Ben Curtis was the 396th-ranked player in the world when he hoisted the Claret Jug at the 2003 Open Championship.
The following year, a guy named Todd Hamilton emerged from obscurity at Royal Troon and beat Ernie Els in a playoff to claim the title of Champion Golfer of the Year.
At the time, Hamilton was ranked 818th in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and had missed seven of his last eight cuts.
Nobody expected Stewart Cink to win at Turnberry, and I can point toward Darren Clarke coming out of nowhere at Royal St. George to secure the first and only major of his career.
It’s not always the household names who win the crown jewel of European golf tournaments. Once in a while, sleepers find ultimate success in the British Open.
Could 2019 be one of those years?
It’s easy to look at the 2019 Open Championship odds and be excited about some of the favorites, as anyone with a working brain knows that Brooks Koepka has what it takes to lift the Claret Jug.
Tiger Woods has patiently waited for this opportunity, and a Rory McIlroy win at Royal Portrush wouldn’t surprise anybody.
However, there are some names on the British Open betting sheet much further down the list who offer serious value at their current price tags. In fact, five guys are standing out in particular.
To put it simply, Matt Kuchar struggled over the years when competing across the pond, as he had only cracked the top 25 twice in his first 12 tries at an Open Championship. But things changed two summers ago when Matt finished runner-up at the 2017 British Open, falling victim to the heroics displayed by Jordan Spieth down the stretch at Royal Birkdale.
“Kuch” backed that performance up with a tie for 9th at Carnoustie in 2018, leading me to believe that Matt is starting to figure this links golf thing out.
Even more relevant, Kuchar arrives at the 148th Open Championship in the midst of his best season on tour. Considering how consistently solid the former Georgia Tech standout has been over the past dozen or so years, that should raise your eyebrow when it comes to his +5000 price tag.
Aside from already winning twice (this season), Kuchar has registered a pair of second-place showings and has accumulated a total of eight top 10s. Ranked third in greens in regulation (GIR) and seventh in scrambling, here’s a guy who will persevere through tough conditions and knows how to get his ball in the hole.
In terms of getting off to a quick start, Matt leads the tour in round one scoring average and is fifth when it comes to round two. In a nutshell, I think an appropriate price for the guy atop the FedEx Cup Points standings would be in the +3500 range.
Why not take a stab at +5000?
Before I go any further, know that Rafa Cabrera-Bello’s odds to win the British Open are down to +6600 at several of the top-rated online golf sportsbooks. Also know that in his last two starts over the past few weeks, Cabrera-Bello has logged a couple of top-4 finishes.
Rafa shot 13 under par to place third at the BMW International Open and followed by shooting 13 under par again at the Irish Open (T-4th). And although the 35-year-old Spaniard hasn’t fared too well in the 2019 majors (36th, 71st, 65th), Cabrera-Bello notched a top-5 at the 2017 Open Championship.
So why is MyBookie.ag seemingly asleep at the wheel, failing to alter his price despite the solid form he has demonstrated heading in?
After some further analysis I’m confident that this is a wager offering good betting value. I threw a few bucks down just in case it all comes together, and I recommend heading over to MyBookie.ag and doing the same.
For a 24-year-old kid, this dude has quite the wealth of experience playing in prestigious golf tournaments all over the world. Despite not being old enough to rent a car without an additional fee in the United States, the 148th Open will mark Matthew Fitzpatrick’s 19th start in a major championship.
The 31st player in the world flies in severely under the radar when you take into account all the potential storylines, but I happen to love the way Matt’s game sets up for a difficult test at the links-style course.
Perhaps an unfamiliar name to golf fans in America, Fitzpatrick has won five times on the European Tour and finished 12th at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Known as a straight hitter and terrific putter, I could see him staying out of trouble at Royal Portrush’s Dunluce Course, which, in turn, should lead to some success.
Keeping the squares off of the card won’t be easy, which is why the guy I want in my corner is someone who excels when the going gets tough. The Englishman finished second at the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the best players in the world.
I like Matthew as a sneaky player to find his name in the mix at the Open, which is why I felt the urge to invest. Imagine waking up next Sunday to find Fitzpatrick’s name on page one of the leaderboard.
Wouldn’t you feel left out if you didn’t own a small piece of the action?
Those wondering how Marc Leishman has fared in past British Opens, allow me to swiftly fill you in.
During his last five trips to the Open Championship, Marc has connected on all five cuts, finishing inside the top six on three separate occasions.
Born and raised in a region of Australia where the wind commonly blows upwards of 25 mph, “Leish” thrives when playing in gale forces while others would rather complain. The Aussie golfer and father of three has cooled off since his lights-out start to begin the season, but he has shown signs of life over the past five weeks.
Leishman enters Royal Portrush on the heels of three consecutive top 35s, highlighted by a fifth at the Memorial in early June. Salvaging pars from precarious positions will be crucial at the Dunluce Course, so we can all find comfort knowing that Marc tops the PGA Tour when scrambling from 20-30 yards, getting his ball up and down more than 71% of the time.
An individual who hits it far and can get hot with the putter is the perfect type of player to target when looking for a sleeper who could win, and Marc Leishman undoubtedly fits that bill. I was even able to find some extra incentive (from his +5000 price) by spotting him at +5500 at MyBookie.ag.
Kevin Kisner was oh-so-close to capturing the Open Championship last summer at Carnoustie, eventually tying for second place a couple of shots behind Francesco Molinari. Just how badly does Kisner want to sip some alcohol out of the Claret Jug?
Well, no shortcuts are being taken this time around in his quest to get his hands on the most coveted piece of hardware in professional golf.
Rather than play in the John Deere Classic and risk not getting used to the time change before Thursday’s opening round, Kevin decided to head to the UK early and take part in the Scottish Open. He even squeezed in a round at the acclaimed North Berwick Golf Club with Justin Thomas on Monday, familiarizing himself with links golf as much as he possibly can.
The fact that he won the WGC Match Play in the spring tells me he’s not afraid of the pressure-packed moments. The idea that he’s a tremendously sound putter and knows how to keep his ball on the ground has me salivating over him being installed at +10000 to win at various sites.
Kevin might not hit soft high cuts like Rory and Dustin can, but his piercing low draw bodes really well on links-style golf courses. Had Kevin been listed at +5000, I probably would have glossed over his name.
With that being said, seeing a +10000 payout attached was too glaring to pass up.
Get Ready for a Special Week!
“Open Championship week” is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Setting my alarm for the crack of dawn to watch Saturday and Sunday’s rounds is a tradition in the Michael Wynn household. Regardless of who is leading and who missed the cut, seeing the festivities unfold is going to have me glued to the sofa.
If one of my sleepers ends up with a chance to win strolling down the back nine on Sunday, I suspect my exhilaration level will be through the roof.