This weekend is shaping up to be a legendary moment in the history of golf, as 156 of the best golfers in the world compete at the legendary Old Course at St. Andrews. This will be the 150th Open Championship, the 30th time it’s been held at St Andrew’s, and the first time since 2015. It is estimated that nearly 300K amazing fans will pack the course to get a glimpse of their favorite golfers. St Andrews well known for its huge greens and crazy weather should provide a very entertaining weekend. Especially, considering how stacked the field is with numerous legit contenders to win the tournament. Below are a few favorites and sleepers that could hoist the Claret Jug trophy Sunday afternoon.
Chris Gallagher and Brandon Braasch contributed to this article.
Favorite: Scottie Scheffler
Fresh off a missed cut at the Scottish Open, Scheffler has continued to play good golf. The current world number one has recorded two runner-up finishes in his last five events. Along with this, he has continued to play well in Majors. Narrowly missing out on capturing the US Open at the Country Club last month, the Dallas, Texas native carded a final round 67 to shoot up the leaderboard. The University of Texas alumn has had a strong showing in links golf in the past. He has the power and accuracy off the tee to fight through the hallowing winds at the Old Course. Furthermore, Scheffler also has the short game to navigate the difficult fairways and challenging bunkers.
Favorite: Jordan Spieth
Posting an incredible track record at the Open Championship in the past, Spieth finished one shot back of a three-man playoff in 2015. In addition to this, in his five additional starts, the 28-year-old posted a runner-up and a ninth-place finish while also capturing the victory at the event in 2017. Continuing to drive the ball better, the three-time major winner is averaging more than 306 yards off the tee while hitting over 57 percent of his fairways. Remaining one of the best shot makers in the field, he has the ability to stick wedges on the green from the different lies present at St. Andrews. Moreover, with his ability to make putts, look for Spieth to be in the mix on Sunday.
Favorite: Rory Mcllroy
Still searching for his first Major victory in eight years, Mcilroy has posted a top ten finish at the Masters, US Open, and the PGA Championship this season. He was also victorious at the Canadian Open and the CJ Cup. Remaining one of the longest players in the field, the current world number two is averaging 317.4 yards off the tee. However, the biggest improvement to his game has come from 125 yards on his approach shot with his wedges. This has led him to hit 67.75 percent of his greens in regulation. Nearly victorious at this venue in 2010, the Northern Ireland native got off to a blistering hot start. He carded an opening-round 63 before shooting a disappointing 80 on Friday to finish in a tie for third.
Sleeper: Hideki Matsuyama
Enjoying an up and down season on tour, Matsuyama has battled an ongoing neck injury. However, the 11-year veteran has still posted a six top-ten finishes and nine top-25 finishes, including a fourth-place finish at the US Open. Furthermore, the 30-year-old was victorious at the Zozo Championship and at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Possessing the game to score well in links golf, Matsuyama is gaining over 1.3 strokes from tee to green per round. He also owns a 63.6 percent scrambling rate, which should set him up well to save pars in difficult weather conditions persist. Currently listed at +5000 to capture the tournament, the Ehime, Japan native, offers tremendous value.
Sleeper: Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Bezuidenhout is playing as well as anyone in the world. He has collected more World Golf Ranking points (47.02) than anyone else on tour this season. The 28-year-old finished in a tie for second at the John Deere Classic two weeks ago before finishing in a tie for 16th at the Scottish Open. Possessing a well-rounded game, the Delmas, South Africa native is top 25 in proximity to the hole average and in sand save percentage. A streaky putter, Bezuidenhout is gaining 0.438 strokes per round on the greens. Scoring well during the weeks he has been locked in with the flat stick, the key for the current world number 57 will be around the greens if he hopes to capture his first major championship victory.
Favorite: John Rahm
Rahm has yet to put together a full weekend in the three majors this year. All around, he has been solid but his play around the green has held him back all year long. However, Rahm has been the best golfer on the tour this year off the tee. If he can clean up his putting and short game, he will most certainly be in contention this weekend. A victory at the historic St Andrews would cap off an otherwise disappointing major schedule for the Spaniard.
Favorite: Collin Morikawa
Morikawa looked excellent at the U.S. Open shooting three terrific rounds. However, he was ultimately hampered by a 77 on day three which ruined his chances to bring home the championship. Despite his struggles the last few months Morikawa typically turns his play up a notch when it comes to the major tournaments. In fact, he has won a major championship each of the last two years and will look to defend his 2021 Open Championship this weekend.
Favorite: Will Zalatoris
Zalatoris has been an absolute beast in majors this season. Through the first three majors this year (The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open), his average finish is 3.3 which includes two runner-up finishes. His iron play has been superb as he has been the best on the tour in terms of strokes gained approaching the green. However, his putting has been his downfall and will be the biggest thing that can hold him back this weekend. Although, during all majors this year his weaknesses have been no weakness at all. If that continues Zalatoris will once again be a contender this weekend.
Sleeper: Louis Oosthuizen
Louis the former Open champion who is now a member of the LIV Golf Sunshine Tour will look to recapture the Open. He won the Open the last time it was at St Andrews back in 2010. Furthermore, he finished runner-up in 2015 at St Andrews where he lost to Zach Johnson in a playoff. He knows this course well and should put himself among the contenders come Sunday evening.
Sleeper: Patrick Reed
Reed is another golfer that made the switch from the PGA Tour to the LIV tour. In his first LIV tour tournament, he finished third a few weekends ago. The 2018 Masters champion has been unsuccessful at capturing another major victory. However, when he makes the cut at the Open Championship he typically puts together a solid scorecard. In four of his last six tournaments in the Open, he has finishes of 10th, T28th, T12th, and at St Andrew’s T20th back in 2015. If you’re looking for a long shot, Reed at 100/1 looks like an excellent option.
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