Carnoustie GC will play host to The Open Championship for the first time since 2007 this week. It’s a Par 71 setup that will play around 7,400 yards. The course features three Par 3s, and two Par 5s to go along with 13 Par 4s; 11 of which are between 400-500 yards. Throughout its history as an Open Championship venue, Carnoustie has seen the winner range from well above par to 7-under. If the wind is up, this course will show its teeth, so pay attention to the weather forecast.
Par 4 (450-500)
Expensive Golfers ($9,500+)
The only two golfers above $11,000 are Dustin Johnson ($11,300) and Rory McIlroy ($11,000). DJ is hard to argue with in any field at any course. His last 20 starts have resulted in only two finishes outside of the Top 20. McIlroy has been more volatile. Five of his last seven starts have been in the Top 20, but the other two have been MCs. Unless there’s a significant ownership difference, I’ll be leaning towards DJ. He’s 6th in SG: App and 2nd in DK Points over his past 24 rounds. Johnson has an elite combination of safety and upside.
Justin Thomas ($10,000) is somehow the 5th highest salary despite being 2nd in the OWGR. His shaky Open Championship history is straying some people away, but I believe that’s a mistake. The JT that missed the cut at this event last year had terrible ball-striking as he lost strokes on approach in both lead-in events. It just so happens that MC was his last one, making it almost a full year since the last time he missed the cut. Over that time, he’s made 21 starts and notched four wins to go with an additional 14 Top 25s.
Rickie Fowler ($9,700) appears to be headed towards being the chalk of this range. Over the past 24 rounds, he’s 9th in SG: Around the Green which is one of my key stats for the week. His ball-striking has been trending in the right direction, as well, after a couple of down weeks. Fowler is a grinder and could be on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Mid-Range Golfers ($9,500-$7,500)
Marc Leishman ($8,000) is my pick to win this week. He’s made 5-of-7 cuts at past Open championships and has shown flashes of brilliance. Most notably he took Zach Johnson to a playoff in 2015. Leishman has finished in the Top 7 of DK Points in three of his seven starts. Some may see his numbers recently and get scared off a bit, as his form hasn’t been stellar, but his ability scramble and score in tough conditions should be more than enough for him to compete. Thanks to the pricing this week, we can find an excellent core of golfers in the $7,000 range.
Matt Kuchar ($7,700) isn’t missing two Major cuts in a row. He’s been the model of consistency over the past two years and has performed well in this event going 7-of-11 in cuts made at The Open Championship.
Tiger Woods ($8,900): 2nd in SG: T2G over the last 24 rounds, worthy of exposure. He has hit DK Point Top 30 rank in 75% of starts this year.
Henrik Stenson ($8,200): Not sure if it’s gamesmanship, total BS, or somewhere in between but I’ll take on the risk with his elbow injury this week. He has the 4th highest rate of finishing in the DK Point Top 15 this year.
Luke List ($7,500): I’ve said it all year, I believe List has turned a bit of a corner in his game. Last year or two years ago I never would’ve said he could grind out a good performance at an Open Championship, yet here we are. I’ll take a couple stabs in GPPs.
Cheap Golfers (Sub – $7,500)
Tony Finau ($7,200) is worth consideration for another reason. He’s shown, through his Major results, that he can play with the big boys. In his nine major starts so far, he’s made seven cuts and has Top 10s between this year’s Masters and US Open. A heavy dose of Kuchar and Finau could be a nice start to a lineup in any format.
Gary Woodland ($7,000) is firmly in play this week. If you’ve read my work before, I’m sure you’re not shocked. You’re also probably looking through his game logs and might be less than impressed, but hear me out. Dating back to 2011, Woodland has played six Open Championships (he didn’t qualify in 2013). He’s made every cut in those starts and has never finished outside of the Top 40 in DK Points at a given event. He’s $7,000. A cash core of Finau, Cink, and Woodland leaves you $9,733 left for each spot on your roster.
Stewart Cink ($6,600) has played in 14 Open Championships since 2003. He’s made 9 of those cuts, including a victory back in 2009. Despite a tough putting performance at the Quicken Loans, he still managed to find a T23 finish to go along with his pair of Top 5s heading into that event. He’s averaging 3.5 SG: Approach over his past five events and hasn’t lost strokes in that category in 14 events. The cut equity that Cink possesses makes him an excellent cash play, and his recent form makes him an upside play in a GPP.
Hao Tong Li ($7,300): He’s underpriced as the 42nd ranked golfer in the world. T32 at the Masters and T16 at a difficult US Open this year, 3rd at The Open Championship last year.
Brandt Snedeker ($7,300): Perfect storm for him as pricing came out before he popped at Greenbrier. The short game could play a pivotal role here, and he’s 12th in SG: ARG over the past 24 rounds.
Zach Johnson ($7,200): There’s something to be said for playing links courses well, and ZJ fits the bill. He’s made every Open cut since 2007 including a 2015 victory. In that span, he’s finished in the Top 25 of DK Scoring 7 times.