Tommy Fleetwood vaults to Open favorite with co-lead

Field Level Media
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July 20, 2023; Hoylake, ENGLAND, GBR; Tommy Fleetwood plays his shot from the fourth tee during the first round of The Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Liverpool.
July 20, 2023; Hoylake, ENGLAND, GBR; Tommy Fleetwood plays his shot from the fourth tee during the first round of The Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Liverpool.
Image: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A trio of players are tied for the lead following the first round of The 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, but one name really caught the attention of oddsmakers.

Tommy Fleetwood, who grew up about 30 miles away from Hoylake, vaulted to the +600 favorite by BetMGM following his 5-under par opening round of 66 on Thursday. Fleetwood is still seeking his first career major title, and was a +10000 longshot when The Open market opened at the book.


Fleetwood is also attempting to become the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin 54 years ago to win The Open on home soil. The 32-year-old does have two career runner-up finishes in majors, including at The Open four years ago.

He arrived at Royal Liverpool this week in good form, with three top-six finishes in his past four starts -- the other being a missed cut at the Travelers. But he did tie for fifth at the U.S. Open and finished T6 at last week's Scottish Open.


"Such a special opportunity to play so close to home, (to) have that support and play an Open," Fleetwood said. "Glad I gave them some good golf to watch."

He shares the first-round lead with Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and amateur Christo Lamprecht. Only three amateurs have ever won The Open -- the last being Bobby Jones in 1930 -- and Lamprecht remains a +8000 longshot at BetMGM. Grillo, who ended a seven-year winless drought at this year's Charles Schwab Challenge, vaulted to the 12th-shortest odds at +2500.


There are still at least 54 holes left to play, and the pre-tournament favorites are certainly still in the picture.


That includes World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, whose odds shortened a bit from +750 to +700 despite being four shots off the lead following his opening-round 70. He's tied for 19th along with PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka, whose odds moved from +2000 to +1600.

Also at +1600 at the book are 2017 The Open champion Jordan Spieth (2 under) and reigning U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark (3 under).


Second-ranked Rory McIlroy was the co-favorite entering Thursday, and rallied from 2 over to finish at even par. The Northern Irishman now has the third-shortest odds to win at +1000. McIlroy won The Open the last time it was held at Royal Liverpool in 2014.

Defending champion Cameron Smith of Australia is six shots off the lead after carding a 72 on Thursday. His odds lengthened from +1600 to +5000.


Also at 1 over is Rickie Fowler, who was on the first page of the leaderboard before finding a unique out of bounds area twice on the 18th hole, leading to a triple bogey. Fowler, who ended a four-year title drought earlier this month, is now being offered at +6600 to claim his first major title this week.


Some other marquee names may have played their way out of contention through the first 18 holes.


Third-ranked Jon Rahm is +6600 at BetMGM after opening with a 3-over 74. He's in a group tied for 89th that includes Dustin Johnson (+20000) and Bryson DeChambeau (+35000).

They can at least still rally to make the weekend. That's unlikely to be the case for Justin Thomas, who quadruple-bogeyed the final hole to card an 82.


The two-time major champion and former No. 1 player in the world is ahead of only one player in the 156-player field. BetMGM is no longer offering odds on Thomas to win this week.

--Field Level Media