With just one week to go until the third Major of the year, we have something of a split on the Tours but most of the world’s best players have chosen to head to the Scottish Open to get acclimatized and to find some form ahead of the Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are among those resting this week but we have a strong field at the Gullane Golf Club and it includes former champions Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose plus current US Masters Champion Patrick Reed.
Most American sportsbooks can’t split Fowler and Rose in the outright winner betting market for the Scottish Open and the pair go off as +1000 joint favorites in most places. Rose was our 2014 champion in Aberdeen but perhaps more importantly, Fowler took the trophy a year later on this same Gullane course and that may just give him the edge.
Neither man has quite rediscovered their form from the back end of 2017 but it’s interesting that Justin Rose has six Top 10 finishes this year and another single digit finish this week would make it three in succession.
Behind the joint-favorites there is a big gap to Patrick Reed (+1800) who leads the chasing pack this week. The US Masters Champion remains the leader in Europe’s Race to Dubai despite rarely coming on this Tour and he should be rested and ready for a tilt at his second major of the season.
Behind Reed, the field is tightly bunched with regular PGA Tour Players Matt Kuchar (+2500) and Hideki Matsuyama (+2000) in mid-price range. Kuchar was a runner up behind Fowler on this Gullane course in 2015 and he could be one to watch this week after a productive visit to the UK 12 months ago culminated in a second place at the Open Championship.
Another former runner up, Tyrrell Hatton (+1800), is also attracting some interest this week as is our most recent winner on the European Tour, Russell Knox (+2000), who claimed the Irish Open on Sunday. Both men have tempting prices and have relevant stats that could see them in the Top 10 at the very least.
Meanwhile, at the back of the chasing pack is Phil Mickelson (+2500), the 2013 Scottish Open Champion. We think Phil is undervalued in this market and we will be coming back to him in this Scottish Open preview’s verdict.
Our defending champion this year is Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello (+2800) but he is getting little support in the markets in terms of a repeat success. The 34 year old heads a list of outsiders, many of whom are at temptingly large betting odds including Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4000), who is consistent on the European Tour and has four wins on this side of the Atlantic. Fitzpatrick has good relevant stats this week and is a definite candidate for a Top 10 finish.
Others to watch for Gullane over the four days include Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+6600) who started to lift his game around this time last year. Charley Hoffman (+5000) is another American visitor who looks undervalued by the odds setters while Thomas Pieters, Dylan Frittelli and Martin Kaymer (all +5000) are among those who could come into contention.
Our Scottish Open Preview’s Predictions & Final Picks with Course Trends
We are back at the Gullane Golf Club in East Lothian on what is a deceptively short course at a shade over 7,100 yards. It’s a classic Scottish links venue and it could be a perfect opportunity for those involved to find their range ahead of the Open Championship next week.
Accuracy is absolutely crucial here as we have fast and narrow fairways that are littered with treacherous pot bunkers. We are therefore looking for players with good stats in terms of fairways hit and Greens in Regulation.
Although a number of Americans cross to the Scottish Open each year, Fowler and Mickelson are our only US winners in the last 20 years while multiple champions are exceptionally rare. Only Ernie Els and Ian Woosnam have lifted the trophy more than once but that is one statistic that could certainly be broken this year.
The man most likely to break that trend is Phil Mickelson: Over the years he has become a links specialist and an overdue PGA Tour win in 2018 sets him up nicely for a productive two weeks in the UK. Phil has all the necessary stats to succeed and is at attractive Scottish Open betting odds, as are these Top 10 finish predictions and picks: