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Justin Rose, who won his country's heart if not the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale in 1998, is not the only Englishman with a legitimate shot at winning the 137th Open Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)

Five Englishmen to watch at Royal Birkdale

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Justin Rose didn't win, but the young Brit, a teenager at the time, made quite a splash at the 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. He's certainly among the list to contend again this week, but there are several other Englishmen to watch, as well. Luke Donald admittedly would have been prime among that list, but he's sidelined by an ailing wrist. So here are five others to keep your eye on.


Lee Westwood
The 35-year-old from Worksop came close to coming to Birkdale as the reigning U.S. Open champion after finishing third, one stroke out of the playoff at Torrey Pines. That had to give Westwood confidence. And the 18-time European Tour winner has eight top-10s this year, so keep him on your radar screen.


Paul Casey
He's coming off a tie for third in his last start at the BMW International, so he's got momentum. Not to mention, the Englishman who went to Arizona State tied for 11th at the Masters. He's won eight times on the European Tour but his best finish in the Open is a tie for 20th in 2004 at Troon.


Ian Poulter
Forget those flashy clothes -- although it's always a treat to see just how he'll incorporate the Union Jack and the Claret Jug into his ensemble this week. Poulter has plenty of game, too. He was in the mix at THE PLAYERS Championship until a final-round 76 and he tied for 25th at the Masters after a 78 on Sunday.


Oliver Wilson
The 27-year-old from Mansfield honed his game at Augusta State. If that doesn't make him a major championship contender, consider this: Wilson has been a runner-up four times already on the European Tour and tied for ninth last week at Loch Lomond.


Nick Dougherty
He's a protege of European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo, who's a pretty good judge of talent. Dougherty needs to find some form this week, though. The 26-year-old from Sunningdale has missed the cut in three of his last four tournaments since tying for fourth at the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

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