2021 Scottish Open
A week I had not intended on covering, but with the Canadian Open being shelved earlier in the year, I have since added it. The John Deere is an event which down the years I have had success in, but one which now suffers from players preferring a links prep, or a week off ahead of The Open. As such we have what is probably the weakest field this calendar year on the PGA Tour, and sees players typically offered up at 100/1+ now hovering around the 30/1 mark. It’s not a tournament I want to get too heavily involved in, with the outright not offering much in the way of value, and the alternative markets both light on numbers and weak in nature. I will however offer up a couple of bets for the higher quality Scottish Open.
The PGA fare comes courtesy of the John Deere Classic, which as ever will be played out at TPC Deere Run, a pretty defenseless Par 71 at 7270 yards. Put it in the fairway, attack the pins and hole the puts. It’s a pretty simplistic strategy around here, and making pars will see you treading water. There is the chance of some wind of note from Friday onwards, and that could prevent scoring reaching beyond -20 if it materialises, but a hot putter will be required regardless.
Though Steve Stricker won here at short odds on more than one occasion, and Jordan Spieth converted as a 3/1 favourite in 2015, there have been big priced winners thrown in too as is befitting of a birdie fest such as this.
Players of Interest:
In all honesty there aren’t many that appeal to me this week that also come with an appealing price beside their name. I was very quick to sidestep the front of the market. I am a fan of Daniel Berger and find he is one of those less ‘sexy’ types that can often be dismissed by punters too quickly, but Deere Run isn’t a layout which I would see as one that would help him assert his class edge over this field. Berger is more of a grinder, and this week’s layout is more of a level playing field which will be fought out on the greens. By no means is he a poor putter, and he could very well oblige here, but at just 10/1 he can do so without me.
Very similar comments apply to 2014 winner Brian Harman. Another who I find value in quite often, he deserves his place as second favorite here, but it’s an event I have preferred to look further down the betting for a bit more juice.
JHONATTAN VEGAS fits the bill as a potential winner here, and at 45/1 to extended places, I am prepared to take the plunge. The Venezualan arrives here off 6 successive cuts made, and some excellent performances to boot. 9th at the low scoring Byron Nelson 4 starts ago, he improved upon that when runner up at Congaree on his penultimate start. Clearly bristling with confidence at the moment, that can be a key factor this week. Players will both expect and need to make plenty of birdies here. Coming here fresh off top end results where the ball has been disappearing into the hole with regularity on the greens, can only help. Course specialist here Zach Johnson has stated the importance of getting the ball in play here, and then attacking the pins. Vegas’ game from the tee has been superb for many years now, and it’s no surprise he has a 3rd place finish here in 2014. He will set himself up for plenty of green light approaches from the fairways and if he can putt like he did at Craig Ranch and Congaree he will give himself an excellent chance of a 4th PGA Tour win.
Those previous wins have come courtesy of back to back Canadian Open wins in 2016 and 2017, and his debut win in the 90 hole Bob Hope Classic back in 2011. His winning totals to par in those 3 events were -12, -21 and -27. He can clearly go low when it’s demanded, and given the form he brings in here this week, I can see him doing so again.
The aforementioned Zach Johnson was interesting. A former winner here, he also has a catalogue of top 5 finishes to his name,and I do feel he has been showing more than his results suggest of late. I thought he might have been neglected a bit more by the market though, and just don’t see enough in his price of 40/1 to get involved. Doc Redman was also worthy of a second look, but as said earlier it’s not an event I want to get too heavily involved in and as such I have just two other outright recommendations.
First of those is MAVERICK MCNEALY. Five years ago the then 20 year old was one the most exciting amateurs in the game. Unlike some of his peers, it has taken a few years and a route via the Korn Ferry Tour, before he has reached where his young career promised. It was the Pebble Beach ProAm in February when McNealy first really took the eye of casual viewers. Runner up there to Daniel Berger, it came only a few outings after a 12th place finish at The Mayakoba, another event that demands players to go low. 4th at the RBC Heritage since, he showed there and obviously at Pebble that he can handle anything the wind will throw at him this week. And his most recent form has certainly been trending in the right direction, maybe even towards his first win on Tour given the relative weakness of this week’s field.
Now just outside the top 100 in the OWGR, it won’t be long until he cracks that milestone, and one feels he will stay there for quite some time. He played here in 2017 as an amateur, and though he didn’t trouble the judge, he did produce 4 under par rounds on his way to 44th. A very commendable effort. Now the far more complete player, he can have designs on a much loftier finish. If Zach Johnson is to be believed, cracking TPC Deere Run is about an on song game from the tee and a hot putter. Maverick has been scoring very well in both departments of late, and his recent run on 20/30/21 will send him here confident he can contend. He hasn’t looked afraid of the winning line on the few occasions he has been in the heat of Sunday battle, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he took the next big step in his career here this week.
For my final bet this week, I head back towards the head of the market. At 22/1 he just about scrapes into the team, but the claims of KEVIN STREELMAN are crystal clear. Having contended at Torrey in the US Open on his penultimate start, it was perhaps no surprise that he ran out of gas early at The Travelers. His form prior to that though reads very well in the context of this field.
Top 30 at the Wells Fargo set the wheels in motion for a very good run from the 2 time PGA Tour winner. 8th at the PGA Championship, 20th at the Charles Schwab, 13th in Muirfield ahead of that 15th in the most recent major, it’s a run of finishes most in this field would crave for. When winning the 2014 Travelers, Streelman produced back to back 64’s at the weekend, highlighted by a 7 birdie barrage to close out the tournament. Exactly the type of scoring prowess required around this week’s layout. 8th here in 2012, and 7th on his latest visit in 2018 adds credence to the view that it is a venue Streelman can conquer, and with very little in the way of big names to fear this week, I am prepared to take my chances on a proven winner. The putter has been his friend in recent weeks, and given his tee to green game has been at its accurate best for some time now, all seems in place for a title assault here this week.
At longer prices, Roger Sloan, Mark Anderson and Pat Perez were of some interest, but I am happy enough to leave it at the 3 above.
I would be fairly lukewarm on the prospects and prices of both Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim this week. I would make both a few notches bigger than they are in the outright market, and that has filtered down into this sub market. True there is very little strength to this section, but at 13/2 I would prefer the claims of C.T. PAN to be the one to take advantage.
Like Streelman, the man from Taiwan missed his most recent cut at The Travelers, but had amassed some excellent finishes prior to that. His game would appear to be in better all round shape than Kim, who has not only missed his two cuts here, but is also less than half the price of the selection. Sungjae Im is the deserved favourite here, and the most likely winner, but at 13/2 with very little else to beat I am prepared to weigh in with Pan. 7th in the November Masters, he has since been 3rd in the Honda Classic, and there was much to like about his 4 displays prior to his outing at River Highlands. In a weak section, he warrants a bet.
Top 20 Finish:
I had been hoping to get Pat Perez on side here, but at a high of just 10/3 I have left alone. If 4/1 materialises on the Betfair Exchange before the off, I will play that.
Not many bets stateside this week, but there will be plenty more to get our teeth into with the final major of the year next week.
1.5pts ew Kevin Streelman 22/1 (⅕ odds 8 places, Coral/Lads) *25/1 to 5 places with 365 is fine .75pt ew Maverick McNealy 40/1 (⅕ odds 8 places, Coral/Lads) *General 40/1 to 6/7 places also fine
.7pt ew Jhonattan Vegas 45/1 (⅕ odds 7 places, Betfred/Skybet) **40/1+ acceptable *50/1 7 places available with 888 for those that can
3pts C.T. Pan 13/2 (Coral/Lads/PP/BFSB) **5/1+ acceptable *Other firms not yet up
I have had a couple of bets here. A much stronger field than the John Deere, it will be interesting to see how the big names perform ahead of Royal ST. George next week.
From an outright perspective I have once again gone with 3 selections. ANDY SULLIVAN had a disappointing finish last week to deprive us of a playoff, having held favouritism at one stage on Friday afternoon, but there was enough to like about his display to suggest he is worth weighing in with again here at 60/1.
MARTIN KAYMER is enjoying a much welcomed revival of late, and I feel quotes of about 60/1 underplay his chances here.
BERND WIESBERGER is a prolific winner on the European Tour and a former winner of this event at this course. In excellent form of late, he is also worth backing at 35/1.
I have long been a fan of MATTHEW SOUTHGATE when he gets a links test to tackle, and given his penchant for high finishes in this type of event, I have backed him in both the Top 20 and Tope English markets.
.5pt ew Andy Sullivan 60/1 (⅕ odds 8 places, PP/WH/888/BFSB/Betfred)
.5pt ew Martin Kaymer 60/1 (⅕ odds 8 places, Betfred) **70/1 to 5 places with 365, 66/1 to 6 places with Unibet 1pt ew Bernd Wiesberger 35/1 (⅕ odds 8 places, PP/BFSB/Skybet/WH)
Top 20 Finish:
2pts Matt Southgate 15/2 (WH/PP/BFSB) *13/2+ acceptable, currently 9.0 on a weak exchange
.5pt ew Matt Southgate 40/1 (¼ odds 4 places, WH/PP/BFSB/Coral/Lads/Skybet/Betway)
That’s all for this week, I will be back next Tuesday at slightly later time of 5.30pm with my preview of the Open Championship. The later time will be something I will stick to to enable those working during the day a fairer crack at getting on at the recommended prices.