2018 Open Championship: Tee times and storylines to watch

Golf's third major championship, the Open, kicks off at 1:35 AM EST Thursday. The 2018 Open Championship isn't short on storylines or players to watch. Here's a quick rundown, including tee times for the first two rounds (EST).

Jordan Spieth - Justin Rose - Kiradech Aphibarnrat: 4:58AM/9:59AM

Last year's champion golfer of the year will look for major championship number four in his young career. Spieth is having a tough year with no wins, two missed cuts and a best finish of t21st in his last six starts. One of the favorites is Spieth's playing partner Justin Rose, who will look for his second major championship. Rose has a win and three top-10 finishes in his last three starts and ranks third in the world rankings. Rounding out the three-ball is Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is best known for his vaping habits. Aphibarnrat is coming off of a 15th place finish at the U.S. Open.

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 5.11.18 PM.png

Jon Rahm - Rickie Fowler - Chris Wood: 5:09AM/10:10AM

 

Rahm and Fowler are two of the world's biggest names without a major championship. This year's Open will be Rahm's 9th major championship start, his best finish a 4th at this year's Masters. At 29, Rickie Fowler continues his quest to earn his first major championship. It will be Fowler's 35th start in a major, and the star has notched eight top-5 finishes, including a runner-up at this year's Masters. England's 2016 Ryder Cupper Chris Wood will accompany Rahm and Fowler. Wood has two runner-up finishes in 2018 and is likely the tallest player in the field.

Louis Oosthuizen - Patrick Reed - Paul Casey: 5:20AM/10:21AM

Oosthuizen and Reed will look to add their second major championships while paired with perhaps the best player in the world without one. Oosthuizen has finished in the top 16 in each of his last three starts and holds the distinction of finishing runner-up in every major championship. This year's Masters Champion has been fantastic lately in majors, finishing t2nd at last year's PGA Championship and 4th in this year's U.S. Open. Paul Casey ended a near four-year winless drought this spring at the Valspar and will head into his 54th start in a major championship. Casey has notched fifteen top-15 finishes in those starts and finished t27th the last time the Open was held at Carnoustie.

Henrik Stenson - Tommy Fleetwood - Jimmy Walker: 7:31AM/2:30AM

The 2016 Open Champion will peg it with up-and-coming English star Tommy Fleetwood and Walker Texas Ranger. Stenson is dealing with an elbow injury that's hampering his play, while Fleetwood returns to a course he scorched in the 2018 Dunhill Links. His 63 stands as the competitive course record at Carnoustie, and with his play at the U.S. Open, he is one of the heavy favorites. Walker has had a solid year, but thus far, the Texan has not fared well in the Open. Walker's best finish is a t26th in five starts.

Thorbjørn Olesen - Rory McIlroy - Marc Leishman: 7:53AM/2:52AM

The Danish star Thorbjørn Olesen draws a primetime pairing with McIlroy and Leishman. Olesen has put together some strong performances recently. In his last five starts, the Thunder Bear has a win, a t2nd and a t6th. Rory will head into Carnoustie with lingering questions about his putter and its ability to perform at an elite level. Leishman looks to earn his first major championship and has been a regular factor at the Open, finishing in the top six in three of the last four Opens.

Dustin Johnson - Alex Noren - Charley Hoffman: 8:04AM/3:03AM

The world number one will look for his second career major championship and first Open Championship. Johnson fell just short of major number two at Shinnecock Hills and hasn't pegged it in competition since. Over his career, Johnson has a runner-up and two t9th finishes in nine starts in the Open Championship. Joining Johnson will be Sweden's Alex Noren and Charley Hoffman. Noren triumphed in his last start at the Open de France and has two top 10s in his last four starts at the Open Championship. Hoffman has been a dynamo early in the week at majors, regularly finding himself in contention. His elite tee-to-green game should fit Carnoustie's demanding setup well.

Francesco Molinari - Justin Thomas - Brendan Grace: 8:26AM/3:25AM

The world's hottest player, Molinari, comes into the Open with two wins and two runner-up finishes in his last five starts. He draws the pairing of world number two Justin Thomas and Brendan Grace. Thomas posted a t8th in his last start at the HNA Open de France and looks to add a second major at age 24. Grace comes in with top-25 finishes in both majors of 2018 after shooting the lowest score in major championship history (62) at last year's Open Championship. 

Tiger Woods - Hideki Matsuyama - Russell Knox: 10:21AM/5:20AM

The Big Cat draws a pairing with Japan's superstar Hideki Matsuyama and local Scot, Russell Knox. Carnoustie's firm and fast setup should allow Tiger to hit irons off tee boxes and offers a great opportunity to capture his first major championship in over 10 years. It's been a disastrous season for Matsuyama, who has dealt with a wrist injury and hasn't notched a top 10 since the Tournament of Champions. Knox contended at last week's Scottish Open before a Sunday slide and comes in top form after a runner-up at the Open de France and a win at the Irish Open.