The Open specials: Schauffele for fast start
Odds and preview for The Open specials
The Open Championship at Royal St George’s starts on Thursday and offers some interesting betting opportunities as we take a look at The Open specials market.
A windy, coastal links course that measures 7,211 yards will test the very best and we have already looked at the outright market for our Open betting tips but now we examine the other markets that Coral have on offer.
Each round of the The Open Championship will be broadcast on Sky Sports, with coverage starting on Thursday at 6.30am.
The three outright first-round leaders who have gone on to win The Open in the past quarter of a century are Rory McIlroy (2014), Tiger Woods (2005) and Seve Ballesteros (1988). Sergio Garcia (2007) and Adam Scott (2012) also led from the first round until faltering at the death.
At first glance, first-round leaders should be a volatile market, yet results in majors offer some hope of solving the puzzle.
Texan Jordan Spieth, who won the Open in 2017, was a co-leader on Thursday at Royal Birkdale shooting a 65, Justin Rose is a perennial leader at Augusta, and Dustin Johnson has led numerous times at the US Open.
Spieth is a 28/1 chance to lead The Open after round one. He shot a 67 on day one at St Andrews in 2015, and has scored low in first rounds this term at Pebble Beach, the Byron Nelson and the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Jason Kokrak’s improved putting has helped sustain a good run of form. Consistently one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, his best performances at the majors have come on the longer courses. He is an habitual fast starter, and boasts the second-best first-round scoring average on the PGA Tour this season at 69.21, just behind Cameron Smith.
Kokrak, who fired seven first-round birdies in Detroit’s Rocket Mortgage Classic and seven in the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial CC, is 80/1 to lead after round one.
Xander Schauffele is another for whom fast starts are the norm. He is 12th in first-round scoring average on the PGA Tour this season at 69.80 and seemed at home at the Scottish Open, where he shot an opening round 67. He is 28/1 to lead after 18 holes.
There have only been three American players to have won The Open in the last decade, but the odds of 4/5 for a US player to win the tournament this time will tempt some, such is the strength in depth.
Cameron Smith seeks to become the fifth Australian to lift the Claret Jug this week and has four top-10 major finishes to his name, as well as five victories across the European and PGA Tours.
The world number 28 was a respectable T30 at the Travelers Championship and is rested after a break. He is 11/2 for a top-10 finish.
Players Championship winner Justin Thomas is also one to consider in this market at 7/4. He tied for 11th spot at Royal Portrush two years ago and got some added links experience last week at the Scottish Open, where he was T8.
Topping the nation
Louis Oosthuizen, recent second in the US Open at Torrey Pines, and The Open winner in 2010, heads the top South African player market at 2/1. Yet his last trip to Royal St George’s as defending Open champion resulted in a T54 finish after a final round of 77.
Branden Grace (below), who shot a ridiculous 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017, is a great links golfer and may be better value. Fourth at the Memorial Tournament and T7 at the US Open, Grace is a 5/1 shot to be the top South African player.
Given that he is the world number one and in tremendous form, Jon Rahm is 2/5 to be the top Spanish player this week. Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello are not expected to push him close, according to The Open specials odds.
Matthew Fitzpatrick leads the top English player market at 5/1 yet Lee Westwood, whose recent resurgence, which actually began in January 2020 with a victory in Abu Dhabi, is a long way from being finished at 48.
His runner-up efforts at both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and in The Players Championship will mean he has his supporters at 7/1 to be the top English player.
There have been 21 play-offs in The Open Championship, where the format is a four-hole aggregate-score play-off with a sudden-death play-off in the event of a tie.
The last time The Open Championship went to a play-off was 2015, when Zach Johnson beat Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman at St Andrews.
It is 10/3 in The Open specials that we will have similar drama this year.
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing