Rory McIlroy started the British Open as a co-favorite to win at Royal Liverpool with Justin Rose at 14/1. After a clinical first round 66 that put him on top by a shot at 6-under, McIlroy stands alone as a 4/1 favorite to close it out over the final 54 holes.
It's a sensible move, with Rory being such a public and well-known star that will attract bettors' money. But as we've seen so often from Rory this year, things change pretty dramatically for him from the first round to the second round. That's likely pure coincidence but it's happened enough that he's been pestered plenty about it this week as a trend. The Ulsterman even admitted that the peculiar swing from Thursday to Friday was "in his head." And he won't have much room to let up in the second round, as the group around him chasing is made up of some of the top players in the world.
Right behind Rory at 5/1 is Adam Scott, a really attractive option based on the way he plays tee-to-green and his second and third-place finishes at the Open the last two years. Scott was just as impressive as Rory on Thursday, even though he came in two shots worse. The Aussie and 2013 Masters champ was out in the afternoon playing in the more difficult conditions. He was really the only player to post a number within range of the Rory, reinforcing how much more difficult things got later in the day at Hoylake. Unfortunately for Scott, it looks like his half of the draw might be on the short end again on Friday, when the wind is supposed to pick up significantly from Thursday but then die off for the afternoon group, which includes McIlroy.
One player who's also made a big move is the usual heavy favorite at all these major championships, Tiger Woods. He's now 10/1, a jump from either 18/1 or 20/1 depending on where you looked before the tournament started. Tiger looked solid after those two opening bogeys, striking it well off the tee and on approach, and even mixing in a few draws that hinted at increased confidence with where he's at both healthwise and with his swing. Tiger, like Rory, will be out later in the day at Hoylake when the wind is supposed to be down. If he posts a number like he did in the opening round, he'll move closer and closer to becoming the favorite on the weekend.
Here are the updated odds to win the 143rd edition of the Open Championship after 18 holes (via Bovada):
|Player||Odds to Win|
|Rafa Cabrera Bello||100/1|
|Graham De Laet||150/1|
|Miguel Angel Jimenez||250/1|