Ahead of the most unpredictable Major of the year, we look at five outsiders for the Claret Jug
5 Open Outsiders Worth Backing At Royal Portrush
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 tournament takes place at Royal Portrush for the first time in this generation 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, we look at five Open outsiders who warrant some attention in the betting markets.
For the record, we view an outsider as anyone who’s 50/1 or longer.
Eddie Pepperell – 80/1
The Englishman finished three back last year at Carnoustie where he shot a final round 67 despite being ‘slightly hung over’.
He was T3rd at this year’s Players Championship, T2nd at the British Masters (on a links course) and T4th at the recent Irish Open, which was also on a links.
Pepperell plays well in Ireland clearly, and more evidence of that is seen by his T2nd at the Irish Open in 2015 at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, where he missed out in a playoff.
Webb Simpson – 100/1
Americans have won nine of the last 10 Majors so here is a contender from the States at incredible value.
The 2012 US Open winner has missed just one cut since last year’s Championship at Carnoustie and at 19th in the world, 100/1 seems far too long.
Simpson is in the top 22 of all Strokes Gained categories on the PGA Tour this season barring ‘Off the tee’, however he is one of the straighter hitters so perhaps his lack of length won’t cause him too many problems.
He is 4th in scoring average as well an hasn’t missed a putt all season from inside 3ft. That’s 506 out of 506.
Last year’s Players Championship winner was T5th at Augusta earlier this season and has made six of seven cuts in his career at The Open.
Lee Westwood – 100/1
Westy is back in the big time after his Nedbank Golf Challenge win late last year and has played some decent stuff in 2019 with just two missed cuts from 10 events.
Portrush is a driver’s course and Westwood has been one of the best in the game off the tee over the past two decades.
He hasn’t competed in a Major since the 2016 Masters so perhaps he is due another good run at one?!
He has four top fours in this tournament as well and his old mate Darren Clarke won it at the age of 42 plus Tom Watson nearly won at 59 so rule out 46-year-old Lee Westwood at your own peril!
Erik Van Rooyen – 150/1
The South African went very well at Carnoustie last year, finishing six back after an average final round.
He shot five under in the opening round though and ultimately had a great week.
The 29-year-old has had two runners-up finishes this year already and was T8th at the USPGA Championship.
He has only played in three Majors as a pro but has made the cut in all three of them, perhaps he reserves his best stuff for the big occasions.
Jazz Janewattananond – 200/1
Jazz had a brilliant USPGA Championship, finishing T14th in what was just his second Major.
His first was last year’s Open so he has some experience of playing the event.
The 23-year-old looks to be one of the best young talents in the world with eight professional victories already, including at the recent Korea Open which qualified him for Portrush.
He also won last year’s Singapore Open which featured the likes of Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Matt Fitzpatrick.
He currently leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit, too.
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