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A three-time Ryder Cup captain has picked his favourites for the 151st Open Championship and fancies Brooks Koepka to lift the Claret Jug.

Golf Care ambassador Bernard Gallacher has predicted the American to follow up his recent success at Oak Hill to claim a sixth major title.

The 74-year-old, who won ten times on the European Tour, recorded a best finish of T18 at the Open Championship in 1973.

Gallacher said: “Koepka is what you could call a serial major winner!

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“He won the recent USPGA Championship on the difficult course at Oak Hill, taking his total major tally to five.

“He’s a fantastic driver of the ball and putts well under pressure – he’s definitely a favourite for the Open.”

With that win in Rochester, New York, Koepka joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win three PGA titles in the stroke play era.

His triumph over Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler, who tied for second place, meant Koepka became the 20th player to reach five major championship wins.

It also marked a historic occasion for the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf league, as the 33-year-old was the first player from Greg Norman’s tour to win one of the four majors.

Gallacher also fancies Rory McIlroy’s chances at Royal Liverpool next week, the place where the Northern Irishman claimed his last major.

McIlroy finished two strokes clear of Rickie Fowler at Hoylake in 2014, just a month before winning the PGA Championship.

“Rory was the winner last time in Liverpool in 2014, and it’s only a matter of time before he wins another major,” said Gallacher.

“We all know he had a disappointing Masters earlier this year, but he bounced back with a T7 in the USPGA at Oak Hill and finished runner-up in the recent US Open.

“If I were a betting man, I’d have a small wager on Rory repeating his 2014 heroics here.”

The first and second-ranked players in the world, Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm, respectively,
deserve their place among the favourites according to Gallacher.

The reigning Masters champion has “no weaknesses” in his game and tied for third at Royal St George’s in 2021.

“He’ll be determined to follow in the footsteps of his hero and fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros and win an Open,” added Gallacher, who is not underestimating Scheffler, should his putter get

LIV golfer Cameron Smith is the defending champion and alongside fellow breakaway player Dustin Johnson, should have every chance admitted Gallacher.

He said: “Smith is always going to be a threat in the big events. He drives beautifully straight and has a terrific temperament, as proved last year when he won at St Andrews.

“Johnson is another player from the LIV Tour, so it’s difficult to assess his form. However, he has a strong game and an enviable, relaxed attitude which has stood him in good stead over many years.

“He’s a former US Open and Masters winner, so he knows what it takes to win a ‘big one’.

It has been 25 years since an English player was crowned the Champion Golfer of the Year, but Gallacher would not be surprised if that changed anytime soon.

The Bathgate-born golfer argued it is “not if but rather when” Tommy Fleetwood will win a major, while Tyrrell Hatton “definitely has the potential to win a major.”

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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