The British Open
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Posted July 13 at 11:30 AM EST prior to tee-off and are subject to change. 

British Open

It’s with some sadness that we say for the fourth, but final, time in 2022, “Welcome to major week!”

This time it’s off to Scotland for the British Open, which is celebrating its 150th year by stopping by the iconic ‘home of golf’, St Andrews. Collin Morikawa will carefully transport the Claret Jug back to the R&A – his triumph 12 months ago one of the few times in recent memory in which a tournament debutant has taken the spoils. It’s generally not the form of the British Open, with more experienced pros usually prevailing. Even Jordan Spieth was a 10-time PGA TOUR winner by the time he cracked this event in 2017 as a 24-year-old.

Intriguingly, there’s a chance that a long-odds outsider might go on and win the British Open. Shane Lowry and Zach Johnson were both relatively ignored by the market when they lifted this famous trophy – the latter, of course, coming at St Andrews back in 2015. One of the reasons why sleepers have a chance of shocking the field at the British Open is the conditions, which have a unique ability to make the sport’s elite look like club hackers. There will be 15-17 mph crosswinds blowing in from the ocean, pot bunkers so deep that Danny De Vito could disappear in them and fairways and greens that are as dry, hard and as fast as grass can get.

It gets a fair bit of stick these days for being too easy and forgiving, but you simply cannot change layouts as iconic as St Andrews. Quintessentially Scottish and unequivocally seaside Links in style, St Andrews is the kind of course that aspiring golfers the world over seek to play one day at the Open Championship. It is one of the easier Open courses on the rotation – Nick Faldo won with a score as low as -18 here some 30 years ago, and the difficulty (or otherwise) of the track is essentially determined exclusively by the weather.

This is a Par 72 track that measures a shade over 7,300 yards, but unlike most other layouts of this ilk, there are just two Par 5s and a pair of Par 3s. This really is a course where Par 4 Scoring is the key. And one of the Par 5s is a brute, too. In 2015, which was the last time that St Andrews hosted the British Open, the 14th played a full 615 yards. And then the run from 15 through 17 all averaged over par as well, with a whopping 217 bogeys made at the 17th with just nine birdies. As mentioned, many of the other hallmarks of Links golf are here, including deep pot bunkers and lightning fast fairways and greens – remember, there are only 11 greens on the St Andrews course, with seven shared on different holes. That said, the fairways are wide and the greens large in size.

What We’re Looking For:

The stats can be pretty deceptive at St Andrews. The truth is that the fairways are so forgiving in size that you would expect Driving Accuracy numbers to be high – indeed, Johnson found the short stuff with 85.9% of his tee shots back in 2015. Of those that finished T10 or higher, seven averaged 300 yards or more off the tee, and that really isn’t a coincidence – hitting soft wedges into these ultra-firm greens really is the best way to play this layout. With the wind up, there is some danger to be found, but success will be enjoyed by those who can hit their approach shots into the right portion of these greens, which have some pretty crazy undulations and shelves to overcome. This isn’t a U.S. Open style golf course as far as difficulty is concerned, and the enjoyment comes from seeing the best in the business take on the famous old Links for the first time in nearly a decade. Let’s see if we can find one or two longshots to be on the leaderboard this weekend.

To Win Outright

Wyndham Clark 300-1

Price on Clark is too high. The grip-it-and-rip-it style of players like Wyndham Clark can work on some of the easier Links courses – as evidenced by his run to T16 at the Scottish Open last week. He should enjoy the expansive fairways at St Andrews too, and his prodigious length – allied to a strong short game – may just allow Clark to put some low numbers on the board. Delivering a ball-striking performance at the Scottish Open that was far beyond his usual standard, Clark has recently finished T7 at the Canadian Open and opened with a round of 66 at the ever-challenging TPC River Highlands, so his game is in an excellent place right now. Dude ranks 29th ON TOUR in SG: Putting, which could really put him closer to the leaderboard that this price suggests (Risking 0.1 units to win 30 units to win outright and risking 0.2 units to finish Top-5 at 40-1.

Keith Mitchell 140-1

With a dad who’s a member at St Andrews and a sister who studied at the nearby university, it goes without saying that this is a special week for Keith Mitchell and his family. Intriguingly, the big hitter has admitted that he has played the course a number of times before, and so he may have something of an edge on the field this week – particularly when you consider the unique green complexes at the ‘home of golf’. With length and putting prowess two of the key elements to success at St Andrews, Mitchell seems ideally placed this week after a very decent showing at the Scottish Open last week. Dude is ready (Risking 0.2 units to win 28 units to win outright) (Risking 0.1 units to win 2.25 units to finish top-5).

Haotong Li 140-1

You might remember Haotong Li from the 2017 edition of the British Open. He fired a round of 63 – one of the best ever recorded in a major, and which would have been a tournament record but for the brilliance of Branden Grace in the very same event. Since then, the Chinese star’s career has enjoyed peaks and troughs, but wins at the Dubai Desert Classic and in a very recent start at the BMW International Open confirm that he is a player very much back on the up. Best of all, Li loves links golf. Aside from finishing third at the 2017 Open Championship, he excelled at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the annual DP World Tour event here at the Old Course. In three appearances at that event, he’s made three cuts, finished no worse than T23 and ended T6 in 2018. Media, public and sportsbooks have completely ignored a player that has a way better chance of winning than so many others that are priced lower. (Risking 0.2 units to win 28 units) and 0.5 units to win 11 units at 22-1 for a top-5 finish).

Joaquin Niemann +55-1

The Chilean was there or thereabouts at the Scottish Open, ranking 10th for SG: Tee-to-Green and finishing T16 after a Sunday in which little went right. No matter, because it was confirmation that Niemann can thrive in windy, coastal conditions – as already suspected given his excellent record on the Hawaiian swing and at locations like Harbour Town Links. The world number 16 is another who comes on the betting radar in strong field events, partly because we’re able to get a value price and partly because he is very much amongst golf’s elite these days (Risking 0.2 units to win 11).


Haotong Li -110 over Christiaan Bezuidenhout

In his last six starts, Christiaan Bezuidenhout has finished T2 at the John Deere Classic and served up three other top-20 returns, so his form and confidence cannot be questioned. However, we do our homework here at sportswagers and when we see every “expert” touting the South African, we know it’s time to sell. St Andrews favors length and that is not Bezuidenhout’s strong suit. We already wrote all about Haotong Li so let’s double down on him to win this H2H matchup too (Risking 2.2 units to win 2).

Max Homa -110 over Louis Oosthuizen

Max Homa is underrated by the sportsbooks this week, who as the world number 19 perhaps shouldn’t be 60/1 for the win this week or be evenly priced against LIV pro, Louis Oosthuizen. Homa is underpriced partly due to a lack of Links pedigree, however anyone that saw his easy-swinging 66 on Saturday at the Scottish Open will know that Homa has the tools for the job. A four-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Homa has top-10s to his name at Pebble Beach and Waialae – there’s no reason why he can’t tame St Andrews as well and easily produce a better score than Louie (Risking 2.2 units to win 2).

Total units wagered = 5.9 units. We will update after this event.

Our Pick

PGA Wagers (Risking 5.9 units - To Win: 0.00)