2017 Masters. He missed the cut in his title defence, although he was perhaps understandably distracted following the birth of his first child Azalea, named after the 13th hole at Augusta. A return to Europe has yielded two top-12 finishes and Garcia also has 10 top-10 finishes in the Open since 2001, including three in the last four years.

Henrik Stenson

Stenson is surprisingly somewhat under the radar for the Open, despite finishing fifth in the Masters and sixth in the US Open. The 2016 champion has finished outside the top 25 just twice this season and continues to lead the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and greens in regulation. The 42-year-old has not played in the Dunhill Links Championship - which uses Carnoustie as one of its three courses - since 2012, but does have three top-10s in the event. An elbow injury which saw him withdraw from the Scottish Open will hopefully not prove serious.

Jon Rahm

The 23-year-old only joined the paid ranks after the 2016 US Open, but has already won twice on the PGA Tour and three times on the European Tour, including on the links of Portstewart in last year's Irish Open. Rahm also staged a superb defence of the title at Ballyliffin, recovering from an opening 74 and a triple bogey seven in the final round to finish in a tie for fourth.

Tyrrell Hatton

Won his maiden European Tour title in the Dunhill Links Championship in 2016 and successfully defended it the following year before winning the Italian Open the following week. Suffered four missed cuts in five events earlier this season but was almost unnoticed in finishing sixth in the US Open and was fourth in the France Open on his next start.

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