• Betting Bunker

Hunter to crash Els' party

Josh Williams July 25, 2012
Hunter Mahan is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year © PA Photos
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Click here to bet on the Canadian Open at bet365

After Adam Scott handed him the Open Championship title on Sunday, Ernie Els attempts to climb down from his giddy high at the Canadian Open this week.

The 42-year-old South African may arrive short of practice following celebrations over the past few days, but that shouldn't hurt him much: there are similarities between the Hamilton Club and Royal Lytham, host of The Open.

Both are short par 70s protected by a host of bunkers - although, with 87 on the course, Hamilton has 119 less than the Lancashire track. So, as was the case one week ago, we're looking for tee-to-green specialists who won't panic with sand underfoot.

Hunter Mahan went well at Lytham, placing in the top 20, and is one of the cleanest ball-strikers out there - as well as a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.

Williams' wagers

  • Hunter Mahan E/W - 14/1 at bet365
    Ben Curtis E/W - 66/1 at bet365

He's ranked ninth in driving accuracy and third in greens in regulation (GIR), as well as a creditable 45th when it comes to GIR from fairway bunkers. The birdie opportunities will keep adding up, and there's nothing fearsome in the Hamilton greens to suggest he will fail to take plenty of them.

Mahan will also garner motivation from his surprisingly fragile grip on a place in the US Ryder Cup team: he's currently in possession of the last of the eight automatic qualification spots.

Beyond Mahan, Ben Curtis - a winner at the Texas Open in April - looks a steal at 66/1, considering his propensity for straight-hitting: fourth in driving accuracy, 11th in GIR. He doesn't have any recent form at the event, but looks fluent at the minute - and could yet find himself in the Ryder Cup team, so snaffle those 66/1 odds.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk