Get ready for some breakfast golf.
On Thursday, the fourth major of the season will take place across the pond with action beginning at 4:00 a.m. for all of us east coasters. From then until the early afternoon for four days straight, the best golfers in the world will be competing in the 149th edition of The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in England.
This links course should provide its fair share of drama as another major championship is played out. Now let’s go find some winners.
Royal St. George’s is a Par 70 setup that covers 7,211 yards. This is a traditional links course that has been home to The Open Championship over 10 times. Located on the coast, wind could play a major factor. Only one winner here at Royal St. George has reached double-digits under par. Expect plenty of blind shots, and a ton of deep bunkers making accuracy from tee to green absolutely vital.
The weather and the links setup are obviously the biggest factors as with every British Open. Experience with this setup to go along with overall accuracy can give golfers an edge this weekend.
Advanced Stat of the Week
Strokes gained tee-to-green is a metric that is very valuable to this major championship, but there are some similarities to Augusta National. Royal St. George’s is a second shot course, and the accuracy there is needed to put circles instead of squares on the scorecard. We’ll also be looking at recent success in this event to help narrow the field.
Jon Rahm comes in as the hottest golfer in the world. The U.S. Open winner was running away from the field in the Memorial before being disqualified for a positive COVID-19 test. However, Rahm just performed well at the Scottish Open and is worth consideration. Per Draft Kings, Rahm is the 7/1 betting favorite while raking seventh overall in strokes gained approach. However, he has no career top-10 finishes in The Open.
Justin Thomas is fifth in strokes gained approach and has three top-10 performances in majors over the last four years. However, Thomas hasn’t reached that threshold this season. However, the 28-year-old has the makeup to be a real contender in The Open. The 14-time PGA Tour winner is great at approach, has creative shoot ability from tee to green, and can get white-hot with the putter. At 20/1, is this the time Thomas claims that second major championship?
We’ve avoided Brooks Koepka all year but cannot do it this weekend. The 31-year-old is fresh off consecutive top-five major finishes and has four career top-10 finishes at The Open. Koepka ranks 10th in strokes gained approach and should be considered one of the favorites. He’ll be in the hunt all weekend, and at 16/1 there is value for a win bet. Lock in Koepka to claim his fifth major this weekend.
Tyrell Hatton sits at No. 10 overall in the world golf ranking, and the England native has a pair of top-10 finishes in his last four starts at The Open. Hatton ranks 11th in strokes gained approach while sitting at 35/1 to win. That seems to be a stretch, but a top-10 bet of 3/1 has some value.
On down the list, there are some long shots to keep an eye on. Russell Henley is fresh off a solid U.S. Open appearance and ranks third in strokes gained approach. The Georgia alum is sitting on the board at 100/1 to win. Stewart Cink has two wins this season and is constantly finding himself in the top-20. The veteran has a legit chance to make the Ryder Cup team and is currently on the board at 130/1.
Bryson DeChambeau has a game built to compete for championships at both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. However, the finesse and shot creativity are not there for him to truly compete at the Masters and The Open Championship. Add in the new caddy element, and it is time to fade The Scientist. Give us a DeChambeau missed cut play at +275.
As far as matchups go, Sergio Garcia has been bad in majors since putting on the Green Jacket in 2017. Meanwhile, Charley Hoffman ranks 12th in strokes gained approach and has played solid golf this season. Take Hoffman at +115 in this matchup.