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Stenson, Scott Among Best Bets in British Open

By Wes Reynolds  () 

With the year’s final major comes an even more extensive wagering menu than your boilerplate matchups and futures markets. Picking the winner in such competitive and deep fields is not the easiest thing to do, but there are other ways to win bets on this British Open by not having to do so.

TOP 10 FINISH

Jon Rahm 190

While Rahmbo does not have a ton of Open experience (Best finish 44th in 2017 at Royal Birkdale), he looks primed to contend at the very minimum here. The 24 year-old Spaniard has his best finish ever in a major last month at the U.S. Open with a third. He followed up that finish with a second at Valderrama, where he failed to contend in two previous outings. The following week he won the Irish Open by shooting a course record of 62 in the final round at Lahinch.

Henrik Stenson 275

The absolute best in the world with his irons. He is No. 1 on the PGA Tour in SG: Approach (1.245). Stenson comes in with three straight Top 10s, including a fourth last week in Scotland. Then there’s his favorite club the “Old Trusty” 3-wood, which could be an even bigger weapon this week with rainy and windy conditions. He’s made 11 straight cuts since The Players and hasn’t missed the weekend at the Open since 2007.

Justin Thomas 300

JT looks like he is peaking at the right time with a ninth last week in Scotland, his best finish since the wrist injury he suffered in March. Like Stenson, the putting has really been what’s held him back but the Open is rarely a putting contest. Also like Stenson, the ballstriking has been impeccable. He ranks second in SG: Tee-To-Green (1.829) and third SG: Approach (0.952). Furthermore, he ranks second in GIR (71.9%).

Matt Kuchar 300

Kooch is now in his early 40s and still chasing that elusive major. He does bring a ton of experience though to the major where experience matters the most. In the past 11 years, eight winners of the Open were 35 or older. He’s been the mark of consistency all year with two wins, two runners-up, eight Top 10s and only one missed cut in 18 starts. On the links he has gradually improved with Top 10s the last two years including a bridesmaid finish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale. If you look at recent Claret Jug winners, you will find several players who gradually got better over the years on the links like Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson and Francesco Molinari before finally breaking through. Kooch fits right in that group.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello 500

Granted the course has changed since the last time Royal Portrush hosted an event (2012 Irish Open), but RCB is one of a select group of players in the field who have rounds on this course in competition. By the way, he finished 2nd in that 2012 event. Since returning across the pond after playing exclusively stateside in 2019, RCB has three straight Top 10s.

TOP 20 FINISH

Xander Schauffele 130

He’s finished in the Top 10 in four of the past six majors and Top 20 in five of the past six. Ordinarily it takes a few Open appearances before a player can really contend for the win but Schauffele was secnd at Carnoustie last year in only his second Open appearance.

Hideki Matsuyama 150

He has 11 Top 20s in 18 events this season. His usual shaky putting may not be as much of a hindrance this week as more importance will be on ballstriking which is right in this man’s wheelhouse. He ranks second in SG: Approach (1.005) and third SG: Tee-To-Green (1.767).

Bryson DeChambeau 170

The 2019 calendar year has been a bit of a struggle for him but he comes in with his best two results of the year and a near miss last time out at the 3M Open.

Erik Van Rooyen 350

EVR was in the final pairing on Sunday last week at the Scottish Open before an early quad took him out of contention in a low-scoring affair. He was on the first page of the leaderboard over the weekend last year at Carnoustie before finishing 17th in his first-ever Open.

Jim Furyk 600

At just one year south of age 50, Furyk is still playing good golf with three Top 10s this season and made the cut last time out at Pebble Beach. As always, he hits it straight (third in Driving Accuracy 74.83 percent) and hits greens (11th GIR 70.30 percent).

Zander Lombard 1400

Taking a bit of a shot in the dark here. The 24 yearold South African has missed six of his last seven cuts but does come back to a course where he has had success. Lombard finished runner up in the 2014 Amateur Championship right here at Royal Portrush and has also made the weekend in both of his Open appearances.

TOP AUSTRALIAN

Adam Scott 150

Scotty comes in with three consecutive Top 10s against three strong fields. He was eighth at the PGA, second at the Memorial and seventh at the U.S. Open. After four weeks off, the rest actually might be good for him. Rainy weather is in the forecast all week and that puts an even greater premium on ballstriking, which has been on point all year for this man. He currently ranks third in Total Strokes Gained (2.155), fourth in SG: Around the Green (.486), sixth in SG: Tee-To-Green (1.701) and ninth in SG: Approach the Green (.786).

His recent form doesn’t even include a second at Torrey Pines, a seventh at Riviera and two quality finishes at The Players (12th) and the Masters (18th). He’s been consistently knocking at the door for his first win since 2016.

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