Sergio Garcia –

Few players in the field can boast of a top-five finish at Carnoustie in the past, but Garcia is one of them.

The Spaniard lost in a play-off to Padraig Harrington when the Open was last held here in 2007, and also finished joint-fifth at Hoylake in 2006 when conditions were as hot and dry as they will be this week.

Garcia has finished inside the top six in three of his last four Open appearances, and has remarkably missed out on the top 10 just seven times in the past 17 years.

The 38-year-old has shaken off a poor run of form earlier in the year with a T12 and T8 in his last two starts, and looks poised to at least challenge for his second major title.

Ian Poulter –

It seemed like Poulter’s career was on the slide when he almost lost his PGA Tour card in 2017, but the Englishman has made a stunning turnaround over the past year, climbing to 29th in the world rankings.

The 42-year-old is on a streak of 11 successive made cuts, highlighted by a win at the Houston Open in April and top 10s at the WGC Match Play, RBC Heritage and Italian Open.

Poulter took the opportunity to adjust to links golf by playing the Scottish Open last week, and his T30 looks an ideal result as he played all four days but won’t be burnt out from chasing a victory.

The Ryder Cup legend is among the best players to have never won a major, but two top-three finishes at the Open in the past 10 years suggests this might be his best chance.

Zach Johnson –

Two-time major winner Johnson lifted the Claret Jug in 2015, beating Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in a four-hole playoff at St Andrews.

The 42-year-old has been arguably the most consistent American player at the Open over the past few years, finishing inside the top 15 five times in his last six attempts.

It bodes well for Johnson that the scorched fairways at Carnoustie should see this course play more like an American track than a traditional links course, particularly as the world No. 52 has won 11 times in the US in his career.

Heading to Scotland on a run of three successive top-20s, he’s an interesting outside pick this week.

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