The 149th Open Championship kicks off at 1:45 a.m. ET on Thursday morning and the conditions are expected to be brutal all week with gusts of over 25 miles per hour at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England.
Royal St. George's is waiting ⛳ ?pic.twitter.com/H0kUEKmQHX
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 15, 2021
The 2021 Open Championship is no exception to this rule and with the longshots that tend to compete in the final major of the year, there are plenty of golfers to back to play well, but not necessarily to hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday afternoon at Royal St. George’s.
Louis Oosthuizen Top-10 Finish (+250)
The first golfer to bet on for a top-10 finish at The Open Championship is Louis Oosthuizen (+250), a perennial contender at major championships even though he has only won one. Oosthuizen finished as the runner-up at both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open.
He owns a top-five finish in three of the last four majors, as well as in six of the last 12 majors. He is one of the best major championship golfers on the planet right now and the 2010 Open Champion should be able to put together another strong major outing this week.
His lone PGA Tour win may be that Open title back in 2010, but he has been no stranger to victories on the European Tour and he loves links golf. He has not been able to get that elusive second major to date and it may very well elude him again this week, but he has given the public no reason to believe he cannot collect another top-10 finish at +250.
Tommy Fleetwood Top-10 Finish (+300)
The second golfer to take this week for a top-10 finish is Englishman Tommy Fleewtood (+300). Fleetwood has shot under par in seven of the last eight rounds he has played in, with top-26 finishes in both the Irish and Scottish Opens.
He has a tendency to step up his play when the stage gets brightest, with runner-up finishes at the 2018 U.S. Open and the last installment of this event at the 2019 Open Championship. Fleetwood has five European Tour titles in his career, so he will be no stranger to the difficult conditions that Royal St. George’s will pose this week.
At 3-1, it is worth backing Fleetwood to finish with another major championship top-10 finish.
Scottie Scheffler Top-10 Finish (+400)
The third golfer to back for a top-10 finish this week is Scottie Scheffler (+400). The former Texas Longhorn does not have a ton of experience playing overseas on links golf courses, but he showed no struggles last week.
After shooting 1-over par last Thursday at the Scottish Open, as he was able to rally over the final three rounds to finish tied for 12th. He shot 8-under par in the second round and with seven top-10 finishes already in the 2021 season, there is no reason to believe he cannot get another one this week.
Scheffler has the ability to hit the ball low, which should be helpful considering the 25+ miles per hour gusts that will be in play all four days of the tournament. At 4-1, back the 25-year-old to finish inside the top-10 for the third consecutive major championship.
Lee Westwood Top-10 Finish (+450)
The final golfer worth a top-10 bet this week is Englishman Lee Westwood (+450). Westwood has had a career resurgence this season with two runner-ups on the PGA Tour and a good outing last week at the Scottish Open.
He was in the lead last week after 45 holes of golf, before falling apart on the back nine last Saturday and eventually fading all the way to a 35th-place finish. Phil Mickelson proved at the PGA Championship that age is just a number with his sixth major championship victory and Westwood may have just enough magic left in the tank to compete in his home country this week.
He would love to join his fellow countryman and friend Darren Clarke and win the Claret Jug at Royal St. George’s, but that might be a stretch. Just to be safe, take him at +450 to finish inside the top 10.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout Top-20 Finish (+250)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout is worth a bet at +250 to finish inside the top 20. He was tied for fifth place entering the final round at the PGA Championship before shooting a final round 77.
And in a similar fashion, he was tied for ninth place in the U.S. Open entering the final round before shooting a 76. He is a young player who clearly let his nerves get the best of him in those events.
But he has more experience on the European Tour and should be able to maintain his composure this week and play great golf for all four rounds this time around – or at least play well enough to finish inside the top 20.
Corey Conners Top-20 Finish (+300)
Conners ranks ninth in strokes gained tee-to-green and eighth in strokes gained on approach to the green on the PGA Tour in 2021. The Canadian is one of the best ball strikers in the world, but he has struggled with his putter at times this season.
In the windy conditions that we will see this week at Royal St. George’s, ranking third in strokes gained tee-to-green in winds over 15 miles per hour and with gusts up to 25 mph should benefit him greatly this week.
Conners showed that he can make enough putts to collect a top 20 in a major when he finished 17th at the PGA Championship, another course that featured high winds. Back the 29-year-old at 3-1 to finish inside the top 20 in the final major of the season.
Top Matchup Plays to Bet
Kevin Kisner (-125) over Francesco Molinari
The best matchup play of the week is Kevin Kisner (-125) over Francesco Molinari. Kisner is no stranger to success at Open Championships, with a runner-up finish in 2018 at Carnoustie.He has finished inside the top 10 in each of his last two starts and should be able to put together a solid week of golf here.
Molinari happened to win that 2018 Open Championship after fending off Kisner and Tiger Woods, but he has fallen off the map since his meltdown at The 2019 Masters. He has had a slight career resurgence this season, but he is far less consistent than Kisner.
And even though Molinari played here in 2011, he missed the cut then and should not have much of an advantage over those who did not participate in that event. Back Kisner as a short favorite to put together a solid showing and Molinari to be all over the place this week at a course that requires precision.
Joaquin Niemann (+125) over Daniel Berger
The second-best matchup play this week is to take Joaquin Niemann (+125) to finish ahead of Daniel Berger. Niemann finished runner-up of his last start at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, marking it his third runner-up finish of the 2021 season.
He ranks 12th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained off the tee this season, which should come in handy this week as he hits the ball far and usually down the middle of the fairway. He is inconsistent with his putter, but he has made 20 of 21 cuts this season for a reason. His ball striking is about as good as it gets in the world. Meanwhile, Berger was one of the few top golfers in the world who chose not to play in the Scottish Open last week.
He chose instead to stay in the U.S. and participated in the John Deere Classic in Illinois. Berger does not have much experience playing links golf and with a highest finish of 27th place at The Open Championship in 2017, the best bet is to take the 23-year-old Niemann at plus-money to find himself ahead of Berger on the leaderboard late Sunday afternoon.
Dean Burmester (-110) over Talor Gooch
The third matchup play for the 149th Open Championship is for South African Dean Burmester (-110) to finish ahead of Talor Gooch. Burmester is a European Tour veteran who will be making his Open Championship debut this week, but he does own two wins on the European Tour.
He played in the Scottish Open last week and shot over par in Round One, but figured it out over the weekend, including carding a back-nine 28 on Saturday. Gooch is the 64th-ranked golfer in the world, but has little experience playing links golf.
The reasoning for taking Burmester in this matchup is simple: back the player with links golf experience in Burmester to be the last one standing between the two similarly talented competitors.
Cameron Smith (+110) over Webb Simpson
The fourth matchup play for The Open Championship this week is Cameron Smith (+110) to finish ahead of Webb Simpson. Smith finished 30th at the Travelers Championship late last month and has been resting up for the final major of the year for the last few weeks, so he should be fresh this week.
Meanwhile, Simpson has missed the cut in each of his last two events he has played in and before that he had only played in two events over a 10-week span, which indicates that he could be playing through an injury.
This bet is simple. Bet on certainty at plus-money with Smith over the huge question mark that is Simpson right now.
Tyrell Hatton (-110) over Bryson DeChambeau
The final matchup bet to make is to take Tyrell Hatton (-110) to finish ahead of the rattled Bryson DeChambeau. Hatton has shown over his career that he is one of the best links golfers on the planet and although his major championship history is shaky, he owns two top-10 finishes at The Open.
On the other side, DeChambeau just lost his long-time caddie prior to missing the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and has not been playing consistent golf since his back-nine collapse at Torrey Pines in the U.S. Open. Royal St. George’s Golf Club is not going to allow him to bomb his way around the course and if he continues to miss fairways, he is going to find himself in trouble early and often.
The smart thing to do is to back the links golf veteran over the bomber who will find himself in way too much trouble all over this course, and with an inexperienced caddy with whom he has no chemistry to help bail him out.
One Longshot Prop
Justin Thomas to Finish with 2+ Eagles at The Open Championship (+600)
One of the more fun prop bets to take this week will be for Justin Thomas to eagle two or more holes at the 2021 Open Championship. He ranks eighth in the PGA Tour in eagles made in the 2021 season and is finally turning a corner with his golf game for the first time since his win at The Players Championship back in early March.
Thomas collected a tie for eighth place at the Scottish Open last week and made a 90-foot eagle putt in his opening round, but was unable to collect another eagle the rest of the week, despite having plenty of shorter eagle putts throughout the week.
It will be a tough task, but with Thomas likely to make the cut and wanting to win his second major championship, back Thomas at 6-1 to reach two eagles during the 149th edition of The Open Championship.