Ahead of the most unpredictable Major of the year, Nick Bonfield looks at five 2018 Open outsiders who could do something unexpected at Carnoustie
5 2018 Open Outsiders Worth Backing
The Open Championship is the toughest of all tournaments to predict – a product of the terrain it’s played over, weather conditions and the significance of the draw, among other factors.
It’s therefore important to look a long way down the list of contenders when selecting your bets, and to consider focusing more attention than normal on the each-way market.
This year, the difficulty of Carnoustie and the sheer number of top-tier players entering the event in good form have contributed to some excellent odds for the lesser lights, in relative terms, in the field.
Below, I look at five 2018 Open outsiders who warrant some attention in the betting markets. For the record, I view an outsider as anyone who’s 50/1 or longer.
Louis Oosthuizen – 66/1
Louis Oosthuizen is quietly having a pretty good season. The South African – who won the 2010 Open at St Andrews and lost out in a play-off at the same venue five years later – has six top-16 finishes in his last nine worldwide starts, including The Masters and the US Open.
Oosthuizen has one of the best swings in the game and his ball-striking skills will be of great benefit on the Open rota’s most demanding golf course. His short game has also been good this season, so if he finds some form on the greens I’d expect to find him towards the top of the leaderboard come championship Sunday.
Bubba Watson – 70/1
I can’t believe Bubba Watson is being offered by the major bookmakers at such a high price. Granted, he’s never recorded a top ten in The Open, but he finished 27th last year at Birkdale and his game does seem to suit links golf, on paper at least. He’ll figure it out sooner rather than later, I suspect.
One thing’s for sure: he’ll be supremely confident heading to Carnoustie. After a spell of inauspicious form, Watson has won three times on the PGA Tour in 2018. He’s hard to ignore at his current price.
Andy Sullivan – 125/1
Andy Sullivan has been on a fairly impressive run of late. He hasn’t missed a cut since the 2017 Italian Open and he’s notched three top-ten finishes in his last four starts, including a tie for 6th at the Irish Open, played over the Glashedy links at Ballyliffin.
The Englishman is happy off the golf course and almost at the level that saw him earn a Ryder Cup berth two years ago. He’s a good links player, he’s finished inside the top 30 in two of his three Open appearances and his stats this season are very good indeed – he’s 12th on the European Tour in GIR, 10th in Putts per Round and second in Stroke Average.
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Matthew Southgate – 200/1
Some of you may never have heard of Matthew Southgate, but he’s well worth considering if you’re looking for a long-shot each-way bet. Southgate was diagnosed with testicular cancer in July 2015, but he battled back to regain a European Tour card and finished 12th at Royal Troon in 2016.
Last year, he played some fine golf en route to a tie for sixth – arguably the most heart-warming storyline of the tournament. He’s struggled with injuries of late, but if he’s healthy, he’s someone to keep an eye on.
Jorge Campillo – 300/1
Jorge Campillo has never won a European Tour event, and while I don’t expect him to reign supreme at The Open Championship, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he sneaked into the each-way places. The Spaniard is currently enjoying his best season to date on the European Tour, and by some distance – he’s 9th on the Race to Dubai and he’s never cracked the top 40 before. This year, he’s registered six top-five finishes, including an outright third in the Irish Open.
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