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The Open Championship: Power Rankings & DFS Picks

Power Rankings

10. Shane Lowry *DARK HORSE*

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In 2009, Lowry won the Irish Open at County Louth, becoming the first amateur to ever win the tournament (it began in 1927). The next week, he turned pro and has amassed a total of 4 professional wins on the PGA and European Tours in his 10+ seasons as a pro golfer. Lowry has only made 7 starts at The Open Championship, making the cut 3 times with his best finish coming in 2014 at Royal Liverpool. Lowry is red hot in the past few months, finishing in the top-10 in 3 of his last 4 individual starts. This is pseudo-homecoming for the Irishman, who at 33rd in the OWGR looks to be a real threat at this tournament for years to come.

9. Bernd Wiesberger

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Wiesberger has played exclusively on the European Tour this year, but going with a non-American might be the play this week- 40 international players have won the Open Championship since World War II (52 non-Americans have won the other 3 majors COMBINED). He’s coming off an impressive playoff-win at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, and just a week before that he finished tied for second at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. The concern with the Austrian is his accuracy off the tee, which stands at just 55.7%. However, he is middle of the pack in putting and is hitting nearly 3 in every 4 greens in regulation. He’s unproven in majors, but is definitely the hot hand pick this week.

8. Tommy Fleetwood

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Fleetwood is always on the radar in majors, especially after his 63 on Saturday at Shinnecock last year. Fleetwood has finished T27 and T12 in his last 2 Open Championships, and has made the cut in his last 10 starts at majors. He is currently 20th in the OWGR and in the top-50 of the FedEx Cup standings, where he also ranks 12th in strokes gained: total. He’s most recently coming off T23 finish at the Irish Open 2 weeks ago. Considering he’s top-50 in every strokes gained category and has more experience in Europe than nearly every other player ahead of him in the OWGR, Fleetwood is a safe bet as 1st/2nd DFS pick.

7. Xander Schauffele

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Schauffele is just 25 years old but is quickly becoming one of the PGA Tour’s star athletes, finishing in the top-20 of every major in 2019. He already won 2x in 2019 on Tour- in October at the WGC-HSBC Champions and in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He has missed just one cut since THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP in March, and most recently went 66-73-71-67 to finish tied for 3rd at Pebble Beach. Like Fleetwood, Xander has just been stellar in every aspect of his game this year- 13th in SG: off the tee, 33rd in SG: approaching the green, 27th in SG: putting and 7th in SG: total at 1.600 (and only Hideki Matsuyama is ahead of him with more rounds played). Making birdies during good weather breaks and saving pars in the wind/rain will be imperative this week though, and that means you must be a good 1-putt percentage player. Xander is at 40.28% which is good for just 62nd on Tour this season, and he ranks 83rd in 3-putt avoidance. If he can be steady with the putter, expect another solid finish at a major for the 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.

6. Rickie Fowler

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This is Rickie’s 40th start in a major, and many fans are still in disbelief that he hasn’t claimed a single title yet. Back in 2014, he became 1 of just 4 golfers to ever finish in the top-5 in each major in a calendar year (Jack and Tiger each did it twice, Jordan Spieth did it in 2015). Brooks Koepka could accomplish that feat this week if he finishes T5 or better (if he were to finish in the top-3, he’d be the 1st golfer in history to finish top-3 in every major). Fowler has played in every Open Championship since 2010, missing the cut just once and finishing in the top-10 two times (2011 & 2014). He also notably won the Scottish open back in 2015 by a stroke over Raphael Jacquelin and Matt Kuchar. Fowler is obviously due for a major victory- he has 8 career top-5 finishes in majors since 2011 and hasn’t missed a cut at any major since the US Open in 2016 (13 consecutive). He is arguably the most consistent putter on this list- he has been in the top-25 for putting average each of the last 3 seasons and currently ranks in the top-10 in 3-putt avoidance- a key stat at any links style course. Portrush greens will be slower than what most players are used to (and that’s not factoring precipitation), but Fowler is a safe mid-tier pick this week who could make a run in the weekend.

5. Dustin Johnson

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On paper, DJ is almost always the favorite in any tournament he competes in. But The Open Championship does not inherently fit his style of play- he enjoys bombing it off the tee with the driver, then hoisting wedges high to speedy greens. But links style golf calls for 2 irons and punch shots, with players sometimes opting for 3/4 8 irons instead of full sand wedges into slower greens. There’s a reason why, of his 17 top-10 finishes at major championships, only 3 have come at The Open. And while he did finish tied for 9th place in 2016 at Royal Troon, in his other 3 latest starts at this event (’15/’17’/18) he has missed the cut once and failed to break the top-48 the other 2 times. Still, it is hard to pass up the #2 player in the OWGR who is 3rd in scoring average and 5th in SG: tee to green. If DJ can control his ball flight and hit fairways (he ranks outside the top-175 in driving accuracy), then this could be the year he hoists the Claret Jug.

4. Justin Rose

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The #4 in the world is putting together another fantastic season fresh off of winning the FedEx Cup playoffs. The biggest difference in Rose’s game over the last 18 months, and the reason why he is a factor this week at Portrush, is putting. Between 2012-2017, Rose never finished inside the top-100 in SG: putting on the PGA Tour. If you go even farther back to 2004, when the PGA Tour began digitizing its SG averages, you’ll find that Rose’s best putting season was in 2010- when he was 53rd in SG: putting. Now? He ranks 5th, and last season he was 21st. Despite ranking outside the top-150 in both driving accuracy and GIR, Rose is getting it done on and around the greens. Key stats for bad weather events all have to do with scrambling and short game, and thats where he has excelled in 2019. Rosey is 11th in sand saves, 7th in scoring average, 18th in scrambling, 1st in 1-putt percentage, and 4th in 3-putt avoidance. Even if he isn’t striking the ball well, he is a threat each and every week he starts on Tour.

3. Jon Rahm

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Rahm has been spending most of his 2019 stateside, but he has found recent success overseas- with a win at the Irish Open 2 weeks ago and a runner-up finish at the Andalucia Masters hosted by fellow countrymen Sergio Garcias. Rahm is an interesting bet right now- on the one hand he was arguably the hottest golfer to start 2019, with a win at the Hero World Challenge followed by 5 straight top-10 finishes in January and February. He also played well at THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP (T12) and The Masters (T9) and then went on to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Ryan Palmer. After back-to-back missed cuts, he finished T3 at the US Open and now with good finishes in Europe, he should be considered a favorite to win it all this week in Northern Ireland. Stats wise he has been really efficient tee to green this year, ranking 4th off the tee and 20th tee to green (he is 13th in SG: total). Putting though has been a bit of his downfall, despite ranking around 50th in SG this season. Inside 5′, he has been pretty much automatic in 2019. But from 6-10′ he ranks outside the top-100 each foot marker; the same theme applies for 10-15′ and 15-20′.

2. Rory McIlroy

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Regardless of where you’re from, everyone should be rooting for Rory this week. He is the face of Northern Ireland golf and he holds the course record at Portrush (see the video below produced by Nike to give you the chills).

“It’s a different par, there are different holes and a lot of holes have been lengthened… I think this week, with conditions likes this, 67 or 68 will be a good score. If the rain eases and the wind, which is whipping across the links, dies then he said he could ‘potentially see someone shoot a 63,64, 65,” Rory told Golf.com this week.

Rory is coming off a T34 finish at the Scottish Open where he went -13. Other than that, he has played strictly in the US, winning the RBC Canadian Open and THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP. His scoring statistics prove why he is the #3 golfer in the world- 1st in eagle average, 3rd in birdie average, and 2nd in scoring average. He is also averaging over 314 yards driving, good enough for 4th on Tour. McIlroy is the king of stroke gained too, ranking first off the tee, tee to green, and total. This is his tournament to win once again- he won it in 2014 and has 5 top-5 finishes, 3 of which have come in his last 3 starts at The Open. There will be a ton of pressure on him to do well this week, but McIlroy has dealt with expectations for decades and he shows no sign of backing down now.

*FAVORITE* Brooks Koepka

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Brooks has been headlining Power Rankings pretty much anytime he has been in the field this season, but this week he is no doubt the safe pick simply because it’s a major. In press conferences leading up to Thursday, Brooks revealed that he doesn’t even practice unless it’s for major tournaments.

With this being the last major of the season, don’t be surprised if Koepka turns on the burners after several lackluster performances since early-June. Following his win at Bethpage, he has finished outside the top-50 in 3 of his past 4 events, with the sole good tournament being a runner-up finish at the US Open (surprise!). The 6-time PGA Tour winner (including 4 majors) will look to claim his first Claret Jug, in a major which you could argue is his worst of the 4. He has made the cut 4 of 5 starts at The Open and does sport 2 top-10s, but is coming off a T39 performance in 2018. Stats wise Koepka’s short game might be the only thing holding him back this year- he ranks outside the top-80 in SG: around the green and SG: putting. While he is 7th in GIR, he is barely inside the top-100 in driving accuracy, which could prove fatal in the thick rough at Portrush.

Vegas Odds

Rory McIlroy8/1
Brooks Koepka10/1
Dustin Johnson12/1
Jon Rahm16/1
Tiger Woods16/1
Justin Rose20/1
Xander Schauffele25/1
Francesco Molinari25/1
Tommy Fleetwood25/1
Justin Thomas25/1
Henrik Stenson25/1
Patrick Cantlay25/1
Adam Scott25/1
Rickie Fowler30/1
Bryson DeChambeau30/1
Matt Kuchar30/1
Jason Day40/1
Louis Oosthuizen40/1
Jordan Spieth40/1
Hideki Matsuyama50/1
Paul Casey50/1
Graeme McDowell50/1
Matt Wallace50/1
Gary Woodland50/1
Marc Leishman60/1
Tony Finau60/1
Sergio Garcia60/1
Shane Lowry60/1
Ian Poulter80/1
Patrick Reed80/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick80/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello80/1
Phil Mickelson100/1
Tyrrell Hatton100/1
Webb Simpson100/1
Eddie Pepperell100/1
Viktor Hovland100/1
Kevin Kisner125/1
Bubba Watson125/1
Martin Kaymer125/1
Chez Reavie125/1
Zach Johnson150/1
Brandt Snedeker150/1
Branden Grace150/1
Alex Noren150/1
Lee Westwood150/1
Thorbjorn Olesen150/1
Sungjae Im150/1
Scott Piercy150/1
Daniel Berger150/1
Bernd Wiesberger150/1
Keegan Bradley150/1
Abraham Ancer150/1
Haotong Li150/1
Aaron Wise150/1
Danny Willett150/1
Lucas Bjerregaard200/1
Thomas Pieters200/1
Si Woo Kim200/1
Russell Knox150/1
Byeong Hun An200/1
Billy Horschel200/1
Kevin Na200/1
Jim Furyk200/1
Cameron Smith200/1
Charley Hoffman200/1
Emiliano Grillo200/1
Ryan Moore200/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat200/1
Padraig Harrington200/1
Sung Kang200/1
Joaquin Niemann200/1
Luke List200/1
Adam Hadwin200/1
Charles Howell III200/1
Erik van Rooyen200/1
Paul Dunne250/1
Dylan Frittelli250/1
Ryan Palmer250/1
Kurt Kitayama250/1
Robert Macintyre250/1
Rory Sabbatini250/1
Cameron Champ250/1
Jazz Janewattananond250/1
Justin Harding250/1
Keith Mitchell250/1
Jimmy Walker250/1
Ryan Fox250/1
Jorge Campillo250/1
Andy Sullivan250/1
Kevin Streelman300/1
Andrea Pavan300/1
Benjamin Herbert300/1
Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston300/1
C.T. Pan300/1
Kyle Stanley300/1
J.B. Holmes300/1
Richard Sterne300/1
Andrew Putnam300/1
Kevin Chappell300/1
Romain Langasque300/1
Joost Luiten300/1
Adrian Otaegui300/1
Robert Rock300/1
Paul Waring300/1
David Lipsky300/1
Richard Sterne300/1
Jason Kokrak300/1
Tom Lewis300/1
Mike Lorenz-Vera300/1
Christiaan Bezuidenhout300/1
Chris Wood500/1
Callum Shinkwin500/1
Shubhankar Sharma500/1
Ernie Els500/1
Nino Bertasio500/1
Nate Lashley500/1
Doc Redman500/1
Alexander Bjork500/1
Alexander Levy500/1
Shugo Imahira500/1
Stewart Cink500/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez500/1
Brandon Stone500/1
Zander Lombard500/1
Oliver Wilson500/1
Patton Kizzire500/1
Paul Waring500/1
Robert Rock500/1
Dimitrios Papadatos1000/1
Yuta Ikeda1000/1
Shaun Norris1000/1
Sang-Hyun Park1000/1
Takumi Kanaya1000/1
Jake McLeod1000/1
Prom Meesawat1000/1
Yoshinori Fujimoto1000/1
Yuki Inamori1000/1
Tom Lehman1000/1
Doyeob Mun1000/1
Chan Kim1000/1
Gunn Charoenkul1000/1
Darren Clarke1000/1
Mikumu Horikawa1000/1
Matthias Schmid1000/1
Garrick Porteous1000/1
Jack Senior1000/1
Matthew Baldwin1000/1
Austin Connelly1000/1
Brandon Wu1000/1
Connor Syme1000/1
Sam Locke1000/1
Dongkyu Jang1000/1
Andrew Wilson2000/1
Yosuke Asaji2000/1
Paul Lawrie2000/1
Mark Calcavecchia2000/1
Thomas Thurloway3000/1
Andrew Wilson3000/1
Curtis Knipes3000/1
Isidro Benitez3000/1
Todd Hamilton3000/1
David Duval3000/1

DFS Picks

Lineup #1

Justin Rose – $9,900

Adam Scott – $8,800

Matt Kuchar – $8,700

Shane Lowry – $7,900

Rafa Cabrera Bello – $7,500

Bernd Wiesberger – $7,100

Remaining Salary -> $100

Lineup #2

Tommy Fleetwood – $9,700

Rickie Fowler – $9,300

Bryson DeChambeau – $9,200

Phil Mickelson – $7,500

Chez Reavie – $7,100

Erik van Rooyen – $7,100

Remaining Salary-> $100

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