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The British Open: Ten contenders to win at Royal Portrush

Royal Portrush in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, hosts The Open for the second time in 68 years this week when Francesco Molinari will defend the title he won so effortlessly at Carnoustie last year.

BetStars have all the latest British Open odds for the final major of the year now that the USPGA Championship has been moved from August to May.

If you're wondering who is favoured to win the British Open, then look no further as we have 10 of the leading contenders to capture the title on the Dunluce links where the world's best players will be competing to win the Claret Jug.

Rory McIlroy

British Open odds: 8/1
Major titles: 4
Open appearances: 10
Last five Opens: 5-4-2-W-MC
Open titles: 1

The Northern Irishman is the 8/1 favourite in the British Open golf odds at the home course he knows so well from his boyhood days when his father played here.

McIlroy has fond memories of meeting Darren Clarke at Royal Portrush on his 10th birthday and he shot a 61 as a 16-year-old boy at this course. He has also played the new seventh and eight holes at this spectacular course beside the Irish sea.

The four-time major champion loves links golf, finishing 5-4-2 since winning The Open at Hoylake five years ago and is also in great form having won The Players Championship in March and the Canadian Open last month which have seen his odds cut from 12/1 to 8/1.

Chances: Produced a second successive top-10 at a major when ninth at the US Open and should be in the mix on Sunday.

Brooks Koepka

British Open odds: 9/1
Major titles: 4
Open appearances: 6
Last five Opens: 39-6-10-67-MC
Open titles: 0

Koepka was the best player on the planet in 2018, successfully defending his US Open title before going on to land a third major at the US PGA Championship at Bellerive with a two-shot win over Tiger Woods.

Koepka successfully defended the title at Bethpage two months ago to make it four wins in his last nine major appearances, plus he was runner-up at both the US Masters and US Open.

Those results have seen his odds halved from 18/1 to 9/1 in The Open odds and only a fool would rule him out of landing a fifth major.

Was joint leader after an opening-round five-under-par 65 at the 2017 Open but never created any momentum in finishing sixth - his best performance at The Open.

Chances: As a former European Tour player, the American has played enough links courses to give him a chance of lifting the Claret Jug and he will feature in plenty of British Open tips.

Tiger Woods

British Open odds: 14/1
Major titles: 15
Open appearances: 20
Last five Opens: 6-MC-69-6-3
Open titles: 3

Woods' victory at this year's US Masters was one of the most remarkable sporting comebacks in history, but he has not played since the US Open in June and has drifted slightly from 12/1 to 14/1 in the British Open betting to win the tournament for a fourth time having finished sixth at Carnoustie last year.

The American superstar won The Open at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005 by eight and five shots respectively which he followed a year later by seeing off fellow countryman Chris DiMarco at Royal Liverpool.

It would be a stretch to say Woods is over his injury problems after undergoing several back operations over the last few years, but he knows the limits of his body and will play accordingly.

Chances: Having been out of action for a month, it's hard to know what sort of shape Woods will be in at Portrush.

Dustin Johnson

British Open odds: 14/1
Major titles: 1
Open appearances: 10
Last five Opens: MC-54-9-49-12
Open titles: 0

The laid-back Texan ended his major drought by winning the US Open in 2016, although he had gone close to winning the US PGA Championship six years earlier only to be docked two shots for grounding his club in a bunker while holding a one-shot lead on the final hole, thus missing out on a play-off.

Despite three top-10s in 10 appearances at The Open, links courses do not really suit big-hitting Johnson who prefers wide fairways and plenty of room off the tee to the subtle nuances of a lay-out like Portrush.

Chances: Will be surprised to see him in the mix on Sunday despite his low British Open golf odds.

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Jon Rahm

British Open odds: 16/1
Major titles: 0
Open appearances: 3
Last five Opens: MC-44-59
Open titles: 0

Rahm is 16/1 in the British Open golf betting odds after shooting a final-round 62 to win the Irish Open for the second time in three years.

The 24-year-old Spanish Ryder Cup star does not have a great record at The Open as he loves nothing more than getting out the driver and smashing it 300+ yards down a wide fairway, but this course will require a more subtle approach.

Rahm has finished in the top 10 in four of his last seven major appearances and his showing at Lahinch suggests he is in with a chance of landing the big one.

Chances: Our opinion of Rahm's chances has changed since his superb performance in County Clare, his fourth European title in 34 starts.

Justin Rose

British Open odds: 18/1
Major titles: 1
Open appearances: 17
Last five Opens: 2-54-22-6-23
Open titles: 0

Rose announced himself to the golfing world by finishing fourth as a teenage amateur at Royal Birkdale 30 years ago.

Last year Rose got himself back into the mix by shooting a 64 on the Saturday to equal the lowest round at Carnoustie and a closing 69 ensured a tie for second place - his best ever Open performance.

Rose won the US Open in 2013 and finished inside the top 20 in all four majors last year when he also became world number one again following his victory at the Turkish Open.

This year, Rose missed the cut at the US Masters, was 29th at the USPGA and third at the US Open to ensure he has finished in the top 10 of at least one major every year since 2015.

Chances: Two top-10s in the last four years suggest Rose could be a contender.

Francesco Molinari

British Open odds: 22/1
Major titles: 1
Open appearances: 11
Last five Opens: W-MC-36-40-15
Open titles: 1

Molinari won't forget 2018 in a hurry - the year when he followed his PGA Championship success by winning The Open for his first major title.

Predictably, the Italian won the Race to Dubai and to cap it all helped Europe win back the Ryder Cup, combining with Tommy Fleetwood to win all four matches before beating Phil Mickelson in the singles for a perfect five points.

Molinari won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour in March and was fifth at the US Masters a month later but his form has dipped a bit since then, although he was 16th at Bethpage.

Chances: Molinari packed into a year what some only achieve in a lifetime and must be considered one of the favourites, especially as one of the best ball-strikers in the business.

Tommy Fleetwood

British Open odds: 25/1
Major titles: 0
Open appearances: 5
Last five Opens: 12-27-MC-MC-MC
Open titles: 0

Fleetwood had his best year for majors in 2018 when he finished a shot behind US Open champion Brooks Koepka at Shinnecock Hills and was tied for sixth heading into the final day of last year's Open at Carnoustie but a closing two-over-par 73 dashed his hopes.

The Ryder Cup hero won the Race to Dubai in 2017 and was third last year, so his consistency will stand him in good stead this summer.

Finally made the cut at The Open in 2017 after three failures and will hopefully be in contention on Sunday night, but his form has taken a downward turn since making the decision to play on the PGA Tour.

Chances: Twice a runner-up at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, with two other top 10s, so he knows how to play these kind of courses.

Rickie Fowler

British Open odds: 25/1
Major titles: 0
Open appearances: 9
Last five Opens: 28-22-46-30-2
Open titles: 0

Fowler turned 30 in December but a first major seems as elusive as ever despite finishing runner-up at the US Open and The Open in 2014 and at last year's Masters.

The likeable American won his first title in two years at the Phoenix Open in February despite one of the strangest incidents ever seen on the PGA Tour when his ball rolled back into the water while he was walking up a bank towards the green to size up the shot, resulting in an extra penalty.

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A triple-bogey seven reduced his five-stroke lead to one but Fowler still managed to win by two from Branden Grace.

Fowler surprisingly missed the cut at the Scottish Open, a tournament he won in 2015, but a second-round 67 suggests his game remains in good shape.

Chances: Has finished in the top five in seven of the last 23 majors so has to be considered a threat, but has not been inside the top 20 at The Open in the last four years.

Jordan Spieth

British Open odds: 30/1
Major titles: 3
Open appearances: 6
Last five Opens: 9-W-30-4-36
Open titles: 1

Spieth's wire-to-wire victory at Royal Birkdale two years ago came despite a rollercoaster final day in which his three-shot lead disappeared with three dropped shots in his first four holes.

The abiding image of his first and only Claret Jug came at the par-four 13th when the American declared an unplayable, taking a penalty drop on the practice range nearly 70 yards behind the original lie. Incredibly, Spieth eked out a bogey after a 20-minute delay.

A birdie at the par-three 14th followed and he then drained a 48-foot eagle putt to put him in the driving seat in his battle with Matt Kuchar, going on to win by three strokes.

However, Spieth had been struggling this year until he tied for third at the USPGA Championship which he followed with back-to-back top 10s, but 65th at the US Open and a missed cut at the Travelers Championship means he heads to Northern Ireland in erratic form.

Chances: Struggled with his driver and irons at TPC River Highlands and will need to improve in those areas to avoid the rough at Portrush.

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Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Golf