The 2013 Open Championship begins this Thursday from Muirfield in Scotland and most Australian eyes will be squarely focussed on the 12 Australians in the field.
On the off chance that an Australian doesn’t win it this week (heaven forbid) and the favourites have an off week, who else should we be keeping an eye on to take home the Claret Jug?
Here are five dark horses who are a chance to win this week and are slipping under the radar by the bookmakers.
At just 25 years of age, Grace is fast becoming South Africa’s next big golfer. He’s only played in six majors prior to this week with his best performance coming at the US Masters where he finished in a tie for 18th.
Grace has four European Tour wins under his belt and while he is without a win in 2013 he has some form. Grace lost a playoff to Phil Mickelson at last week’s Scottish Open, sits 26th on the overall world golf rankings and has played good golf on links courses in the past.
Many may have forgotten that Snedeker finished in a tie for 3rd place at last year’s Open Championship. Snedeker started 2013 superbly and chalked up an early win before succumbing to a rib injury which was soon diagnosed as a “low bone turnover“.
Snedeker has the issue under control and looks to have turned the corner on the golf course with two top-20s in his last two starts. He has a putting game to die for that should see him contend this week at Muirfield.
Sterne is another South African in good form. He sits in fourth place on the Race to Dubai standings and has rarely been out of contention this year including a top-25 at The Masters.
Sterne missed the cut in his first three attempts at The Open between 2006 and 2008, but I’d expect much better things from the South African this week.
Stenson is possibly everyone’s ‘favourite’ dark horse this week. A quick look at his form and it’s easy to see why.
The big hitting Swede hasn’t finished worse than 26th in his nine starts this year that includes both the US Masters and US Open. Questions marks remain over his composure down the stretch but he’s likely to be involved in the action on Sunday afternoon.
Donaldson is playing some great golf right now and is coming off two top-10 finishes at the Irish Open and French Open’s.
Donaldson is somewhat of a late bloomer and is playing arguably the most consistent golf of his career. He’s showing some maturity and starting to feature in the majors. A respectable finish at the US Open proceeded a top-10 finish at last year’s US PGA Championship.
Editor’s note: Paul Casey originally featured in this list but despite winning the Irish Open a few weeks ago did not qualify for the 2013 Open Championship.