We’re heading to Royal Portrush this week for the 148th Open Championship. The course itself is one of the most visually striking courses you’re likely to ever see. It’s a links-style par-71 course in Northern Ireland that plays a touch over 7,340 yards, and has been around since 1888. There are 60-plus bunkers that the golfers will face as they make their way around the track. The greens will seemingly run a bit slow – around 10.5 on the stimp. The size of the greens and the undulations will bring plenty of three-putts into play this week, as well.
Checking the Chalk
Rory McIlroy ($11,600) has played all around the world recently, but his residence is somewhere on narrative street this week. As I’m sure you’ve heard by this point, McIlroy shot a course record 61 at this track when he was just 16 years old. The last time we saw him stateside was the U.S. Open where he finished in ninth place a few weeks back. He did tee it up for the Scottish Open last week, though. Over his past three starts, McIlroy has been averaging over 70% of GIR. He’s taken up residence on narrative street, as well. Since the start of 2019, he’s missed just one cut out of 12 starts and has two wins to go along with seven other top 10 finishes.
Since making his comeback in 2017, Patrick Cantlay ($9,000) has made seven of eight cuts in majors. He has improved in his major performances this year with two top 10s and a T21 at the U.S. Open. Cantlay is a guy that we haven’t seen in a few weeks but he’s been on a tear recently. He’s made six straight cuts with his worst finish coming at the aforementioned U.S. Open in 2019. Over 60% of his rounds in the past six events have wound up in the 60s. He’s the second highest ranked golfer in the Power Ranking Model but is only the 13th highest salary on the slate.
Henrik Stenson ($8,400) got off to a slow start out of the gates this year but he seems to be trending in the right direction now. Stenson has made nine straight cuts now and is trending in the right direction. Over his past three events he’s finished in the top 10, culminating in a fourth place finish last week at the Scottish Open. Regardless of how easy it is to hit greens, hitting over 90% of GIR is an impressive feat and that’s exactly what he did last week.
We’ve seen Xander Schauffele ($9,500) show up in big fields in the past. He’s played well in 2019 so far. In his 11 starts this season, he’s gaining an average of 3.7 strokes tee to green compared to his career average of 1.66 strokes, per the RotoViz Splits App. His putting has remained level across those two time frames, though, so if we catch Schauffele with a hot putter it’s easy to imagine an excellent performance. I wrote it up in the Yahoo! Article, but I’ll reiterate here … I really think this could be Xander’s time to break through with a major victory.
Bernd Wiesberger ($7,100) is a name that DFS players who only play on the PGA Tour side might be less familiar with but he’s been tearing it up on the European Tour. He’s made three starts over there since his 76th place finish at the U.S. Open and has performed quite well. Wiesberger has a victory, a runner-up, and a T16 finish on his resume over the past three weeks. He’s made just three cuts in five chances at The Open Championship but this is about as strong as he’s played over his career.
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,700) is a guy that can go as low as anyone when he clicks. I don’t envision this turning into the British Sony Open or anything but we know that the Englishman can string birdies together in bunches. He hit a bit of a lull at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open but seems like he’s gearing up for a run this week. Since the U.S. Open, he’s made a couple of starts. He’s finished in the top 25 in both of those events, with seven of eight rounds in the 60s. Fleetwood is averaging 75% of his GIR hit during that span.
So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 47/52 (90.3%) made cuts, 36/52 (69%) top 30s, and 16/52 (30.7%) top 10s. Here are this week’s cash locks:
- Xander Schauffele ($9,500)
- Patrick Cantlay ($9,000)
The Open Championship - Model ResultsThere are "NAs" in the table. Many of them are because I don't have enough data in the set to run the numbers because of limited Euro data.
For a look at how the model has performed historically search "Introduction to Power Ranking Model" above.
|Rafael Cabrera Bello||7500||-0.58||15.35|
|Erik Van Rooyen||7100||-1.19||7|
|Charles Howell III||6800||-0.89||1.3|
|Si Woo Kim||6700||-0.01||0.59|
|Miguel Angel Jimenez||6300||-0.22||0.1|
|Inn Choon Hwang||6000||NA||0.04|
Image Credit: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Rory McIlroy.
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