Sobel’s Scottish Open Preview: Betting Matthew Fitzpatrick and a Host of Longshots
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matthew Fitzpatrick
- The PGA Tour takes a back seat to the European Tour this week in the run-up to the British Open.
- If you’re looking to bet on the PGA’s John Deere Classic, Kyle Stanley stands out as good value at 24-1.
- Matthew Fitzpatrick (45-1) is my favorite pick on the board at the Scottish Open. Before last week’s missed cut, he had been on a roll.
Before I write about this week’s main event, let’s get the undercard out of the way.
You know, that smaller tournament. The one we won’t be giving as much attention. The one with the weaker field. The one being played on … the PGA Tour.
For the third consecutive week, it can be argued that the more compelling professional event is being contested on the European Tour rather than its U.S. counterpart. In fact, this time there really is no argument. I love the down-homey-ness of the John Deere Classic, right down to its tractor tee markers, but all eyes will be focused on the Scottish Open in advance of next week’s festivities at Carnoustie.
With that in mind, let’s quickly race through the John Deere picks like a tractor working with limited daylight.
Joaquin Niemann (+1500 to win, +125 for top-10) is going to win and he’s going to win soon. It might not be this week, but ask yourself this question: Are you going to regret jumping ship when he’s this ready to break through? I thought so.
Kyle Stanley (+2400 to win, +200 for top-10) is also poised to win soon. Steve Stricker once ripped this title away from him, but knowing he’s already in next week’s major should afford Stanley a nothing-to-lose attitude here.
Patrick Rodgers (+4500 to win, +375 for top-10) has long been an anomaly. Once considered just a notch below Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas on the Next Breakthrough Star list, he’s still waiting for his turn. But last year’s runner-up finish should offer some good vibes this time around.
Kevin Tway (+6500 to win, +550 for top-10) has been all-or-nothing lately. In his past six starts, three have been ninth or better, and three have been 65th or worse. Against a weaker field, here’s guessing he’ll repeat the former before the latter.
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Stanley
OK, now let’s move on to this week’s main event, where 20 of the world’s top 50 will tee it up at Gullane for the Open Championship appetizer.
The host track is a traditional links course with plenty of history — including serving as the venue for this tourney three years ago, when Rickie Fowler earned the victory.
That seems like as good a place as any to start with the picks.
+1000 to win, -120 for top-10
I was having a conversation with a Twitter follower recently and hinted that I’d once again recommend Rickie at Carnoustie due to a fear of Fowler FOMO — I’ve picked him so often over the years, I don’t want to jump ship now that land is finally within view. Might as well take him here, too, as he’s shown he can win this one.
+1900 to win, +160 for top-10
With finishes of T-6 and T-16 in his past two starts, Hatton is trending in the right direction. His final-round 66 was the second-lowest Sunday score on this track three years ago.
+2400 to win, +200 for top-10
He doesn’t get the credit, but Kuch has turned himself into one of the more proficient links players around. His steady brand of keeping balls out of the wind and in the fairways works well here. And remember: He’s only a few Spieth miracles from being the reigning Open champ.
+3000 to win, +250 for top-10
I generally refrain from picking defending champions — especially when they’re defending on a different track — but Brooks Koepka’s recent U.S. Open win is forcing me to re-evaluate life. RCB is certainly capable of pulling a Koepka this week.
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rickie Fowler
+4500 to win, +375 for top-10
At this value, he’s easily my favorite pick on the board. Before last week’s MC, he’d finished top 30 in five of his past six starts. He’s going to win something — soon.
+6000 to win, +500 for top-10
After a few down years, Westwood is showing some signs of life recently. On a track that requires strategy over power, he should be able to keep that going.
+7000 to win, +550 for top-10
Another guy I can’t get away from, Frittelli owns big-time talent and should see it come to fruition against some big-time players soon.
+8000 to win, +675 for top-10
Let’s call this a karma pick. Last week, G-Mac became a casualty of airline inefficiency, as his clubs didn’t make it to the Open qualifier location. Sometimes the world owes you one.
+10000 to win, +800 for top-10
He’s missed four straight cuts, but I’m still excited to see this wedge-master on a links track. Aussies traditionally fare well on these courses, and if Smith’s short game is on, he’s a great value pick.
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cameron Smith
+11000 to win, +900 for top-10
Still motivated for a spot on the Ryder Cup team in his native France, this is an especially important two-week stretch for Levy.
+11000 to win, +900 for top-10
One of my favorite interviews in golf, the dude nicknamed “The Dude” will have to follow his own advice from the 2012 Ryder Cup this week: “You’ve got to go with what’s in your pants.”
+13000 to win, +1050 for top-10
For those who like their longshots especially long, Southgate could be an intriguing pick. He finished T-5 two weeks ago in France.