2023 Open Championship Round 4 Head-to-Head Pick: Bet Zach Johnson
Pictured: Zach Johnson. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
When the final round of a golf tournament arrives, people always ask the same question: How far is too far back to win?
Well, my model has tracked 112 events over the past few years and found that how far back a golfer is for round four only partially plays into the equation. It also matters how many names are between them and the lead.
My research has only found two occurrences in which a player outside of the top five, and more than five shots back, won the title. Sam Burns at the Colonial (seven back and in 17th place) and Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship (seven back and in seventh place) are the only two to fit that narrative.
If that data holds true to form, the 2023 Open Champion will come from the list below:
Unfortunately, that likely means my dream of back-to-back outright winners will fall flat with Jason Day. That's a little disappointing because my model loved Harman this week and viewed him as a top-20 win equity option at odds outside of 100/1.
My mistake was I didn't see a ton of true win equity in any category other than scrambling. My model viewed Harman as a fringe top-10 player who may not be able to get himself across the finish line, but I didn't add him in nearly any spot that would have made sense. How easy would a top 10 have been in this situation?
However, weeks are decided by more than outright wins.
So, let's see if we can continue the scorching 5-0 mark we have put together in the head-to-head market.
If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter (@TeeOffSports). There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user input to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
Open Championship Final Round Head-to-Head Bet
Zach Johnson (-120) vs. Hurly Long (BetMGM)
If we directly compare head-to-head wagers this week, Zach Johnson (-120) over Hurly Long would be at the bottom of the barrel in terms of value.
Long entered this week in poor form, having missed three consecutive cuts. However, the limited statistical profile I had in my sheet did show possible upside as the German, historically, ranked inside the top 35 at similar tracks when looking at wind play and driving accuracy. We've seen that this week and that's why he made the weekend.
Gamblers should view that as a positive and note this isn't a typical fade candidate. However, the way he's scored over the past three days screams "REGRESSION!"
My sheet believes Long's fair result should be 2.59-shots behind what we've seen from Zach Johnson, a total that has further enhanced a mark I graded around -130 before a ball was struck this week. Johnson has remained a top-50 caliber golfer in my head-to-head ranking system and my proper price of -136 did just enough to crack the threshold I use to recommend a play.
I wouldn't go breaking the bank and assuming my 5-0 run is going to continue Sunday, but the 3.13% long-term edge I see in this price is worth a dabble as we try and close the event strong.