John Deere Classic Review
Michael Kim came out of nowhere to win by a disgusting margin, giving golf fans a third straight Sunday afternoon spent away from the television. It was a nice bounce back week for us, with ‘A’ grade Bronson Burgoon finishing T-2, ‘B’ grade Kevin Streelman finishing T-7 and DK only ‘A’ grade, Vaughn Taylor winding up 32nd. As well, our DK fade of the week, uber-chalk Chez Reavie, missed the cut by two strokes.
The 147th Open Championship at Royal Carnoustie
When the first Open Championship took place in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for President, Canada was seven years away from being country, Britain was fighting the second Opium War with China, and Charles Dickens had just published Great Expectations. Yet we’re off to a town on the southeastern coast of Scotland that makes 147 years of history seem quaint. Royal Carnoustie is one of the oldest venues in the history of golf, a place where the game has been played since the early 16th century.
Described as a prototypical Open course, Carnoustie is a 7400-yard par 71, with bentgrass/meadow/fescue greens. It has two par fives and two par-threes. There are seven par fours in the 450-500 range, and 13 overall. Players will have to deal with tight fairways at an average of 24 yards wide, though driving distance correlated more than driving accuracy the last time the tournament was played here in 2007.
It’s been dry and hot in Scotland over the past week (well, hot for Scotland) and players are reporting the course is baked out. According to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, during a practice round, Dustin Johnson’s tee shot on 18 travelled 473 yards. Short hitter Brandt Snedeker also hit a drive 427 yards. Not sure who this gives an advantage to, but it sounds like a few players will be opting for irons off the tee.
There is a bit of rain in the forecast, but If the wind doesn’t pick up, we could see some low scores on Thursday and Friday.
I’m going to focus more on recent form than usual this week. There’s a clear track record of past champions having excellent recent results heading into the Open. If your game isn’t already humming, you’re probably not going to find it on a difficult coastal links course. The past eight Open champions had made a total of 15 of 16 cuts in their two tournaments prior to the Open, with eleven of those finishes in the top-20.
An early look at ownership suggests big numbers are going to concentrate in the $8000-9000 range. With players like Henrik Stenson at $8200 and Jason Day at $8800, the always popular Paul Casey at $8700, the trendy Alex Noren at $8300 and the hot-fire Francesco Molinari at $8600, it’s easy to see why. There is so much value here, that it’s going to be hard to get off these guys. Stenson’s pricing is just stupid, but a withdrawal from the Scottish Open due to wrist injury might lower ownership. Its sounds like he’s not 100 percent.
At the bottom, Emiliano Grillo is looking like the chalk at $6800. He could approach 20%, which will put him into full fade territory, especially with so many other talented golfers in that range. The pricing is soft this week, so the key is going to be finding low-owned pivots off the chalk. If you’re going full-fade on Grillo, go grab him at 175-1, throw an E/W on there, and you’re covered if he goes off.
It’ll be interesting to see how this breaks. Two of the least trendy picks at the top, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Speith, also have two the highest bargain ratings, while Stenson is priced much more appropriately. Sergio Garcia at 28-1 could get some love with that reduced priced tag (below Finau, DeChambeau and Webb Simpson).
Flying under the radar
Phil Mickleson is not getting talked up around the industry, yet we’re just two years removed from his epic battle with Henrik Stenson at the 2017 Open. I’m not usually a big Phil guy, but he makes birdies, he’s $8000 and early on, his ownership is hovering around 5%. That number might trend upward with Phil’s name recognition and casual fans tending to play more on Major weeks.
I’ll also keep an eye on Louis Oosthuizen and Brandt Snedeker during the week. They’re intriguing plays if their ownership doesn’t get too high.
At the very top, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy are all going to have sub-10% ownership. Perfect Milly Maker plays.
This might be the best way to get an advantage on the field, depending on how thing shape up over the course of the week. At the U.S. Open, the AM/PM draw had a stroke and a half advantage, and right now it’s looking like the AM/PM draw would have the advantage, but it’s too early for any accurate weather projections.
Thanks for checking in, we’ll have our plays, fades and low-owned GPP fliers out tomorrow.
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