With the Open Championship just one week away, the PGA Tour will first make a stop at The Renaissance Club for the Genesis Scottish Open. For the second year in a row, this is co -sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. Many golfers play this event to get acclimated to the links style golf and get warmed up for the Open at Liverpool next week.
The Renaissance Club is a 7,237-yard par 70 (played as a par 71 last year) and features slow fescue greens. The Renaissance Club by itself is not the hardest links course these players could play on, but when you add on the unpredictable weather, this course gets much more difficult. As of Tuesday night the weather forecast for the Scottish Open looks like it will make this course more difficult. From Thursday through Sunday there will be periods of heavy rain and wind gusts up to 30 mph. Sunday looks like the worst day weather wise, and if anyone wants to put a low number, Thursday looks like their best bet.
Weather is usually something I may pay little to no attention to most weeks, but for the Scottish Open and even next week with the Open Championship, I think it is super important to keep it in mind. For example, last year the winning score was 7 under from Xander Schauffele and only 16 total golfers shot under par. This is mostly contributed from the weather making the course play tougher than it usually is. In 2021 the winning score was 18 under by Min Woo Lee and 73 players were under par, but the course was played in almost perfect conditions. This week I think we will have the best of both worlds. Thursday will be calm but as the week goes on the course will get tougher. I think the winning score will be in that 6 to 10 under range.
Now for who fits links style and this course, let’s dig into it. For this week I’ll be using a couple key stats to make a model and pick outrights and placements. In my opinion the most important stats for someone to win here are: Strokes Gained Approach, Strokes Gained Off the tTee, Strokes Gained Putting (slow). I will also be looking into course history, recent form, and how each player performs in bad weather (wind 10-30 mph). Lastly, and probably the most fun thing, is a golfer creativity. Links style golf makes players hit shots they usually aren’t used to hitting. Players have to get creative a lot and it makes it fun for all of us to watch.
Viktor Hovland – 18/1
I cant stop betting on Viktor Hovland. If one of you guys want to make fun of me if he plays bad here two years in a row, I deserve it. I think Viktor is one of the best golfers on tour right now and he hasn’t missed a cut since missing the cut here exactly one year ago. I think Viktor wants to play well here and isn’t going to let his performance last year intimidate him. For actual reasoning this week though, Viktor’s game fits well. He ranks 24th in Strokes Gained approach in his last 24 rounds and 23rd in Strokes Gained off the tee. Viktor used have a lot of struggles around the green, but he has primarily cleaned that up this year, and chipping at the Renaissance Club is one of the easier things to do. Also, bombers have played well here in the past. I feel like Viktor has a great advantage if he can stay in the fairway and have a short iron or wedge into most of these greens. If the weather also turns out to be bad, Viktor ranks fourth in the field playing in bad weather. He has started in 25 tournaments with inclement weather and his average finish is 30th. The only golfers with a higher average finish were Xander, Patrick Cantlay, and Jordan Spieth.
Tyrell Hatton – 18/1
What’s not to like this week when it comes to Tyrell Hatton? I’ll be honest, he’s not on my betting card much because he always seems to be contention but can never win on Sunday and close the door, this might be the week though! Hatton is considered to be one of the best links-style players on tour and he has won multiple times in Europe. He has also played in this event the past three years with his worst finish being 24th. Hatton also hasn’t missed a cut since April playing in the Valero. Also since the Valero he has finished in the top 10 three times in just seven starts. What’s the most encouraging thing lately is there really isn’t a weak point in Hatton’s game. In his last five starts he’s gaining 5.4 strokes putting, 1.7 strokes gained approached, and 2.4 strokes off the tee. I think Hatton’s game is peaking at the right time and we might see him win this week!
Jordan Spieth – 21/1
Another guy making his first appearance on the PGN betting card. Jordan Spieth just like Hatton, doesn’t have a win to his name this year, but both are close. I know Jordan missed the cut at the U.S. Open and he just wore a really wrinkly suit at Wimbledon with his best friends Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, but I think he could win this week. Jordan has played well here before finishing 10th last year. He is also one of the most accomplished links style players playing in this field this week. In Jordan’s last 10 starts he has missed three cuts, but in his other seven starts he’s finished in the top 30. In half of those starts he has finished in the top five. With the unexpected weather, I expect Jordan to be creative attacking the greens and be confident with every shot in his bag to hopefully secure his first win of the season.
Shane Lowry – 29/1
Links style golf in bad weather conditions, sounds exactly like a great time to bet Shane Lowry. Surprisingly Shane Lowry only has one top 10 finish this year, but he has also put some great rounds up this year. Shanes biggest issue is putting four rounds together. Best case scenario Shane puts up a great round Thursday and then grind it out Saturday and Sunday for the win. We know the Irishman plays well in bad conditions. We also know Shane ranks 16th in Strokes Gained tee to green and 13th in Strokes Gained approach. The one thing holding Shane back is his putter. In his last 10 rounds he’s losing 0.6 strokes putting, but in his last five he’s actually gaining 0.9 strokes putting, so maybe he’s trending up a bit. If Shane’s putter can get hot this week I think he has a real shot of winning this thing.
Justin Rose – 34/1
Justin Rose is having a career resurgence this year. He grabbed his first win earlier this year at Pebble Beach, his first in four years. He has also put together a great season as a whole. The only disappointing finish recently was the missed cut at the U.S. Open. Where he didn’t even play that bad he just dug himself too big of a hole Thursday to make the cut Friday. Justin Rose has also won this event in 2014 and we know how much the Englishman loves playing links style golf. I don’t blame him, his game fits perfectly. Rose ranks 14th in Strokes Gained putting, 16th Strokes Gained approach, and his only glaring weakness this year is his Strokes Gained around the greens is 96th, but this week chipping is easier than most courses. I think if the putter and wedges stay hot for Justin Rose he has a great chance to win this week after a disappointing finish at the British Masters.
Aaron Rai / T40 / -110
A past champion getting overlooked? I think Aaron Rai is getting disrespected this week. He won the Scottish Open in 2020 beating everyone’s betting darling this week Tommy Fleetwood. Aaron Rai shot 11 under to secure the win in 2020. He’s also playing great in his last 3 tournaments finishing ninth at the Rocket Mortgage, 24th at the Travelers, and third at the RBC Canadian.
Adam Scott / T40 / -115
I just don’t get this one. Adam Scott is one of the best links style players on tour and all we need him to do is finish top 40? I’m in! Even with his irons not playing as well as we’re used to, he’s still putting up great performances this year with three top 10s this year and only one missed cut all year. He also had one of his best performance with his irons at the Travelers gaining 1.5 strokes on approach. His putter has also been encouraging gaining 2.8 strokes at the travelers and 5.9 strokes at the Memorial.
Ryan Fox / T40 / +115
Ryan Fox loves playing links styled golf. He has also just been playing good golf everywhere; he hasn’t missed a cut since April at the Valero. He has also finished in the top six twice at the Scottish. What’s also encouraging about Ryan’s game and will bode well here is his approach game. At the U.S. Open he gained 3.9 strokes on approach. He hasn’t lost strokes on his approach game since his last missed cut at the Valero Texas Open.