2019 British Open Final Round Betting Roundtable: Can Shane Lowry Be Caught?

Credit:

Steve Flynn, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tommy Fleetwood

  • After three rounds, Shane Lowry is the odds-on favorite to win the 2019 Open Championship.
  • Our golf experts share their thoughts on Lowry's current odds, if any longshots can catch up and how the weather will change things on Sunday.

The 2019 British Open concludes on Sunday morning (earlier than usual) and Shane Lowry is the one to catch at 16-under par.

Lowry, who will head into the final round as the odds-on favorite, owns a four-stroke lead over Tommy Fleetwood, who sits alone in second place.

As we head into Sunday, our golf experts chat about all the big talking points at Royal Portrush. Does the weather open things up for a longshot down the board to catch Lowry and Fleetwood? Is there value backing the leader at his current price?

Check out their thoughts for the final 18 holes at Royal Portrush:

Which player benefits the most from poor weather conditions?

Justin Bailey:

Shane Lowry probably stands to benefit the most from poor weather conditions. Per Fantasy National, he’s averaged 1.53 strokes gained in tournaments featuring extreme wind. If conditions are nasty on Sunday, he should have a good chance to protect his lead.

Jason Sobel:

No doubt Lowry is a superior player in extreme conditions, but the more the wind blows, the better the chance of high turnover on the leaderboard. Brooks Koepka essentially said this after the round.

Any player chasing a Sunday leader is always hoping for the greatest number of variables possible. Moving up those tee times might’ve been the equivalent of etching that “Sh” onto the Claret Jug.

Bryan Mears:

As Bailey and Sobel mentioned, Lowry should do just fine in wind; he’s used to these conditions, and the data backs up his play. Some other guys to monitor who likely won’t win but could be interesting for Sunday-only DFS tournaments are Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm, all of whom have great Strokes Gained metrics across their double-digit rounds in very windy conditions.

Which player benefits the least from poor weather?

Jason Sobel:

Hang with me here, but there’s a connection: Players always play slower in poor weather, especially when that includes blustery winds. J.B. Holmes is already a notoriously slow player.

Brooks Koepka absolutely abhors slow play — and yet, he’ll be paired with Holmes in windy conditions on Sunday. He usually doesn’t offer much emotion, but his insides are gonna be pulling a Jon Rahm-like meltdown.

Bryan Mears:

Brooks also has poor history in wind, ranking 106th out of 111 players in Fantasy National’s database among guys who have played in very windy conditions. Other really poor wind players per that stat are Thorbjorn Olesen, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Adam Hadwin. Moving up the tee times will help a bit, but Sunday will feature tough gusts nearly all day. Those guys aren’t in contention, but you can likely find ways to fade them in head-to-head props or DFS tournaments.

Lowry is the odds-on favorite with Tommy Fleetwood behind him at +350, can you see anyone making it a three-horse race?

Jason Sobel:

Yes — but it’s all dependent on Lowry. If he posts a score of 68 or 69, he’ll basically stiff-arm everyone else and keep ‘em from contending. I’m not sure he will. Back in 2016, Lowry led the U.S. Open by a similar four-shot differential after finishing the third round on Sunday morning.

He went on to shoot 76 in the final round after admitting he’d been visualizing the victory. Maybe I’m reading too much into the situation, but he sure looked like he was basking in a celebration after Saturday’s round, as opposed to keeping his game face. If he stalls, that brings a bunch of guys back into the mix.

Justin Bailey:

With projected windy conditions later in the day, just about anything could happen. The course has played over par each of the three days, but Lowry is dialed in with just three bogeys for the whole tournament. It would likely take a full Lowry ejection and maybe one of the elite golfers from the -8 or -9 range to make a surge and make it a three-horse race.

Bryan Mears:

I agree with the guys above. It’s pretty obvious; this all comes down to Lowry. Wind makes things more random, but it also makes it much less likely that a player is going to go 8 or 9 under. I think that means if Lowry is stable and doesn’t implode with a significantly-over-par round, he’ll win. I would be surprised if anyone other than Fleetwood could catch him if he simply went even on the day.

What number would you need to bet Lowry to win the Open heading into Sunday?

Jason Sobel:

He’s listed anywhere from -175 to -225 and while I think he’ll probably win, I’ve seen too many Sunday afternoon car wrecks at majors to bet this at anything less than even-money. Not suggesting he’ll pull a Jean Van de Velde, but just imagine live-betting him in 1999 when he was a “sure thing” to win.

Justin Bailey:

With a sizeable lead, and how well Lowry plays in the wind, I’d probably bet him all the way down to -200, depending on your book, you might even be able to find a better number than that.

Bryan Mears:

I’ve seen some -150 or -175 numbers floating around, and I think there’s absolutely value there. Think of it this way: With the wind (see my note above), I think this mostly comes down to Lowry vs. Fleetwood in a pseudo head-to-head. Lowry is four strokes up and is -175? Yeah, that seems a bit low to me.

How many strokes back do you think is too many to catch the leader?

Jason Sobel:

It’s less about strokes than the number of players between a specific contender and the leader. Four players are currently at T-8, nine shots off the lead, and that feels about as far as I’ll go before I think it’s impossible to leapfrog so many other contenders.

Justin Bailey:

There are some elite name sitting between -7 and -9, and that’s about as far back as I would go. But, for them to catch Lowry, they’d need to put together some of the best rounds of the tournament and Lowry would have to completely collapse.

Josh Perry:

I don’t see anyone past Rose and Koepka at -9 being live.

If the weather is as bad as it’s supposed to be, shooting under par could be a struggle. For the guys at least eight back, it’s going to be hard to make up ground. They’ll be relying more on the field to come back to them.

But it’s more likely that someone at the top just grinds out a round near par or the Lowry shoots something in the 75 range, which would be more than enough to eliminate everyone outside the top 5.

Bryan Mears:

I guess I’ll say that group in the -9 range — Brooks and Rose — although that’s an incredible stretch and people will be interested solely because it’s those guys. As mentioned above, I think this is Lowry’s tournament to lose, and the only guy close enough to catch him in my opinion is Fleetwood. We’ll see if I’m wrong.

Justin Rose is 20-1 to win the British Open entering the Final Round. Ian Rutherford, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Justin Rose

Is there any player from more than 6 strokes back that could be worth a flier?

Jason Sobel:

Jon Rahm is among those guys at 7-under and nine back. He’s shown a propensity for going low. Don’t think I’d bet him right now at 66-1, but if he posts a couple of early birdies, I might jump on board.

Justin Bailey:

At the time of writing, there isn’t anyone that piques my interest that far back. Rickie Fowler at 40-1 could be somewhat intriguing with his stellar play in incelement weather, but you’d need a lot of things to go right for that bet to pan out. This far back is a pass for me.

Josh Perry:

No, I think Shane has this where he wants. I trust him as much as anyone in this field in the conditions were expecting to see.

And if he slips up for some reason, Fleetwood has also shown the ability to grind out tough rounds, like he did in the US Open. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t one of those two winning on Sunday.

Bryan Mears:

As of right now, no. I think Lowry is the best value given how many strokes he’s up on the field and the likely conditions tomorrow. It’s always enticing to bet names like Brooks and Rose at low numbers, but I think their odds of winning are below their market odds.

What is your favorite matchup play for Round 4?

Jason Sobel:

Xander Schauffele (-150) over Cameron Smith

I’ve been impressed with Smith so far this week, after a tumultuous season that can only be described as disappointing so far. At some point, though, I think his luck runs out — if it didn’t already Saturday, with an even-par 71. Schauffele has been a top-10 machine at majors, based largely on some gritty final rounds. Give me the known commodity with X-man going comparatively low once again.

Justin Bailey:

Henrik Stenson (+105) over Jordan Spieth

Matt Kuchar over Jordan Spieth was my target in Round 3 and that was pushed. I’ll go back to shorting Spieth again, but this time with Henrik Stenson, who is one of the best links players on tour.

Josh Perry:

Stenson (+105) over Spieth

Tagging along with Justin here to target Spieth again.

Stenson is one of the best ball strikers in the world and the emphasis on that will be ramped up in adverse conditions. Spieth has been struggling finding fairways in calm conditions, but has avoided disaster to this point. With the wind picking up, it’s likely he could stray even further off line and put up a couple big numbers.

Bryan Mears:
Jon Rahm (+115) over Brooks Koepka

I’m probably going to regret this. Brooks has only finished in the top six in seven of his last nine majors, including top-two in each of the last four. He’s been a bad wind player historically, although it’s possible we need to discount that data in the same way you have to discount all of Brooks’ non-major data. Still, Rahm is one of the better wind players, and while people will likely cite Brooks missing putt after putt on Saturday, Rahm did the same. Jon actually bested him in greens hit and was slightly worse putting. Again, I might (will probably) regret this.

In general, my strategy tomorrow in head-to-head matchups is going to be gobbling up as many plus-odds players as I can find. Some players are better in wind than others, but a lot of studies show that extreme wind gusts really make things incredibly random. If that’s the case, you’re getting good value on plus odds when most matchups should be -115/-115 (assuming 30-cent juice on these).

Will you be placing an outright bet before the Final Round?

Jason Sobel:

Not before it, no. Like I wrote earlier, it’s hard not to think Lowry is going to win, but I don’t like him enough to bet him at -225, and I don’t like his chances of blowing it enough to cover the board on anyone/everyone else. All of which is a shame, because I’d love to live-bet this thing.

Justin Bailey:

As it stands, I don’t plan on placing an outright just yet. If I do, I’d prefer to find Lowry for -175, but I’d still lay -200 considering the circumstances of this tournament.

Josh Perry:

I’ll back Lowry. I think that -175 number is a slight on how good he is. He’s not a flukey major leader. He’s won a WGC title and been in this spot before. This is just a four-shot lead with a pack trailing behind.

He’s up seven on everyone but Fleetwood and J.B. Holmes. There are far less chasers to concern himself with. He really doesn’t have to worry too much about a low round coming from the back to put pressure on because he pulled so far ahead of most of the field.

It’s a situation we’ve seen a few times on tour in the last few weeks where guys have just stretched their lead to the point where outside of a small group of 4-5 players, everyone else is probably out of it.

Bryan Mears:

Lowry at anything below -200.

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