Saltman an outside bet for title says Woods’ ex-caddie

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ARCHERFIELD ace Elliot Saltman has been picked out as an Open dark horse by Tiger Woods’ long-time caddie.

Steve Williams was hugely impressed with Saltman when he played a practice round at Lytham yesterday with Aussies Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy.

“You’re worth a bet,” said Williams, who now works for Scott, to the Lothians man on the 18th green.

The story was shared by Kevin Craggs, who has been working with Saltman, who also qualified for the Open at Turnberry three years ago, for the past five months. “The big man is on form and playing well,” said Craggs, who also coaches Catriona Matthew, a major winner at the Lancashire course in the 2009 Women’s British Open.

“He received some good compliments off Steve Williams, who was very impressed with Elliot.

“If you had been walking around and didn’t know who the three players were it would have been easy to think Elliot was the multiple winner rather than Adam or Geoff. At the end Stevie Williams said to Elliot: ‘You’re worth a bet’. That was some compliment.

“Of course, it’s all about what happens when the gun goes off but his game is looking impressive.

“Personally, I feel he can’t just compete but can genuinely contend – he has the skill and ability to play at this level.”

Craggs, the SLGA national coach, was delighted to link up with Saltman after he finished working with Bob Torrance. He added: “I’ve been working solidly with him for the last five months and a 61 he shot recently shows how good his game is. He drives the ball and knows how to win – that’s a great gift to have.”

Saltman was due to have another major winner for company in his final practice round at a wild and windy Lytham today.

He was down to play with Ben Curtis, the 2003 champion, and three-time European Tour winner Alexander Noren.

In tomorrow’s first round Saltman is off at 11.10am with Sam Walker, winner of the Scottish Hydro Challenge for a second time last month, and another Englishman, Dale Whitnell.

Two-time Scottish Seniors champion Barry Lane gets the event underway at 6.19am, when it is expected to be dry following a spell of overnight rain, which could be heavy at times.

The outlook for the rest of the event is for it to be mostly fine and dry.