The last major of the year is upon us and it’s the first Open Championship since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic cancelled last year’s tournament that takes place annually at rotating courses in the United Kingdom.
This year’s Open Championship is at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in England. Each course that plays host to this major is on the coast and a links golf course. Royal St. George’s last hosted in 2011 and it’s a par 70 course that is just over 7,200 yards.
Golf is a difficult sport to predict, but the Open Championship is more of a challenge because of the weather. Wind can play a huge role in the tournament and betting players based on their Thursday and Friday tee times, and if they’ll avoid the worst conditions, is a recommended strategy. I plan on waiting until later in the day on Wednesday to place my bets so I can learn as much information as possible before the tournament begins early on Thursday morning.
Note: I will tweet out my official bets when I place them before the event. I will discuss my early golf thoughts and other sports betting topics on Stadium’s newest podcast, Sharp Lessons. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Here are the players I’m looking to target in the betting market this week:
Brooks Koepka (18/1)
The strategy for betting on Koepka is to look to bet on him in majors and fade him in other events with small purses. He’s a four-time major winner with two U.S. Opens and PGA Championships to his name. He almost added a third in each event this year after finishing second behind Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship and tied for fourth at last month’s U.S. Open.
We aren’t getting the 50/1 number that I was able to snag him at for May’s PGA Championship, but there’s no denying he plays his best at the highest stakes. Koepka has three top-10 finishes at Open Championships and has experience at links courses from his days on the European Tour.
Bryson DeChambeau (30/1)
There are a lot of things going against DeChambeau going into this week. He’s had an ongoing feud with the aforementioned Koepka that picked up steam on social media two months ago at the PGA Championship. He split with his caddie and missed the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, a tournament he won last year. But most importantly, his Open Championship record is poor with two missed cuts and a 51st place finish in three starts across the pond.
It seems that this style of golf doesn’t suit his game and Bryson is prone to a bad blowup hole with his aggressive play and decision making. However, his number is drifting and now it’s in a range I’m considering to bet on a player who I backed at 11/1 to win the Masters three months ago. DeChambeau won his U.S. Open last September at a big number, so maybe he plays better when expectations are low. I’m going to wait and see where this number goes because it could get larger if bettors don’t have the desire to back him.
Tyrrell Hatton (33/1)
It would feel wrong not to have an English player on my betting card at this tournament and Hatton is the standout of the Englishmen. He has success at links golf with two wins at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2016 and 2017. His major form hasn’t been great, but he does have a recent tied for second finish at the Palmetto Championship after a dazzling ball-striking week. Hatton’s best chance to break through at a major is an Open Championship and he’s a player I will very likely bet on as long as he doesn’t get a bad weather draw.
Branden Grace (70/1)
Grace is always a player I look to bet on at the U.S. Open and Open Championship. He’s another links specialist who has won an Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and shot the lowest single round in major history when he carded a 62 in the third round of the 2017 Open Championship. Grace fared well at the U.S. Open last month by finishing tied for seventh and led the field in the strokes gained tee to green at Torrey Pines.
There are three players who I will look to bet depending on the weather or in-tournament developments. The first is Viktor Hovland (30/1), who I bet pre-tournament at the Masters and U.S. Open, and bet live at the PGA Championship. An eye injury forced him to withdraw from the U.S. Open — and the next week he won the BMW International Open in Germany — but his inexperience has me unsure about the 23-year-old at this course.
Then there’s Scottie Scheffler (50/1) and Joaquin Niemann (70/1), who I believe can contend here if they get a fortunate weather draw. Scheffler has really good finishes in strong field events, recently with a tied for eighth at May’s PGA Championship, a solo third at the Memorial and tied for seventh at the U.S. Open. He finished tied for 12th at the Scottish Open last week, which is encouraging to see him perform well at a links course.
Niemann is coming off a disappointing playoff loss at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where he played bogey-free golf for the first 72 holes and bogeyed the first playoff hole to be eliminated from a three-man playoff. While Royal St. George’s will play much different than the birdie-fest at the Detroit Golf Club, Niemann is a player I always have my eye on because of his ball-striking metrics.