The British Open is just days away, meaning oddsmakers are starting to release their odds for this weekend at Royal Portrush. The favorite at the moment is the same if you ask both OddsShark and MyTopSportsBooks: Rory McIlroy.
The County Down native won’t be too far away from his home, as Portrush is nestled just an hour on the southern coast of Northern Ireland. According to Stephen Campbell at OddsShark, this is one of the factors that has McIlory on top of the field at +800 odds. MyTopSportsBooks has him at 17/2, just ahead of Brooks Koepka at 9/1.
These tournaments rarely seem to turn out as expected, however. Who would’ve had Gary Woodland winning the U.S. Open just weeks ago at Pebble Beach (by the way, he’s in the top-25 per OddsShark)? What about Danny Willett at the 2016 Master’s?
With the expectation of the unexpected in mind, here’s a look at some longshots and sleepers for The Open Championship.
British Open 2019 Sleepers & Longshots
One name to look out for is Brandt Snedeker. The Nashville native has worked his way into five top-10 finishes this year.
His pattern of play has been to struggle for two or three weeks and then break out with a solid performance. This has been the case since his 16th-place finish at the PGA Championship in mid-May. Three weeks later, he shot a 13-under par for a 4th-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open.
After two straight flops at the ensuing weekly events, he posted a 17-under par at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit for a tie for fifth. Rather than run himself into the ground, he opted to rest in preparation for Royal Portrush.
In addition, his best performance in a major came at the 2012 British Open, where he finished in a tie for third behind Ernie Els and Adam Scott. His odds per OddsShark at +15000.
Patrick Cantlay is an emerging choice to contend this weekend. Action Network’s Jason Sobel says that he could breakthrough with his first major win.
I think Cantlay is on the verge of bursting through that barrier and joining that crowd, and he can go a long way toward proving it this week. A lone previous result of 12th last year suggests he’s suited to links golf, while the confidence from being 21st or better at this year’s first three majors should offer momentum.
He’s at 42/1 per MyTopSportsBook. He’s already posted top-10 finishes at this year’s Master’s and PGA Championship. He also netted a win at the Memorial Tournament in May. His only other appearance at the British Open was a solid 3-under par last year, which led to a tie for 12th-place.
These recent results show a trajectory for future success.
The last underdog candidate is Hideki Matsyuma at +4000 odds per OddsShark, which is top-20. According to CBS Sports, he will likely be in contention, since he hasn’t missed a cut all year.
Matsuyama, a 27-year-old Japanese golfer ranked No. 29 in the world, has finished in the top 20 in the Open two of the last four years. And while he’s still gunning for his first major title, he’s finished sixth or better in every major in his career. His best finish in the Open was sixth in 2013, five strokes behind champion Phil Mickelson.
In addition, a golfer outside of the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom has won the tournament four times in the last decade. Matsuyama would be the first Asian golfer to win, but there’s a first time for everything, right?
Coverage for Day One at Royal Portrush starts Thursday at 1:35 a.m. Eastern time on the Golf Channel.