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Open Championship Predictions: Golden Child Reigns Supreme at St. Andrews

The season's fourth and final major championship of the season sees The Open Championship head back to its most historic venue — The Old Course at St. Andrews. We break down what it takes to win and who to target in our lineup of outright predictions.

Last Updated: Jul 13, 2022 8:30 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jordan Spieth Open Championship PGA Tour
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The season's final major championship — the Open Championship at St. Andrews — is here. The stacked field is highlighted by an in-form Rory McIlroy, defending champion Collin Morikawa, as well as World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and this year's PGA Champion, Justin Thomas.

On top of standard tee-to-green prowess and a hot putter, The Old Course at St. Andrews requires a level of creativity and imagination in order to be successful, particularly around the greens.

As such, our Open Championship outright predictions shine a light on some scrambling wizards, including one looking to hoist the Claret Jug for the second time. 

Open Championship outright picks

Picks were made on 7/11/2022 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

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Open Championship outright picks

Among the favorites: Jordan Spieth (+2,200)

Jordan Spieth has had himself an interesting year, one that may appear underwhelming or disappointing at first glance, but not one that should stop us from backing him at The Old Course. 

If there is a worthy knock on Spieth's 2022 campaign, it comes in the form of major championship results. He missed the cut at the Masters for the first time in his career, then posted below-average finishes of T34 at Southern Hills and T37 at Brookline. 

However, alongside the Masters, St. Andrews was always going to be Spieth's best shot at a major victory this year. He's never missed an Open Championship cut in his career (eight attempts) and has a resume that includes a win in 2017, a runner-up in 2021, and a T4 at St. Andrews in 2015 (missed a putt to force a playoff) among six Top-30 finishes in his last six tries. 

While his form has come and gone with a win at RBC Heritage and a couple of runner-ups otherwise surrounded by decent-at-best finishes, his play at last week's Scottish Open should be encouraging as Spieth regains his footing on links courses. 

He was just one shot back with five holes to play before some ugly numbers late in the round dropped him down to a T10 finish. Either way, Spieth's magical creativity around the greens consistently gives him an advantage on these types of courses. While some tracks on the Tour calendar neutralize that superpower, The Old Course shines a light on it.

That scrambling prowess (25th in strokes gained around the green, 28th in scrambling percentage) and his good-but-not-great ball-striking numbers this year leave one thing standing between him and a fourth major championship title: his flatstick.

He ranks just 145th in strokes gained putting this season and has been abysmal across the board (170th inside 10 feet, 167th outside 25 feet). But while he's left a lot to be desired, he's been better of late, gaining strokes in five of his last seven events, including last week's Scottish Open (+0.15 per round). More importantly for St. Andrews' abnormally large greens, he ranks 14th in approach putt performance (a stat that ranks length of the second putt).

Any bet on Jordan Spieth this week is one on his creativity on the golf course, particularly around the greens. It's a creativity few others in the field possess, and one that can jolt even a poor-form Spieth into Open Championship contention. If at his best this week, the final product will be of him once again hoisting the Claret Jug.

Sleeper to watch: Tommy Fleetwood (+4,000)

While still maintaining his position near the top of the list of guys to not have a win on the PGA Tour, Fleetwood's results have been consistent if not strong in 2022.

In his last nine worldwide starts, Tommy's missed just one cut (U.S. Open) and has five finishes inside the Top 15, including major championship finishes of T14 at Augusta National and T5 at the PGA Championship. 

His game has continued to trend upwards as the season's gone on and his best trait as a golfer is arguably the best trait you can have at St. Andrews: scrambling. He ranks 10th in strokes gained around the green and 16th in scrambling percentage. 

Fleetwood's tee-to-green play can sometimes come and go but he seems to be entering the week in a good place after finishing T4 at the Scottish Open. He gained strokes in every major category, including ball-striking marks of +0.38 per round on approach and +1.02 per round off the tee. 

If he keeps that up, his scrambling and putting (the stronger parts of his game) are more than capable of catapulting him into contention as he aims to finish one spot higher than his best career result — his 2019 Open runner-up finish.

Longshot worth a look: Robert MacIntyre (+13,000)

When looking deeper down the board, there's one name that should stand out: Robert MacIntyre. While he's climbed the board at most books, DraftKings still has him posted at +11,000.

The 25-year-old Englishman has been up and down for much of 2022 but has some of the strongest results among those in this Open Championship odds range.

Two career starts here at the Open with finishes of T6 (2019) and T8 (2021) and while he missed the cut by two shots at last week's Scottish Open, he finished T13 at the Irish Open the week prior. 

He's an average-to-decent ball-striker, but at his best, he's a scrambling wizard with a lights-out putter with the Spieth-like creativity to boot. Of the other major championship venues, St. Andrews' enormous greens are most like Augusta National, a place MacIntyre has also fared well (T12 in 2021, T23 in 2022).

While still very much a longshot, Bobby Mac's game has at least proven more than capable, thus making him worthy of this spot.

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