Last week we suffered a near miss with our main bet, Patton Kizzire, leaving his charge too late and narrowly missing out on a top 10 finish by finishing T11th at the 2021 John Deere Classic.
However leaving that firmly behind, this week’s attentions turn to bigger and better things with the 149th Open Championship.
As usual, we will provide you with three main picks and one long shot.
First the course.
This week’s Open is being held at Royal St George’s located on the picturesque Kent coastline. The Open was last held here in 2011 with Irishman Darren Clarke springing a surprise to claim his only major title to date.
Royal St George’s was first designed way back in 1877 and is renowned for many of its blind tee and approach shots, its many undulations and thick jungle-like rough. Speaking about the challenge that Royal St George’s presents, Mark Calcavecchia told ESPN in 2011.
“There are a few blind tee balls. And it seems like some of the angles, and where bunkers are, are kind of quirky.”
Tom Lehmann has previously remarked that Royal St George’s was the “most unpredictable” Open venue he’d ever played and 1985 Open Champion Sandy Lyle called Royal St George’s ‘one of the beasts’ on the Open rota stating that “There are no adjoining fairways like a lot of links courses. You get deeper and deeper into the rubbish. You have to be very accurate in places and it’s not a very friendly course if it is breezy”
To back up Lyle’s point of Royal St George’s being a ‘beast’ the last four Open winners at Royal St George’s have posted winning scores of
1985: Sandy Lyle +2
1993: Greg Norman -13
2003: Ben Curtis -1
2011: Darren Clarke -5
Despite the evolution of golfing technology and the physical way the game is now played, it’s noticeable that over a thirty-year span only Greg Norman has posted a winning total in double figures. What’s more, is that in the last two Open’s held at Royal St George’s, only seven players have finished under par.
Our tips for this week don’t really focus on the favourites, as remarkably since 2007 the favourite or second favourite has only won The Open once, so we will be taking our chances and looking for players that can provide us with some additional value.
Webb Simpson +5500
Webb Simpson is our main bet of the week. Simpson heads into this week ranked in the top 15 for driving accuracy and is ranked top of the scrambling stats.
Simpson has played in eight Opens where his best finish has been T12 in the 2011 tournament previously held at Royal St George’s. His Open record is pretty solid with two top 20 finishes and he has made the cut every time with the exception of a missed cut back in 2014.
Simpson heads into this week’s Open needing to find some better form after two consecutive missed cuts at the U.S. Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic, however, Simpson’s steady style of play and ability to save crucial pars could serve him well this week as he looks for a second major title.
Priced at +5500 for the victory, +800 for a top 5 and +550 for a top 10 finish, I’m banking on Simpson bringing his ‘A game’ and being right in the mix come Sunday.
Louis Oosthuizen +2500
Looking for a player that can not only scramble but also has good recent major form, the eye is immediately drawn to South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen, a previous winner back in 2010 will be teeing it up for his 14th Open. His previous effort around Royal St George’s haven’t been his best with a T54 finish but Oosthuizen has been a different beast this year.
Currently ranked 13th in the world, he has recorded recent major finishes of 2nd in The U.S. Open and 2nd in the PGA Championship. Oosthuizen, with that iconic swing, has the game perfectly suited for links golf and it feels like his time to win another major is just around the corner.
Heading into this week ranked 14th in scrambling, 1st in strokes gained through putting and with a wealth of Open experience behind him, Oosthuizen priced at +2500 is our play for outright victory.
Abraham Ancer +6500
Mexican Abraham Ancer will be competing in his third Open where he will be looking to make amends after missing the cut in both his previous outings.
Ancer could be a real dark horse this week as he ranks 16th in overall scrambling and 6th in overall driving accuracy. Ancer should have the game to remain steady and hopefully, he can avoid the big scores.
Ancer is enjoying a stellar year on tour, with the diminutive Mexican currently ranked 22nd in the world rankings and 17th in the FedEx Cup. He heads into this week in great form with his recent results reading 5th, 2nd, T8, T14, MC and 4th.
Ancer’s previous Open form is a concern but he is playing at a different level this year and I think he can leave that form way behind. Currently priced at +6500 for victory, +800 for a top 5 and +400 for a top 10 finish, Ancer is our play to finish inside the top 10 at worst.
LONG SHOT – Lucas Glover +25000
You wait for an age for a bus to arrive and then suddenly two arrive at once. This is certainly the scenario that American Lucas Glover will be hoping for this week.
Glover overcame a ten-year drought by winning last week’s John Deere Classic. Recording a final round 64, the American veteran recorded five consecutive birdies on the back 9 to emerge from the pack and claim his 4th PGA Tour victory.
Glover, the U.S. Open winner back in 2009 knows what it takes to win a major and he arrives back at a course he clearly enjoys.
Glover in 2011 was the tournament leader after 36 holes before fading and finishing in a tie for 12th, so it’s pretty clear that Glover has the tools and recent good memories to be successful this week.
Glover is priced at +25000 for victory, +4000 for a top 5 and +1600 for a top 10 finish. The two previous winners at Royal St George’s have been priced at +15000 and +30000, I am hoping that this week Glover can spring a surprise of his own.