With just a week to go until the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews, Thursday sees this year’s Genesis Scottish Open begin at Renaissance.
As one of five Rolex events on the 2022 golfing calendar, the traditional pre-cursor to the Open is this year more stacked than ever, with both PGA and DP World Tours in attendance. With a purse of eight million dollars at stake, this week will be quite the taster for the main event at the Home of Golf next week. So who is the smart money on?
*all prices with SkyBet at 12 places unless stated
With notable absentee and now world number two Rory McIlroy over at the JP McManus Pro-Am, Jon Rahm has assumed the role of favourite this week. Renaissance was initially designed for power and flair and Rahm ticks both boxes. The best driver on the PGA Tour, the Spaniard is boosted at 11/1 for 10 places with SkyBet; a bet which looks well set.
In its fourth year at the North Berwick links, Min Woo Lee – himself 60/1 – Aaron Rai and Bernd Wiesberger have take the title in the first three editions but as the tournament celebrates its 50th edition, two Americans have won the Scottish Open since 2013. Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson are those two men and with the PGA Tour in town, a third winner in nine years looks entirely possible.
Two major winners from this season in Justin Thomas and Scottie Scheffler are the strongest contenders. In the case of the JT, this year’s PGA Champion has finished top 10 here in the last two years and finds Renaissance to his comfort. Thomas at 10/1 could be smart money.
With three big British names having now switched to LIVGolf, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood are barred from participation, however, Ian Poulter is permitted to play after his ban was lifted. With McIlroy absent also, US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick will likely take centre stage.
Just like when he won at Brookline, the Englishman has history at Renaissance and lost in a playoff 12 months ago. Fitzpatrick will surely be a focal point of the weekend and at 18/1 for 12 places with Bet365, the Sheffield native could set up a shot at successive major wins in style.
Scotland will be well represented at Renaissance of course and Robert MacIntyre has done well against the best in the world in the past and could feature, despite not carrying the greatest form into the tournament. Set to be roared on in the shadows of Edinburgh however, the Scot is well worth a small e/w lay at 60/1.
Another US trio that are poised to knock at the door are Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa and Will Zalatoris.
Of the four, Schauffele is the most recent winner at the Travelers and has already shown his prowess on the links with a runners-up place at the 2018 Open, also finishing T10 in Scotland last year. Whilst Schauffele is available at 10s, Morikawa, of course will defend the Claret Jug next week and cannot be overlooked at 22/1 for 10 places with BoyleSports.
In the case of Zalatoris meanwhile, another bridesmaid award in a major proved the Californian’s consistency in the big tournaments but yet to win a Tour event, could his first trip to the Scottish Open be his making? With little experience with this type of game, a 20/1 shot might not prove value but equally, if his game does click into top gear Zalatoris might well be in the final pairings come Sunday.
Of the DP Tour troupe, Ryan Fox again fell short of a third European title at the Irish Open last week, but still has victory from February in Dubai to fall back on. The New Zealander is a man in form and despite the stellar field to face, might be worth a look at 33/1.
The man who eventually toppled him only days ago, Adrian Meronk, become the first Polish player to win a Tour event at Mount Juliet and having threatened the top of the leaderboard all season, will be buoyant. Meronk will be an outsider this week for sure but his at 66/1 for 8 places with PaddyPower merits examination.
Taking at the look at the specials on the table, for either Rahm or Scheffler to win, a 5/1 offer might suit well, whilst for Rahm or Fitzpatrick to claim the crown a 13/2 boost is another alternative, both with SkyBet.
Either Rahm or Scheffler to go wire-to-wire can be had at 100/1 individually with Bet365, or for one final offering, for both players to finish in the top 10 a 5/1 price with PaddyPower could round off the weekend nicely.