Written by: Phillip Beneteau – Staff Writing Intern (@Fantasyphilled)
Welcome to the 145th Open being held at Royal Troon. It will be the 9th time the Open is held at this links styled course, last time being held in 2004. It is very tough to use course history in this situation since the last time the Open was played here was in 2004. I would still look at past Open tournaments since most courses that are played in the Open are links styled.
Course: Royal Troon (Scotland)
Key Stats: Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G), Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, Driving Accuracy and Par 4 Scoring
| Top Plays
Adam Scott ($10,600)
I will be going back to the well this time when saying that I am going to be fading the top priced golfers this week. I will be fading Dustin Johnson and Jason Day for the main reason that I believe they will be very high owned and I think that Scott could do as well or even better than either of them. For starters, his form is solid with four top 18s in the last five tournaments. He has just missed the cut at the Open once in the last 10 years in 2009 when he missed the cut by one stroke. Every other finish has been a top 27, including a string of four top tens coming in to this year. He has yet to win an Open and I’m feeling at least another top 5 showing from a proven Tour winner.
Branden Grace ($9,700)
Grace ranks 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green and 39th in Greens in Regulation. His win earlier at the RBC Heritage shows that he has great course management and can stay on the fairway when he needs to. He ranks 6th in Par 4 scoring average as well as he is 2nd in the PGA in fourth round scoring which should propel him to another great finish.
Rory McIlroy ($11,900)
McIlroy ranks 1st in SG: Off-the-Tee and 3rd in SG: Tee-to-Green and comes in to this Open looking extremely focused after missing last years due to an injury. If you have been following any of the early coverage at Royal Troon this week you already know that he is focused on Majors, this being very special to him. Growing up in Ireland, McIlroy is no newbie to links styled courses, and should work in his advantage as he is used to these temperatures and weather.
Justin Rose ($9,400)
Rose could almost be viewed as the poor man’s McIlroy this week as he is very similar in the strokes gained field. He ranks 5th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 4th in SG: T2G, and 13th in Driving Distance which may be a slight edge with the rainy soft conditions. Rose has been a little volatile in the past nine years at the Open, with four top 23 finishes, but also four 70thplace finishes of worst. His form isn’t necessarily the best right now, but that could lower his ownership numbers, which makes him almost a sneaky play in the $9000 range.
Matt Kuchar ($7,800)
Kuchar is one of the weirdest priced golfers this week at Royal Troon as his price seems to be far too low for his skill. His form is one of the best in world right now with five top 6 finishes in his last six events. Kuchar ranks 7th in Par 4 scoring, 14th in SG: T-G, and 17th in Birdie-or-Better percentages. I can easily see Kuchar being the top owned golfer across DraftKings this week, so the choice is up to you, do you eat the chalk, or fade the highest owned player?
Charl Schwartzel ($7,800)
Looking for a player who may go very low owned with the recent news that he is switching his clubs, this morning. Look no further than a player who I was very bullish on, and still am even with his club switch. Schwartzel’s only missed cut this season came at the Masters, and while it’s never good to see that, he has top ten upside at this tournament and may be a great pivot off of Kuchar is you are fading the chalk.
Lee Westwood ($8,500)
He is quickly becoming my favourite lower priced target in Majors this year after his T2 at the Masters and T32 at the US Open. While Augusta was a better fit for him, his UK upbringing should fit well across the pond at Royal Troon this week. He is playing with some other older gents this week as he tee’s off with Ernie Els and Phil Mickleson. In his last seven Open Championship’s, Westwood has three top 3 finishes.
Chris Wood ($7,600)
Prior to his WD last week at Aberdeen Asset Management Open, Wood had some of the best form of anyone on the European Tour. With four straight top 25 finishes, including a 23rd at the US Open and a win at the BMW PGA Championship. As long as he is full health, which I fully expect him to be, I can see Wood continuing his top 25 finishes. He has also held his own in Open Championship’s with two top five finishes in his five appearances.
| Value Options and GPP Punt Plays
Rafael Cabrera-Bello ($6,900) 14/15 Cuts made with a T21 last week at the Aberdeen Asses Management Open in Scotland.
Brandon Stone ($6,700) Up and comer from South Africa who will go very low owned with his higher price and very low name knowledge. Coming off a T5 at the French Open.
Emiliano Grillo ($6,400) Tired of me professing my love for GILLO? Be like that, but this kid fits the mold once agains with his accuracy and is once again, simply too cheap for his caliber.
Jon Rahm ($6,600) Speaking of young and ready for the spot light, Rahm is looking to build off his T23 at the US Open and his T3 at the Quicken Loans National.
Callum Shinkwin ($5,400) My favourite sub-$6000 play, reading up on him gives me plenty of confidence that he is poised for a decent run and a great course fit. Amazing value at $5,400.
Soren Kjeldsen ($6,300) A top 50 ranked golfer in the world, who ranks 22nd in Driving Accuracy.
Jordan Niebrugge ($5,800) Finished T6 and as the top Amateur at the Open last year at St. Andrews.
Colin Montgomerie ($6,000) Possibly his last Open, in his home town, that’s enough narrative for me.
Thanks for reading! For the US Open I did include 10 names for each category, and I will be doing the same, except that the last two names on these two lists will be featured on my Twitter feed! Check me out @fantasyphilled for up to date stats and info on the upcoming Open!