Open Championship golf betting preview & R3 tips from Ben Coley at Royal Birkdale

Austin Connelly

Ben Coley has a 12/1 selection for the final day of the Open Championship, where his headline outright tip leads the way.

Recommended bets: The Open

1pt e.w. Austin Connelly without Spieth and Kuchar at 12/1 (1/4 1,2,3)

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Three days down, one to go, and we're hopefully 18 holes from an extremely profitable week.

Currently, headline selection Jordan Spieth is a 2/7 chance to close out his third major win - and if he doesn't, we've got two big chances among the chasing pack.

Still, I can't deny yesterday's two-ball results were disappointing and I'd rather take a more speculative approach to the final round, with Austin Connelly tipped to outperform expectations as he has done all week.

This 20-year-old dual-national, who plays under the flag of Canada but now resides in Texas, is good mates with Spieth, who has long been speaking of how good Connelly can be.

There are a few people here this week who were at Royal Cinque Ports to see Connelly qualify for the Open, and they were blown away. Several of them are on him at huge prices just for a top-20 finish, and I reckon they'll be paid out with plenty to spare.

It would be easy to assume that he'll fall out of contention today, but that hasn't happened in similar scenarios at Birkdale in recent years. Justin Rose famously finished fourth thanks to a hole-out birdie in 1998, while a decade later Chris Wood was also inside the top five.

Unlike that pair, Connelly is a professional and while his results have been mixed so far this season, he's already bagged a European Tour top-10 without being a member.

In that respect his performance reminds me of Cameron Smith at the US Open a couple of years ago. Again behind Spieth, the Australian hit the frame at a massive price and used it as a springboard. Smith is now a PGA Tour winner, of sorts.

The story of Connelly expands beyond his qualifying effort, his age, the fact that this is his event debut, that his friend is leading, that he birdied 18 for a 66 on Saturday. When asked about ties to the Open, he mentioned that he's good friends with and plays plenty of golf with former champion Todd Hamilton.

The company Connelly keeps has been rubbing off all week and I think he's being dismissed far too readily across the board, with Sky Bet's 12/1 in the without Spieth and Kuchar market making most appeal.

That's effectively 12/1 about the joint-leader, a rare thing indeed. It may even be unprecedented. And, with three places on offer, it's worth a small each-way bet even in acknowledgement of the fact that this is new territory for an inexperienced player surrounded by world-class opponents.

William Hill offer 10/1 if you want a fourth place for each-way bets, while you can alternatively throw Kuchar into the mix and take 25/1. However, I fancy the final pair to keep the rest of the field at bay, so will bet without both of them.

Posted at 1020 BST on 23/07/17.

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