2017 British Open Golf Picks with Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
It was only a matter of time before Bryson DeChambeau got his first PGA Tour win. He had an amazing college career at SMU and made history during the summer of 2015 when he became just the fifth player to win both the U.S. Amateur and the NCAA individual title in the same year. He turned pro last spring and won the first Web.com Tour Finals event to earn his PGA Tour card.
At the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities on Sunday, DeChambeau started the day four shots behind Patrick Rodgers, but he closed with a back-nine 30 at TPC Deere Run. DeChambeau's14-foot birdie on the 72nd hole gave him a share of the lead. Rodgers bogeyed the 17th and was unable to chip in for birdie on 18 to lose by a shot.
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The 23-year-old DeChambeau became the 19th player to make the John Deere Classic his first career win. He had been 195th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting prior to last week, but at TPC Deere Run he was second in the field. DeChambeau now has his Tour card through the 2018-19 season as well as a spot in this week's British Open and next month's PGA Championship.
My pick last week was Quad Cities resident and de facto tournament host Zach Johnson. He settled for a T5 at 15 under, three behind DeChambeau. I thus hit Johnson for a Top 10 at +200. Not much else, so let's move on.
Now it's the oldest major in golf and my personal favorite: the 146 th British Open. Why do I love this event better than the Masters or U.S. Open? First off, if you've never played links golf I can't really explain how much more natural that feels. It really is how the game of golf is supposed to be played. Then of course there's the wild weather, which is usually the story of the British Open. This week's host is Royal Birkdale on the northwest coast of England. It's a par 70 measuring only 7,156 yards. Guys are going to overpower this course if the wind isn't blowing. That's what is great about golf in the UK: one minute it's high 60s in the summer and beautiful, and five minutes later it's gusting 40 mph-plus and raining sideways. Tee times can be very important if the weather is drastically different in say, the afternoon, compared to the morning.
I'd like to tell you what to expect weather-wise this week, but who really knows? It looks like it will blow some with a decent chance for rain but that's not exactly breaking news. The past three years, the weather has been rather tame at the British Open and we saw winning scores of 20 under, 15 under and 17 under. Royal Birkdale last hosted in 2008 and the weather was brutal. Padraig Harrington won at 3 over. It's the last time someone won at over par in this tournament also the most recent time a golfer repeated as Open champion.
Henrik Stenson had one of the most impressive rounds in golf history last year at Royal Troon with a 63 on Sunday to win at a tournament-record 20 under. That was his first major title. Including Sergio Garcia's win at this year's Masters and Brooks Koepka's at last month's U.S. Open, we have seen seven consecutive first-time major champions. That streak that began with Jason Day in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Oh, I forgot one more very important reason I love this tournament: live betting at 1:35 a.m. ET! That's when the first group will go off in Thursday's first round.
Golf Odds: British Open Favorites
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and No. 3 Jordan Spieth are each +1400. Both are looking for their first British Open victory. Johnson was otherworldly earlier this year with three straight wins but has missed the cut in back-to-back events. His best Open Championship was as a runner-up in 2011. Spieth's best Open is a fourth two years ago. He comes off a victory at the Travelers Championship when he chipped in out of a bunker in a playoff.
Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm are each +1600, and they both are looking for their first major; Fowler seems to always finish in the Top 10 in them but can't quite close. He was a runner-up in the 2014 Open. Rahm comes off a European Tour win and was 56th last year in his Open debut.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia (+1800) is the only other golfer below +2000. Garcia has three straight Top 6 finishes in the British Open and seven Top 10s in the tournament since 2005.
Golf Odds: British Open Picks
Keep in mind that if there's a playoff, it's four-hole aggregate score. Zach Johnson won the last one in 2015.
For a Top 10, I like Fowler (+135), Sergio (+160), Hideki Matsuyama (+175) and Tommy Fleetwood (+200), who grew up practically on this course. Rory McIlroy (-125) should easily be the top Irishman. I like Fowler at +600 as top American, Louis Oosthuizen (+200) as top South African, Fleetwood (+400) as top Englishman and Garcia (+325) as top continental European.
You can bet on guys to make or miss the cut, which is always a good prop. I might take Bubba Watson at +110 to miss. Go Oosthuizen (+115) over Phil Mickelson (-115), Garcia (-115) over Justin Rose (-115), Matsuyama (-115) over McIlroy (-115), Spieth (-125) over Rahm (-105), Fowler (-105) over Dustin Johnson (-125), and Fleetwood (-125) over Stenson (-105).
I somewhat like Matsuyama to win but I prefer the prop of Johnson, Spieth and Fowler at +375 against the field (-600). There's no prop like that involving Matsuyama. You can also get Spieth and Fowler at +650 vs. the field (-1200), and I believe Fowler has a great chance to take the Claret Jug and his first major.
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