The 2016 Open Championship is coming up fast and it is time to take a look at some of the side markets for the action at Royal Troon this week. Always a popular betting heat, the first round leader market is well worth a gander and we have picked out a trio of players who could make a flying start to the third major of the year in Scotland on Thursday...

Thursday 14th July - 6.30am Odds Won/Lost Bet

2016 Open Championship First Round Leader
Sergio Garcia (each way)  
Best Bet
@ 40 / 1  
Dustin Johnson (each way) @ 16 / 1  
Francesco Molinari (each way) @ 100 / 1  

DJ To Spin The Right Tune

The 'Big Four' of Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth head the betting but it is Johnson of that quartet who makes most appeal to be first round leader. The American is plenty big enough off the tee to enjoy a good week at Troon, where accuracy in finding those greens will also be key, and there have been few faster starters than Johnson in world golf of late.

The US Open champion has won the last two tournaments he has played and he ranks 1st for first round scoring average on the PGA Tour this season (68.29). He has been particularly strong early on in majors as he has been in the top-two of the leaderboard in four of the last five major tournaments and has held or shared the lead in three of those. He was at the head of the leaderboard at The Open twelve months ago and the in-form American's soaring confidence ensures he could be in for a big day on the links.
Tip #1: Dustin Johnson first round leader (each way) @ 16/1 with Betfred.

Garcia To Surge To The Front

It is obviously worth looking out for the tee-times for Thursday but our early selections should be in with a good shout and Sergio Garcia looks very decent value here. Boasting a first round scoring average of 69.30 on the PGA Tour this term, the Spaniard arrives in red hot form as he won the Byron Nelson Championship prior to successive top-fives at the US Open and BMW International Open.

It is questionable whether Garcia has the minerals to actually win a major but he should be in contention from the off as he boasts a first round scoring average of 70.71 from his last fourteen appearances at The Open, racking up eight top-ten finishes in that time. He did miss the cut when The Open was last held at Troon in 2004 but he is a much-improved player nowadays and he is well worth following here.

At the prices, Garcia might well prove to be the best bet, although Johnson is well worth keeping on-side.
Tip #2: Sergio Garcia first round leader (each way) @ 35/1 with

Fran Is The Man

Finally, Francesco Molinari is another player who is in decent form as the Open de France runner-up has opened his last three tournaments with a round of 69 or better and his first round scoring average from fourteen appearances on the PGA Tour is an impressive 69.57. The Italian is so accurate from tee-to-green so he should find Troon to his liking and he has only missed one cut in his last nine visits to Scotland.

Molinari opened with a 62 en route to finishing runner-up at the 2012 Scottish Open so he can mix it on these seaside links courses and let's not forget he started the 2014 Open in scintillating fashion as he was tied 3rd after the first round at Royal Liverpool.
Tip #3: Francesco Molinari first round leader (each way) @ 100/1 with Betfred bookmakers.

2016 Open Championship First Round Leader Odds