After an uninspiring 2021, with a tied 17th at the Irish Open in his penultimate start the highlight, 22-year-old Min Woo Lee began the Scottish Open trading at around 330.0329/1. He was matched in-running at 1000.0 early on and he was still considered a most unlikely challenger with a round to go when he was still trading at 60.059/1, despite trailing by just three.
Lee threw his hat in the ring with a spectacular run of six birdies in-a-row from the third hole onwards yesterday. He cooled after that, playing par golf, and when the horn blew to suspend play due to the threat of lightning, he was one of five men tied at the top.
Alongside Lee at the head of affairs, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Detry, who had begun the final round tied for the lead, still had four holes to play when the horn went. Lee had three left and the other two tied at the top, Ian Poulter and Ryan Palmer, were done for the day.
Poulter and Palmer were out of the reckoning when the other three all birdied the par five 16th and after Lee and Fitzpatrick both missed birdie chances at 18, and Detry made a quite brilliant up-and-down, we were into extra time.
All three men found the green in regulation but Lee was by some distance the closest to the pin and after Fitzpatrick and Detry had both missed their birdie attempts, Lee claimed the spoils with this perfect putt.
The winning moment 2#abrdnScottishOpen #RolexSeries pic.twitter.com/rRwZv7VHAX
? The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 11, 2021
Detry traded no lower than 2.265/4 but Jon Rahm, who eventually finished seventh, was matched at a low of 1.4640/85 on Friday when he threatened to run away with the tournament and Fitzpatrick was matched at 1.68/13 when he had a chance to eagle the 16th.
Lee’s victory has seen him jump from 240th to 61st in the official world rankings and he’s now trading at 170.0169/1 to win the Open Championship.
Lee set up his victory with a fast start to round four but over at the John Deere Classic, Dave Tindall’s 51.050/1 each-way fancy, Lucas Glover, put his stunning run of birdies in on the back-nine.
Sebastian Munoz had began the final round leading by one but he was up against it from the get-go after this happened on the first and he eventually finished tied for fourth.
Sebastián Muñoz bogeys the first hole to drop into a tie for the lead. pic.twitter.com/jkQWkKr8HJ
? PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 11, 2021
Brandon Hagy, who had begun the day alone in second, looked like putting in a strong challenge when he birdied the second but he bogeyed the fourth, fifth and eighth to drop away.
Adam Schenk led by a couple of strokes after back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 but he bogeyed the 14th and parred his way in to leave the coast clear for Lucas.
Having begun the final round sitting in a tie for 12th, Glover appeared to have too much to do and after he’d bogeyed the 11th he still looked to have plenty on his plate, with six men ahead of him on the leaderboard but after four birdies in-a-row from the 12th, he made another at 17 to go on and win comfortably by two.
This was Glover’s first victory in more than 10 years but he now heads to Sandwich in a buoyant mood in search of his second major. The 2009 US Open winner is currently trading at 320.0319/1 to win the Open Championship.
It was a case of what might have been this week.
Find Me a 100 Winner pick, Lee Westwood, was an each-way pick in the first-round leader market (ended round one tied for second – just one off the lead) and he provided more profit by trading as low as 3.412/5 in the outright market when he hit the front halfway through the third round on Saturday before ultimately finishing tied for 35th.
That was a disappointing finish but he’ll head to Kent knowing that he’s playing well and he’s a 60.059/1 chance to win the Open.
As detailed in the Find Me a 100 Winner column, I’d wanted to put up Munoz but having been matched at 110.0109/1 on Monday, but his price refused to budge from a solid 90.089/1.
I backed Munoz at 90.089/1 and he was matched at a low of 3.185/40 on Saturday so I really should have made a few pounds there too but I didn’t. I was quite bullish about his chances, and I thought he was a very fair price going into the final round but not for the first and certainly not for the last time, I was wrong.
Yet Another Shock Scottish Winner
Rolex Series events tend to go to high-profile, short-priced players but the Scottish Open is now the glaring exception.
This was the fifth time that the Scottish Open has featured in the Rolex Series and it was the fourth time we’ve witnessed the event go to extra time but we’re yet to witness a short-priced winner.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello won the first edition as a Rolex Series event, edging out huge outsider, Callum Shinkwin, in extra-time, having begun the tournament as a 65.064/1 chance. Bernd Wiesberger went off at only 46.045/1 when he edged out another massive outsider, Benjamin Hebert (who traded at a low of 1.021/50 in the playoff) in 2019 but the other three winners were all harder to spot.
In addition to Lee winning yesterday at 330.0329/1, Aaron Rai took the title last year, having gone off at 110.0109/1 and Brandon Sone won the 2018 edition having gone off at 1000.0!
Unlike all the other Rolex Series events, the Scottish Open is an outsider’s event now and that may have something to do with it being played in the week before the Open Championship.
The field is usually a strong one, and this year’s edition was the strongest yet, but with all the big names having their sights firmly fixed on the year’s final major, it perhaps offers up a chance for the lesser lights to shine.
I’ll be back over the next two or three days with a preview of this week’s PGA Tour alternate event, the Barbasol Championship, as well as the Find Me a 100 Winner column and a look at the side markets at the Open Championship, which I’ve already previewed here.
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