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Open Championship picks 2022: The winning formula for Will Zalatoris

July 12, 2022
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We are as hungry as you are to end the major season with an outright winner. Our panel has been brilliant on top-10s and matchups … with an OK record on winners (and too many close calls). There are still plenty of betting opportunities left on the schedule, but this is one we (and you, the reader) really, really want.

With so many options at the top of the odds board—Xander Schauffele is scorching hot; Jordan Spieth can end a nearly five-year major drought; Rory McIlroy is peaking—it’s going to be hard to narrow down your selections. We’re here to help you do just that, and perhaps build your bankroll with some matchup and placement selections.

As always, our picks come courtesy of Pat Mayo from Mayo Media Network/DraftKings; Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel; Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com; Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports and an anonymous caddie, sending us his picks from the Open Championship at the Old Course.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 Open Championship.

Open Championship picks 2022: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Xander Schauffele (18-1, Bet365) — This 18-1 price is similar to what his odds were before the Scottish Open win, and you’re getting the most confident player in the field who has won on all types of courses over the past month-plus. Rory’s the rightful favorite, but Xander might just keep this heater rolling.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Justin Thomas (16-1, DraftKings) — No, his Open history isn’t sterling, but St. Andrews is a different beast. Who has the best combination of distance, creativity greenside, wedge play inside 125 yards, plus par-4 scoring? It’s JT. Don’t be concerned about his MC at the Scottish, focus more on his overall recent form, in which he’s posted three top 5s (incident a major victory) over his past six starts.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Will Zalatoris (27-1, FanDuel) — You can’t ever really regret backing Zalatoris at a major, and he’s set up well to navigate the tests at the Old Course. He will gain distance on the field, and his ball-striking splits in the wind are great, via data from FantasyNational.com. Another key variable for him this week: The greens are massive, and while the putter looks shaky from in close, he’s a very good lag putter and three-putt avoider.

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Jordan Spieth (16-1, DraftKings) — Spieth struggled to the finish line last week, giving away a ton of shots on the back nine Sunday in Scotland. Despite the struggles, he still finished T-10 and was in contention throughout the event. He gained in all four major strokes-gained categories for the fifth time this year, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Combine his stat profile with his creativity and Open Championship history (second, T-20, T-9, WIN, T-30, T-4, T-36, T-44), and you’ve got a recipe for Spieth success.

Every Hole At The Old Course

Golf Digest's Architecture Editor Emeritus, Ron Whitten, narrates this spectacular hole by hole drone tour of The Old Course at St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Justin Thomas (22-1, BetMGM) — This number is bananas on the PGA champion. He’ll have those short, in-between wedge distances dialed as well as anybody. My only question is whether he can make enough putts to get to the 17-to-20 under mark that might be needed. But he’ll definitely have enough opportunities to do so … and at this number, I think it’s worth the bet.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Will Zalatoris (27-1, FanDuel) — It seems foolish not to bet Will Zalatoris in a major at this point. Six top-eight finishes in his last eight major starts, including three runners-up. The only reason not to bet him is his history in the Open seems non-existent, but, if you recall, he was playing pretty well at Royal St. George’s a year ago before he was forced to withdraw after injuring himself in some fescue. He’ll be up to the links challenge, and I refuse to miss out on the coronation.

Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Rory McIlroy (10-1, FanDuel) — I’ve been eyeing up this Open for a while for McIlroy and his recent good form has only solidified the pick. He loves St. Andrews and comes into this event ranked first in the field for SG/total over the last two months.

Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel had another strong season in 2020-’21, correctly predicting 14 winners in the last 28 events of the year. The 2021-’22 season has been kind to us so far, too. Just two weeks ago, two of our experts (Pat Mayo and Lee Aldrick) selected Rory McIlroy at 8-1 to win the RBC Canadian Open. Previously this season, Christopher Powers nailed Scottie Scheffler’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at 29-1 and then backed it up with Joaquin Niemann at 60-1 to win at Riviera. A few weeks before that, Mayo also correctly predicted Luke List’s victory at Torrey Pines at 70-1. Rick Gehman hit Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall, as well as Viktor Hovland (19-1) at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Brandon Gdula also hit on Hovland at Mayakoba, and Stephen Hennessey cashed on Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship.

Open Championship picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Ryan Fox (80-1, DraftKings) — Just like Xander, Foxxy is on a heater as well. What if I told you three months ago that Fox would have a better chance (per oddsmakers) to win The Open than guys like Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners and Adam Scott? Well, you would’ve thought I was mad. But everyone’s aware of his great run … and it should continue here.

Mayo: Louis Oosthuizen (40-1, FanDuel) — The first- and second-place finishes at the Old Course are obvious, but it’s his LIV form that’s encouraging. He’s posted top 10s at both of those events, along with a top 10 on the DP Tour in Munich. I have no idea how to judge the competitiveness level of any of those tournaments, but his play has been markedly better from the beginning of the PGA Tour year.

Gdula: Sungjae Im (65-1, FanDuel) — I never like to get too careless with longshot outrights in majors. Im comes in at solid odds, however, after dropping from 50-1. He’s missed two straight cuts, but that’s not enough to shy away. He’s good in the wind and ranked 23rd in the world—Sungjae fits within the right class of player to back.

Gehman: Corey Conners (80-1, DraftKings) — Conners finished 15th at last year’s Open Championship, and he enters this week in top form. He’s gained strokes from tee-to-green in 10 of his past 12 events while piling up six top-15 finishes during that stretch. He’s one of the better wedge players on tour and is in the top 25 in par-4 scoring. That’ll be important considering there are 14 par 4s on the card this week. He’ll need to putt well, but Conners should offer plenty of value at this price.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Billy Horschel (125-1, Bet365) — Just a massive number that’s too good to pass up. When I think of positional golf, Billy Ho comes to mind. He’s been disappointing since the win at Muirfield Village, but he’s been over in Europe the past two weeks practicing … and I think he’ll have the creative shots he needs for the Old Course dialed.

Powers, Golf Digest: Adam Scott (100-1, PointsBet) — Adam Scott has crafted a limited schedule his entire career, but now at 41 it’s become extra-limited and it revolves around the majors. He’s only played five times since April, and three of those have been majors, the most recent of which resulted in a T-14 at Brookline. He’ll be back at St. Andrews the next time the Open returns, but he has to feel like this is his last real shot at winning the claret jug at the Old Course. Given the conditions of the course, and the fact the Open has a history of producing older, experienced winners, there’s no reason the Aussie can’t contend for what would be an all-time cherry on top of a great career.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Justin Rose (75-1, Bet365) — Rose’s affinity to links golf means he ranks seventh in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking this week. His form of late has been impressive too. He comes into this event ranked 14th for SG/total over the last two months. One of the reasons for this is his putting of late where he ranks 13th in the field this week for SG/putting over the last two months.

Open Championship picks 2022: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)

Caddie: Scottie Scheffler (14-1, DraftKings) — This takes some big guts, or stupidity. But I wasn’t encouraged by the shots I saw him hitting at the Scottish Open. Experience matters a lot at the Old Course, and the young stud lacks it.

Mayo: Jon Rahm (16-1, DraftKings) — It will look silly when he gets all his game back in the bottle and dominates the field, but it just hasn’t been there for Rahm this year. Even when he won in Mexico, it felt like a B- performance.

Gdula: Tommy Fleetwood (28-1, FanDuel) — Fleetwood’s recent form is on the upswing, but the long-term data is still a bit too weak for him to be 28-1, same as Collin Morikawa and just behind Will Zalatoris. I don’t think he’s incapable of getting the win; however, the recent finishes have pushed his odds too much.

Gehman: Jon Rahm (16-1, DraftKings) — Fading the top of the board is always terrifying and we have to start splitting hairs to find concerns with the best players. Rahm has lost strokes off-the-tee in two of his past three events, which is jarring. He had gained strokes in the category in 44 straight events prior to this “slump.” Maybe even more concerning is his approach play, where he’s lost 2.51 strokes in the category over his last eight starts. Compare that to the 22.82 strokes he gained on approach in his eight starts prior. Rahm is struggling with the ball-striking, and we are being asked to pay an elite price.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Jon Rahm (16-1, DraftKings) — I’ll join the chorus of faders on Jon Rahm. The approaches from 75-to-125 yards isn’t exactly his forte, and so I’ll be looking to fade Rahm in matchups.

Powers, Golf Digest: Jon Rahm (16-1, DraftKings) — Tough top of the board to fade given how well everyone is playing right now, but I’ll pass on Rahm, who isn’t the best at handling bad breaks and awkward bounces, of which there will be many at the Old Course.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Justin Thomas (16-1, DraftKings) — Thomas was my fade last week, and I’m going to fade him once again. He does not get on well with links courses. He ranks just 47th in the FanShare Sports’ course-suitability ranking this week and missed the cut at the Scottish Open last week.

Open Championship picks 2022: Matchups

Caddie: Patrick Cantlay (+100) over Justin Thomas (DraftKings) — The wrong guy might be favored here. Cantlay’s playing his best golf of the year right now (fourth at the Scottish; 13th at the Travelers, 14th at the U.S. Open and third at the Memorial). Meanwhile, JT has been on coast mode after the PGA win. JT will be fired up to start, because he’s a great competitor, but if he gets off to a tough start, I could see him packing it in … whereas you’ll get more consistency with Patrick.

Mayo: Louis Oosthuizen (-120) over Brooks Koepka (DraftKings) — While Oostie has seen a jolt since joining LIV, Brooks is still searching for a spark. The majors have been a disaster for Koepka so far this season, and nothing indicates it’s going to turn around any time soon.

Gdula: Patrick Cantlay (-122) over Collin Morikawa (FanDuel) — Cantlay is just the better golfer over the past year and within all smaller time frames since then. He has a poor major record but has largely had some weak putting showings in majors to bog things down. Morikawa’s lag putting (125th in the field) will really be put to the test this week.

Gehman: Louis Oosthuizen (-110) over Tony Finau (DraftKings) — It’s difficult to reconcile results from the LIV Golf Tour, where Oosthuizen now resides. He has earned a top-10 finish in each of his two starts on that circuit and earned a T-8 finish at the BMW International Open on the DP World Tour at the end of last month. His Open Championship history is pristine with a third-place finish last year, a runner-up in 2015 and a win in 2010—the ‘15 and ‘10 results coming at St. Andrews.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy (-142) over Jon Rahm (FanDuel) — Like I mentioned above, fading Rahm is a popular opinion this week. And though you’re paying a lot of juice in this matchup with Rory, I’m willing to lay it with the betting favorite.

Powers, Golf Digest: Hideki Matsuyama (-110) over Viktor Hovland (DraftKings) — Hovland seems somewhat lost out there right now, and I can’t imagine he’ll be very good around the greens this week off the tight, rock-hard lies at St. Andrews. Matsuyama, who has two top-four finishes in his last four starts, is the safe play here.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Louis Oosthuizen (-110) over Tony Finau (Betway) — I really like Oosthuizen this week. Finau on the hand ranks just 54th for Opportunities Gained over the past two months. Plus his putting has not been sharp enough to take advantage of the rare opportunities he is giving himself, ranking just 55th in the field this week for SG/putting over the last six months.

Matchup Results from the Scottish Open: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Schauffele (-120) over Cantlay); Powers: 1 for 1 (Homa (-110) over Bradley); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Rahm (-110) over Thomas); Caddie: PUSH (Hovland (+100) over Im); Gehman: PUSH (Homa (+100) over Niemann); Mayo: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 24-7-4 (up 15.87 units); Powers: 20-13-4 (up 6.82 units); Caddie: 20-14-3 (up 4.65 units); Alldrick: 21-14-2 (up 4.35 units); Gdula: 17-18-1 (down 2.19 units); Gehman: 15-16-5 (down 2.02 units); Hennessey: 17-19-1 (down 6.24 units)

Open Championship picks 2022: Top 10s

Caddie: Chris Kirk (+1600, Bet365) — Kirk finished fifth at the PGA a few months ago, and though he didn’t play well on the weekend at the Scottish, I like him getting his reps in. Chris has all the shots around the green and can control his irons in the wind … his game should be suited nicely to links golf.

Mayo: Jordan Spieth (+180, DraftKings) — In eight Open appearances Spieth has never missed a cut, posting a win, a runner-up, four top 10s, plus six top 30s in his past six starts. Even when his game was in shambles, Spieth’s creativity from 50 yards and in on these courses always gave him an advantage on the field, along with his ability to know which long putts to get aggressive with and which to attack defensively.

Gdula: Hideki Matsuyama (+450, FanDuel) — Matsuyama missed the cut last week at the Genesis Scottish Open, and it caused his odds to fall too much. Matsuyama holds a top-seven mark in strokes-gained average at majors since 2017, he’s good in the wind, and for all his putting issues, he is a solid three-putt avoider.

Gehman: Max Homa (+350, DraftKings) — Homa faded on the back nine Sunday at the Scottish Open but still notched a T-16 finish. That marks six straight events gaining multiple strokes to the field from tee-to-green. His short game had previously been the leak in his game, losing strokes around-the-green in seven of his first 10 events of 2022. Now he’s gained in four straight and there’s no longer a flaw in his stat profile.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tommy Fleetwood (+333, Bet365) — Tommy Lad’s ball-striking was lights-out on Sunday at the Scottish Open, gaining nearly three strokes on approach. With his elite scrambling, Fairway Jesus should make a run at the Old Course. He talked on our podcast a few weeks ago how much he loves St. Andrews, and with his top finishes at the Dunhill, he has a leg up on some of the other players around him.

Powers, Golf Digest: Stewart Cink (+1600, DraftKings) — Old guys-wise, I think most folks will be drawn to Tiger or Padraig Harrington, but I’d rather ride with Stewart Cink, who has been seriously contending in PGA Tour events for the past two years. He’s also coming off a sneaky top-25 finish at the Scottish Open last week, and we’re all well aware of his history in this event. This marks his fifth time at St. Andrews for the Open, having made three of the previous four cuts with a T-20 in 2015 his best finish.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Louis Oosthuizen (+450, Bet365) — Oosthuizen has finished first and second the last two times the Open has been played at St Andrews. He also comes into this event in great form. He finished fifth last time out at the Portland LIV Golf event which was his third top 10 in his last four events. Plus let’s not forget, the South African is a major specialist.

Top-10 results from the Scottish Open: Gdula: 1 for 1 (Cameron Smith +360); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Alldrick: 13 for 37 (up 39.5 units); Powers: 12 for 37 (up 31.55 units); Gehman: 8 for 37 (up 1.7 units); Caddie: 10 for 37 (up 0 units); Hennessey: 8 for 37 (down 1.38 units); Mayo: 6 for 37 (down 2.2 units); Gdula: 5 for 36 (down 11 units)

Open Championship picks 2022: One and Done

Gehman: Tyrrell Hatton —
I wouldn’t consider Hatton a safe option, but certainly one who can allow you to make up ground in a hurry. His last five Open Championship starts have resulted in two missed cuts, two top-six finishes and a T-51. He played well at the Scottish Open last week, earning a T-24. Statistically, he’s one of the best lag putters in the game and he rarely three-putts which will be critical on the massive greens this week.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Abraham Ancer. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Scottie Scheffler. Sentry TOC: Sungjae Im. Sony Open: Corey Conners. American Express: Talor Gooch. Farmers Insurance Open: Tony Finau. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Xander Schauffele. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rory McIlroy. Players Championship: Jon Rahm. Valspar Championship: Dustin Johnson. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Patrick Cantlay. Mexico Open: Aaron Wise. Wells Fargo: Matt Fitzpatrick. AT&T Byron Nelson: Justin Thomas. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Max Homa. The Memorial Tournament: Will Zalatoris. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith. U.S. Open: Collin Morikawa. Travelers Championship: Davis Riley. John Deere Classic: Cam Davis. Scottish Open: Tommy Fleetwood.

Hennessey: Xander Schauffele — There’s no argument for saving him, as this is the biggest purse remaining, and his form is scorching hot.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Aaron Wise. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Marc Leishman. American Express: Sungjae Im. Farmers Insurance Open: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Lanto Griffin. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Will Zalatoris. Honda Classic: Russell Knox. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Keith Mitchell. Players Championship: Cameron Smith. Valspar Championship: Shane Lowry. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Justin Thomas. RBC Heritage: Russell Henley. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Troy Merritt. AT&T Byron Nelson: Jhonattan Vegas. PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler. Charles Schwab Challenge: Jordan Spieth. The Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith. U.S. Open: Rory McIlroy. Travelers Championship: Joaquin Niemann. John Deere Classic: Webb Simpson. Scottish Open: Matt Fitzpatrick.

Powers: Will Zalatoris — My pick to win this week. Eventually he’s going to bust down that door, right?

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda Championship: Patrick Rodgers. Mayakoba: Jhonattan Vegas. Houston Open: Marc Leishman. RSM Classic: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Daniel Berger. Sony Open: Kevin Na. American Express: Seamus Power. Farmers Insurance Open: Luke List. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Cameron Tringale. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bubba Watson. Genesis Invitational: Adam Scott. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Chris Kirk. Players Championship: Xander Schauffele. Valspar Championship: Sam Burns. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Matt Fitzpatrick. Mexico Open: Abraham Ancer. Wells Fargo: Keegan Bradley. AT&T Byron Nelson: Sahith Theegala. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. The Memorial Tournament: Patrick Reed. RBC Canadian Open: Tyrrell Hatton. U.S. Open: Shane Lowry. Travelers Championship: Davis Riley. John Deere Classic: Scott Stallings. Scottish Open: Viktor Hovland.

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.

Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.

Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.