Sleeper Picks: The Open Championship
July 13, 2021
By Rob Bolton , GolfBet for PGATOUR.COM
- Branden Grace might have a sneaky-good week at Royal St. George's. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Branden Grace (+6600) … Six of the last seven Open champions won at least once on the PGA TOUR or European Tour previously in the same calendar year. The 33-year-old from South Africa prevailed in Puerto Rico on the last day of February, so he’s on the short list of the trendy, but he’s since added a solo fourth at Memorial and a T7 at the U.S. Open to fulfill the box asking for inspiring form upon arrival. He’s also a sturdy 8-for-9 in The Open Championship with a T6 at Royal Birkdale in 2016, and he’s recorded a pair of top fives each in the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, so he’s comfortable on this stage.
Robert MacIntyre (+6600) … One of the most consistent performers in the field is just 24 years of age. In the last 22 months, he’s missed only two cuts and withdrew during another start amid 11 top 10s, including his breakthrough victory on the European Tour last November. Stretch back a full two years and you’ll find a T6 at The Open Championship in what was his debut in any major. Currently ninth on his circuit in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, 20th in greens in regulation and second in scrambling. The compelling lefty also is fresh off a T18 in a home game at the Scottish Open.
Andy Sullivan (+20000) … The former Ryder Cupper (2016) from the West Midlands of England is making his sixth consecutive appearance in The Open. He’s made three cuts with a personal-best T12 at Royal Troon in 2016. Since the European Tour reopened for business about a year ago, he’s rekindled the kind of form that elevated him to a career-best 28th in the Official World Golf Ranking early in 2016 and following a magical 2015 that included three victories. In the last two months alone, he’s recorded a pair of top-six finishes and a T12 in six starts. In his prime at 34 years of age.
Yuki Inamori (+75000) … Calvin Peete never competed in The Open Championship, so his tee-to-green accuracy didn’t have a chance to shine on links courses that would have rewarded it. Inamori is chasing a Peete-like achievement that seems improbable on any circuit in the 21st century. Peete led the PGA TOUR in driving accuracy for 10 consecutive seasons (1981-1990). Since joining the Japan Golf Tour in 2015, Inamori has been No. 1 in fairways hit, so he’s working on his sixth straight season as the best. The 36-year-old also leads the JGTO in par-3 scoring and sits fifth in the Order of Merit after a season-best co-runner-up at the Japan PGA Championship, his third straight top-20 finish. He made the cut in his Open debut at Royal Portrush in 2019.
Ryan Fox (+30000) … Even among avid fans, the 34-year-old Kiwi largely is recalled in the U.S. as a long, strong hitter, but he’s a European Tour winner and soon-to-be two-time Olympian. At eighth on the European Tour in distance off the tee and 40th in greens hit, this season’s analytics align with previous years. He also camps out in the second 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking (where he’s currently 185th) thanks in part to a trio of top-15 finishes in June. Also 3-for-4 at The Open with a T16 two years ago.
Odds were sourced on Tuesday, July 13 at 5 a.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
NOTE: Sleeper is a relative term, so Rob uses unofficial criteria to determine who qualifies. Each of the following usually is determined to be ineligible for this weekly staple: Winners of the tournament on the current host course; winners in the same season; recent major champions; top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking; recent participants of team competitions.