To start the final round portfolio, a reminder of the basic logic that informs most of my selections at this stage of any major championship. If players are tied after 54 holes of this test, is there really a stark gap between their chances over another 18? Betting at short odds-on feels unnecessarily risky. Looking for value outsiders is preferred.
Amateur Schmidt to carry on thriving
The leading amateur, on level par, has already achieved his primary goal. Matthias Schmidt is entitled to feel elated and ready to savour every second, every shot of the rest of his Open debut. At 13/5, he’s definitely capable of giving Lee Westwood a game.
The older man hasn’t been thriving in final rounds of late, either. Of 11 final rounds during 2021, Westwood has bettered 72 once. In the last two majors, he closed with 77. This is a very beatable favourite.
Poulter set for another late charge
One veteran Englishman whom there are no such final round worries is Ian Poulter. His last seven final rounds in the Open produced a worst of 71, including four sub-70s. Last week in Scotland, he closed with 63. Few are more adept at a late charge through the pack, so he gets the nod over Christian Bezuidenhout.
Brooks Koepka is probably not in the best of spirits. His game is all about peaking and contending in majors, often giving the impression he isn’t fully trying in lesser events. So I wouldn’t want to rely on him producing today, starting nine off the pace after a poor Saturday.
In Ryan Fox, he faces a highly capable opponent for whom a strong finish would matter much more. Nine of his last 16 final rounds were sub-70. His three closing rounds in Opens were 69/70/67. 21/10 about the upset is fair.
Dustin must be opposed at short odds-on
Dustin Johnson’s record in the final Open rounds is frankly atrocious by his standards. His last nine attempts produced a best of 70, with only a third better than 73. Again, he comes off a poor Saturday, shooting 73 to fall out of contention.
That record alone makes Emiliano Grillo a must-bet at 2.915/8. Of ten final rounds in 2021, the Argentinian bettered 70 in five of them.
Conners appeals against erratic Spieth
Finally among the leading groups, I like Corey Conners to beat Jordan Speith. The latter is just too erratic to take short odds about, and has blown great positions for two days running with poor finishes, closing bogey/bogey yesterday.
It wouldn’t shock me were Spieth to storm forward with a birdie blitz early on, or equally to fall back markedly. His 2021 numbers, only bettering 70 once in 11 final rounds, don’t bode well. Tee-to-green machine Corey Conners appeals much more at these odds.
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