The Open Championship Round 3 Best Bets: Jon Rahm, Tony Finau Providing Value Entering Moving Day
Warren Little/R&A/R&A via Getty Images. Pictured: Tony Finau.
The opening rounds of The Open Championship haven’t produced the scoring or weather we’ve come to expect from this event, as 52 players are under par. While it has lacked in difficulty, it certainly hasn’t lacked excitement or star power. The top of the leaderboard is littered with some of the world’s top players , many with a chance to life the Claret Jug after Sunday’s final round.
The first one that jumped away from the pack Friday was one of the young stars in Collin Morikawa, who posted a 6-under 64 in the morning wave to get in at 9 under par. His lead would stand through a larger portion of the day until the late afternoon groups, featuring Jordan Spieth and later Louis Oosthuizen.
Spieth looked to be the one ready to post a low round and set the pace for the weekend, but when it stalled, it was the first-round leader from South Africa who took control. Oosthuizen would go through a birdie, birdie, eagle stretch on the back nine to get all the way out to 12 under.
He would eventually have his first bogey of the event on the 16th hole, which would allow him to tie the 36-hole scoring record for The Open Championship. Oosthuizen will play with Morikawa in Saturday’s final pairing, while Spieth and another South African in Dylan Frittelli will play in the penultimate duo.
There is a lot of golf left, and we saw a bit of a wobble from the leader down the stretch. I expect we’ll see someone go really low and get in the mix at Royal St. George’s. Let’s see where we can find some value heading into the weekend of season’s final major tournament.
Jon Rahm (+185) — Top European at FanDuel
Coming into the week, Rahm was a sizable favorite in this market and enters the third round a shot behind Andy Sullivan and tied with Paul Casey. It took an opening-round 1 over to drop Rahm down the leaderboard, as he was unable to get much going after double bogeying Thursday’s ninth hole.
The U.S. Open champion turned it all around Friday, missing just one green in a 6-under effort to climb right back into the thick of this major championship.
I believe there will be a moment this weekend where Rahm will be in the mix to be a factor for the win, which really gives him value at nearly 2-1 odds in a limited market like Top European finisher.
Tony Finau (+280) — Top 10 at FanDuel
The form for Finau coming into the week was understandably a concern, as he was off of back-to-back missed cuts on the PGA TOUR and hadn’t posed a Top 20 since in May. He salvaged an even-par round in difficult conditions Thursday, then really got things together in the second round.
Finau hit 15 greens in regulation Friday, posting one of the better rounds of the day with a 5-under 65. He will start the weekend six shots back of the leader, but that’s where we prefer him to be as he will have no pressure on him come Moving Day. I really like the trends we’ve seen from him in the more difficult wave this week, plus he looks poised to be a factor for another Top-10 finish in a major. That said, there’s still value there on him at +280 odds on FanDuel.
Ryan Fox +250 — Top 20 at FanDuel
One of the lesser known players that’s standing out is Fox. The Australian has done some solid work through two rounds, both from of the tougher wave.
He sits at 4 under par heading to the weekend, and is a long hitter that has been able to take advantage of the short track at Royal St. George’s. Fox has really dialed it in with his irons, where he missed just three greens in each of the opening two rounds. He’s a player that ranks 10th on the European Tour in birdies per round this season. And with the benign conditions, he makes for a solid play in DFS this weekend, but also has staying power on the leaderboard.
It might be a stretch for him to find the Top 10 with all of the big names, but the +900 odds on FanDuel reflect that opportunity. My official play is instead at +250 for a Top 20, though I plan to sprinkle them both.