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Scottish Open Betting Tips: Six picks including a 150/1 shot for Scotland

Scottish Open Betting Tips: Tommy Fleetwood heads our six selections for the Renaissance Club
Scottish Open Betting Tips: Tommy Fleetwood heads our six selections for the Renaissance Club

Fresh from another winner with JT Poston at the John Deere Classic priced at 50/1, Jamie Worsley is back with his tips for this week's Scottish Open on the co-sanctioned DP World Tour/PGA Tour event.

With The Open Championship just one week away at St Andrews, the players arrive in Scotland a week early for the start-studded Scottish Open, at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick. This year marks the first year that this prestigious event will be co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour, as part of their Strategic Alliance. With the Barbasol Championship, also taking place this week, open to players of the DP World Tour who didn’t get into this week’s field in Scotland.

Surprisingly new in the grand scheme of things, the Scottish Open was founded in the early 1970s, though has only been staged here at the Tom Doak designed Renaissance Club since 2019, with all three renewals going to a playoff.

Min Woo Lee won over Thomas Detry and Matthew Fitzpatrick last year, having all finished on -18 after four days. Whilst testing conditions were on show in 2020, in which Aaron Rai triumph over Tommy Fleetwood, after both players finished tied on -11. The 2019 edition going to Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, beating France’s Benjamin Hebert after both players finished the week tied on -22.

Once again there are Open Championship spots up for grabs this week, adding extra incentive for those players not already in next week’s field to finish as high as they possibly can. In the hope of nabbing one of those final spots.

Scottish Open Tips

The Course

The Renaissance Club is a par 71, measuring 7293 yards. Not quite the classic links course of its neighbour, the historied Muirfield, this course only opened in 2008 and is more a modern links meets woodland course. Though with exposed fairways, large undulating greens, plenty of pot bunkers that are commonplace in this part of the world and being situated in North Berwick, right on the East coast of Scotland, making it susceptible to wind, it has more than a few elements of classic links golf. 

The course is made up of nine par 4s, five par 3s and four par 5s. The par 4s start and finish quite strong with each of the first two and last two measuring over 460 yards, three of them 480+ and are amongst the toughest holes on the course. Though the five in between are gettable, with four below 450 yards, including the drivable 338 yard 5th hole.

The par 3s are a mix, with the two shorter ones, the 6th and 14th holes yielding lots of birdies, whilst the three at 200 yards + (9,12 & 17) are all challenging. As expected, the main birdie chances all come on the par 5s. 

The main defences of this course are the potential conditions and the tough, often severely undulating greens. Though the fairways are tight and prove tough to hit, there isn’t huge penalty for missing them, providing you miss the bunkers, this shown by these large greens being easy to hit, even in the very tough 2020 renewal, despite the % of fairways found being quite low. 

It’s a very scorable course if conditions allow, shown by the first of the three renewals in 2019 being won on -22 and even though there was some tricky wind, particularly over the weekend last year, it wasn’t enough to stop players making birdies, as -18 was required for a playoff. 

Slotted in between both of those editions is the 2020 renewal, where -11 was enough for a playoff. Windy, wet and cold conditions were on show throughout the week, though it is worth noting that event took place in October, during the covid affected year and as with the other two years, we’re back in the July, pre-Open spot again this year.

It will be setup to play firm and fast. With little rain in the forecast this week and a constant strong breeze, between 10-15mph predicted throughout the four days, with gusts potentially up to 30mph, we could get a course with a little fire in it by the time the weekend rolls around. 

Though strong iron-play is always a plus, I expect with those potentially firmer conditions and constant, if not always severe wind, that the tournament will be won and lost on and around the greens. 

Min Woo Lee excelled most in these areas last year, particularly around-the-greens, where he ranked 2nd in the field, along with 17th in putting and 21st in approach. This also the story with Thomas Detry and Matt Fitzpatrick, who lost the playoff to Lee last year, Detry ranking 1st in approach, 7th in scrambling and 14th on the greens, whilst Fitzpatrick ranked 19th in approach, excelling with the short game, ranking 1st both in putting and scrambling.

These areas appear in those contenders the year prior, despite the contrasting scoring conditions. Aaron Rai ranked 4th in scrambling, 8th around-the-greens and 23rd in each of approach and putting. Whilst Tommy Fleetwood led the field around-the-greens, this time combining it with a strong driving display. 

Whereas in the easiest renewal of the event here at the Renaissance Club in 2019, it’s no surprise to see approach play come to the fore, as winner Wiesberger and runner-up, Benjamin Hebert ranked 3rd and 2nd respectively, combining it with solid putting displays. 

I don’t expect this year’s event to play as easy as the 2019 renewal or as difficult as in 2020, with the 2021 renewal looking the best guide.

Correlating Courses/Events (DP World Tour)

From a DPWT point of view, regular tour stops on links-like and/or exposed courses look the best route. With this it would be sensible to consider any form in Scotland, mainly at the Alfred Dunhill Links, or previous Scottish Opens. Also look at the 2020 Scottish Championship and 2021 Hero Open, both at Fairmont St Andrews, as another modern links-like design.

Form at the Irish Open can also work but not all years, as recent renewals have been staged at more parkland setups. The 2017, 2018 and 2019 editions, played at Portstewart, Ballyliffin and Lahinch worth consideration.

Also worth looking at the 2019 British Masters at Hillside Golf Club, another links meets woodland type golf course.

Outside of form in Britain and Ireland, it may pay to check out form in the Middle East. The Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club, Abu Dhabi Championship at both Abu Dhabi Golf Club and more recently Yas Links, as well as the Saudi International event at Royal Greens all take place on exposed, windy setups and possess many form-ties with links events.

A couple more in Europe to consider are the Dutch Open, particularly the last two years at the very linksy Bernardus Golf, designed by Kingsbarns designer Kyle Phillips. This year’s champion there, Victor Perez is a past winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links and is based in Scotland, whilst runner-up in that event Ryan Fox, is somewhat of a links specialist. Most renewals have been played on linksy courses.

In addition to this I like general form in Nordic Countries, there’s plenty of similar setups up there and they’re events that have often been wind affected. There’s a reason Swedish/Danish golfers typically do so well in and around the UK.

The Made in Denmark, played at Himmerland Golf Resort every year since 2014, barring 2018 appeals the most, as an event with clear links similarities. Bernd Wiesberger a two-time winner there providing a strong link.

I would also throw in the exposed setups of the Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Club and Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria. Links form often correlates nicely with both events.

Correlating Courses/Events (PGA Tour)

We’ll get a better idea of which events correlate with events on the PGA Tour as we play more years of the Scottish Open as a co-sanctioned event. Though there are still a few ways in.

Exposed coastal events should be considered due to the likeliness that wind plays it’s part. The Honda Classic at PGA National makes plenty of appeal, an exposed course positioned right on the Atlantic coast. It’s an event that has produced many an Open Champion, with Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els all tasting success there. Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood, strong links players themselves, both possessing good form there too.

The RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia is played on the exposed Seaside Course, that is styled like a traditional Scottish links and can provide further clues.

In addition to this I like form in Texas, as events there are often windy. TPC San Antonio, which hosts the Texas Open is exposed in places, whilst the Houston Open, previously played at the Golf Club of Houston but now at Memorial Park is an event where strong wind players have always gone well.

Next up is the Sony Open at Waialae Golf Club in Hawaii, wind often plays a part there, with Ernie Els and Zach Johnson amongst the past champions who are both Open champions.

Finally a couple on the West Coast, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach Golf Links, a US Open host and also host of the annual Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Both courses are by the ocean and contain their fair share of holes exposed to the blustery conditions.

The Field

The field here is split straight down the middle, with 75 from the DPWT and 75 from the PGA Tour. Though it’s been growing in strength over recent years, it hits new heights this week, as 14 of the world’s top 15 players will be teeing it up. Rory McIlroy the only player missing. It remains to be seen whether these top players will change from using this event as prep for the big one next week or treating this as a huge title in its own right.

Selections

This was a tough event to work out. Normally in such a strong field I’d be inclined to concentrate heavily on the top of the market but I feel this is different. Not with the same depth as this year’s field but many top players turned up last year and we were left with a top 3 of Min Woo Lee, Thomas Detry and Matt Fitzpatrick, for all many of the top players from the PGA Tour went well. Links golf, the week before a major and with some potentially tricky wind conditions that could cause draw biases etc, I feel it is more open and have decided to fill up on some bigger prices, avoiding the top of the market, that sees Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Justin Thomas share co-favouritism at 12/1.

Instead I start all the way down at 50/1 and am taking Tommy Fleetwood to get back to winning ways this week in Scotland.

Golf Odds
Tommy Fleetwood each-way extra (1/5 8 places)
50/1
Odds correct as of 2022-07-04 16:40 Odds subject to change.

Tommy is low-key putting together a solid, consistent year. He’s missed just two cuts in 16 starts, hitting the top 25 on 9 occasions. His best effort came when finishing 5th in the PGA Championship, with two further top 10s in the shape of an 8th place finish in Saudi at the start of the year and 10th at the Porsche European Open two starts ago. No doubt there’s not enough true contending performances there but he hasn’t been far away.

That previously imperious driver that contributed to Fleetwood being one of the best ball-strikers in the game a few years ago has not quite returned to full strength but he’s certainly driving it better than the really down period he had last year and whilst the approach play has been solid if unspectacular, seeing him rank 76th on the PGA Tour this season, the short-game has been in fine form. Something that appealed greatly this week.

On the PGA Tour this season, Fleetwood ranks 9th around-the-greens, 28th in scrambling and 37th in putting. He’s only failed to gain strokes around-the-greens once on the PGA Tour this year and just three times with the putter.

This combination of an excellent short-game and solid long-game looks perfect for this week if the conditions that are forecast to arrive do so. This has been on show in both of Fleetwood’s visits to the Renaissance Club, where he lost out to Aaron Rai in a playoff in 2020, leading the field around-the-greens and his short-game was also in good form last year when he finished 26th, despite being at the peak of his ball-striking struggles.

Hailing from Southport in the North-West of England, Fleetwood handling links golf or links-like conditions is not a surprise. He was runner-up in The Open in 2019 and has strong correlating form in events not just on the DPWT but on the PGA Tour too. He’s twice finished inside the top 5 at the Honda Classic, finished 2nd amongst other top 10 finishes in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, with some strong form in Qatar to boot.

As he said here in 2020, he just loves these conditions. Though it’s not forecast to be quite that difficult this year, the forecast winds will still find many out and with Fleetwood’s proven liking for this type of golf, in these types of conditions and even at this very course, he should be able to cope with it as well as anyone this week. 

Harold Varner III each-way extra (1/5 8 places)
75/1
Odds correct as of 2022-07-04 16:40 Odds subject to change.

Though still being winless in the US, Harold Varner III is starting to develop a habit for winning events outside his home country, adding this year’s Saudi International to his 2016 Australian PGA Championship win, thanks to holing a monster eagle putt on the 18th green. With a terrific short-game and irons that have been firing for much of this year, I expect him to take to the Renaissance Club on his first try.

Following that win in Saudi, Varner has continued to play well this season, missing just one cut in his last ten starts, with bests of 3rd in the RBC Heritage and 6th in THE PLAYERS Championship.

Much of Varner’s form throughout this year has been engineered with high-class approach play, gaining strokes in every start since his missed cut at Riviera and ranking 28th on the PGA Tour this season. As mentioned, he marries this with a strong short-game, ranking 17th around-the-greens and 44th in scrambling, and while the putter is a weakness, ranking outside the top 100, I am buoyed by his ranking of 10th in three-putt-avoidance, something which should benefit him this week. 

His win in the Saudi showed how he can handle windy conditions on an exposed layout. In addition to this he’s got a solid record in the Honda Classic, making 5/6 cuts there and has recorded a top 10 in Texas, finishing 9th in the 2016 Texas Open.

I feel Varner has a game more well-suited to this week’s test than many of the PGA Tour contingent and while that win stateside still alludes him, he can add another global title to his tally this week in Scotland.

Tyrrell Hatton each-way extra (1/5 8 places)
70/1
Odds correct as of 2022-07-04 16:40 Odds subject to change.

Tyrrell Hatton has hit a bit of a rough patch of form but I just couldn’t let such a high-class player who has an excellent record in this part of the world go off at this type of price.

Hatton’s difficult run of form reads MC-56-MC in his last three starts, the most recent MC coming in last week’s Irish Open, though previous to that he’d played pretty well all year. Indeed his missed cut in Canada three starts ago was his first of the year and in his other 12 starts, he only finished outside the top 25 four times, with four top 10s, the best of them a 2nd place finish in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

For much of the year, every area of his game had looked in good shape but there’s been a significant drop off in iron play over those three poor performances. Something he will need to rectify this week and I’m sure he can, as an area in which he has so often excelled.

That accolade goes to the putter this year though, as by far the standout club in the bag, seeing Hatton rank 5th on the PGA Tour and 2nd in three-putt-avoidance. In addition to this is solid play around-the-greens, ranking 42nd.

Belief that he can rediscover form with his irons this week comes from a strong record here, where he’s recorded 14th and 18th place finishes in two visits, leading the field in approach in 2019. This strong Scottish form is enhanced by a superb record in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, where he’s a two time winner, also finishing runner-up in the 2016 Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, another modern links course.

Hatton has shown ability to bounce back from a poor run of performances with quality next time out, doing it as recently as last year’s Dunhill Links, where he finished 2nd after missing three of his previous four cuts. Coming back to a part of the world he has such an affinity with, I expect Hatton to burst back into life again this week and could make that price look huge by Sunday evening.

Open Championship odds
Alex Noren each-way (1/5 8 places)
80/1
Odds correct as of 2022-07-04 16:45 Odds subject to change.

The theme of strong short-game players continues with Sweden’s Alex Noren. He’s a past Scottish Open winner, winning that 2016 renewal in which Hatton finished 2nd and can go close again this week.

Similarly to Hatton I’m hoping a return to an area of the world and a brand of golf will spark some life into Noren, as he also enters this week with some underwhelming form, missing three of his last four cuts. Though it’s worth mentioning that two of those were in major championships. 

Prior to that, Noren had been enjoying a good season. One in which he’d picked up two top 10s, courtesy of a 6th place finish in the Phoenix Open and 5th in the correlating Honda Classic. With three further top 20s.

He’s been consistent right across the board this year, complimenting an excellent short-game, seeing him rank 14th in scrambling, 33rd in putting and 13th in three-putt-avoidance, with some solid approach play, ranking 67th.  Though the driver isn’t firing quite as accurately as he’d like, he should be benefited by the lack of penalty aside the fairways this week.

Along with that Scottish Open success in 2016, Noren has a good record in The Open, which included two top 10s and a further three top 20s. In addition to this is a 3rd place finish in the Dunhill Links, two top 5s in the Honda Classic and a couple of top 10s in Qatar. All telling me he can go well on his first spin here.

Noren plays the wind well, thanks largely to a low ball flight and should be as comfortable as anyone in this week’s conditions. He can use his past winning experience of this brand of golf to pick up a first title since 2018 this week.

 

Lucas Herbert each-way extra (1/5 8 places)
70/1
Odds correct as of 2022-07-04 16:45 Odds subject to change.

Australia’s Lucas Herbert is the perfect fit for this type of golf, no more on show than finishing 4th here in the last two years. Returning to DPWT action with an impressive 9th place finish at the Irish Open last week as defending champion, he can follow that by adding the Scottish Open to his C.V this week.

Herbert gained a PGA Tour card at the Korn Ferry Tour finals last year and wasted no time in getting to winning ways on the tour, as he won a blustery Bermuda Championship on just his 3rd start as a PGA Tour member. 

Following on this year, Herbert has been inconsistent, largely because of struggles with his long-game but due to the quality of his short-game has managed some eye-catching performances. With a 7th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and 13th in the PGA Championship the best of them.

That superb short-game is what attracted me to him this week and he ranks 2nd in putting on the PGA Tour and 3rd in three-putt-avoidance. This complimented with a solid 47th around-the-greens.

The long-game struggles make him one of the lowest ranked iron players on the PGA Tour, an obvious concern, though I’m hoping he can draw on his past experiences here to improve that area of his game, where he’s played well in approach the last couple of years. The driver isn’t quite as bad and as he’s proven in the previous two years, his waywardness off-the-tee isn’t punished all that much here.

Along with his two 4th place finishes at this venue, Herbert has a top 10 at the Dunhill Links and I also like that win in Bermuda, a windy island nation. Ability to handle the wind is often second nature to Aussie players. 

Most weeks, approach play is king and whilst it’s certainly not an area I’d ignore this week, I feel there’s more ways to get it around here. Herbert has continually shown an ability this year to contend without his irons firing. In conditions and on a course he relishes this week, I think he’ll continue his fantastic record at the Renaissance Club.

Mackenzie Hughes each-way (1/5 8 places)
150/1
Odds correct as of 2022-07-04 16:45 Odds subject to change.

Mackenzie Hughes had been showing some much better form with his irons before his missed cut at the Travelers Championship last time out. If able to combine that with a short-game renowned as one of the best around, he can take to the Renaissance Club right off the bat.

A 16th place finish in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February aside, this year had been one to forget for Hughes, but he’s started to find some consistency over the last couple of months.

It all started with a 9th place finish in the Wells Fargo Championship, a performance that was possible because of rediscovered approach form. Though he then missed his next two cuts, he’s made his next four on the bounce and is showing quality right across his game. 

After previously struggling in ball-striking, he’s gained strokes in three of his last four starts in approach and two of four off-the-tee, when you combine this with a player who ranks 10th on the greens and 25th around them, it’s easy to see where this new-found consistency has come from and I’m hoping he can bring that to Scotland this week. 

No previous visits here but in his one and only Open Championship appearance, Hughes finished 6th last year. In addition to this he won the RSM Classic in 2017, has finished runner-up in the Honda Classic and even showed a liking for Torrey Pines, though in last year’s tough US Open setup, finishing 15th.

A quality short-game is a must for links golf, if able to put his best foot forward in that regard and continue to show progress with his ball-striking Hughes can make his presence felt at the Renaissance Club.

Golf betting tips
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