Out of the Rough: Genesis Scottish Open
Boy, are these smaller fields hard to predict on the PGA tour. We talked about the lack of stars last week in preparation for the John Deere Classic and boy did we strike out. It’s hard to do anything when your top two guys (Adam Hadwin and Webb Simpson) both miss the cut. We didn’t make a single dollar this past week as we had way too many missed cuts and none of our outright or prop bets hit. The closest we came was with Maverick McNealy who had a good showing at T8th but still finished six strokes off J.T. Poston. We now head “across the pond” for the Scottish Open, which is making its debut on the PGA Tour Schedule, just a week before the final major of the year - The Open. Let’s hope we can turn things around after two down weeks.
Adam Hadwin (E) - MC
Maverick McNealy (-15) - T8th
Lanto Griffin (+1) - MC
Nate Lashley (-2) - MC
Vaughn Taylor (-10) - T30th
Webb Simpson (-1) - MC
Charles Howell III (-13) - T13th
Lucas Glover (-2) - MC
Tyler Duncan (WD)
Ben Kohles (-2) - MC
Welcome to links golf season. With The Open just two weeks away, most of the world’s best will be taking on the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in preparation.
The Renaissance Club is a rather new facility being designed by Tom Doak in 2008. It lacks the “Scottish tradition” that many of the surrounding courses have but as it sits on the bay on a beautiful piece of land, you wouldn’t know.
The course plays as a par 71 at 7,293 yards. If the wind and weather sit idle, this could be another low scoring affair. Last year’s winner, Min Woo Lee, went -18 in an unassisted by weather weekend. The year prior, Aaron Rai won at just -11 with the wind being a major factor.
The weather will be something we must keep an eye on here as those coastal winds can simply de-rail anyone’s tournament. As of the time of writing this article, weather does not seem to be an issue. Winds should remain consistent across the four days at around 15 M.P.H. There is not much, if any, threat of rain.
The course features nine par fives, again, depending on weather, that are all reachable on two shots. This sets up for a lot of birdie or even eagle opportunities this week.
Like the courses of the area, the Renaissance Club features very wide fairways and large greens.
This will see those long-bombers off the tee having an advantage with not much accuracy necessary.
On top of that, being efficient on the greens is a must. With such large Bermuda Grass greens, limiting the amount of three putts will be crucial.
As for the field, we already mentioned that most of the world’s best will be in attendance. Fourteen of the World’s top 15 golfers will tee up at the Genesis Scottish Open with Rory McIlroy being the lone one out.
It’s a very competitive field which will make for a very competitive tournament and we should see some very low rounds and scores this week. I can’t wait.
Important statistics to consider this week include Average Driving Distance, Birdie or Better Percentage, Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP,) Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT,) Three Putt Avoidance, Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT,) and Strokes Gained: Around the Green Scrambling (SG: ATG Scrambling.)
It’s a common trend when it comes to this series, but my favorite this week is none other than Justin Thomas ($10,600.) Thomas is consistently one that checks all statistical boxes week-in-and-week-out. He’s best on tour when it comes to birdie or better percentage and sixth in both SG: APP and SG: ATG Scrambling. Thomas is also 14th in average driving distance and 15th in SG: OTT. He’s even 40th in three putt avoidance and 56th in SG: PUTT. We haven’t seen Thomas since the US Open where he placed T13th. Beyond that, Thomas has three top fives in four tournaments. Obviously, he won the PGA Championship in late May. He also went third at the RBC Canadian Open and T5th at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He has just one missed cut on the season to go along with six top fives, nine top tens and 11 top 25s. Thomas is my overall favorite this week and you best believe I’ll have money on that +1200 to win line. Also consider Jon Rahm ($11,000.) Rahm may be the consensus favorite to win this week as he shares the lowest odds to win with World #1 Scottie Scheffler at +1100. Rahm is tops on tour in SG: OTT and of course is a long bomber as he’s fourth on tour in average driving distance. We already talked about the importance of that. He’s 19th in birdie or better percentage, 25th in SG: APP and 29th in three putt avoidance. He’s obviously much more than a one-trick-pony with his elite distance off the tee. If there is a downfall to his game it’s his below average finish on tour in SG: ATG Scrambling, but I think it’s obvious that the rest of his game makes up for that. Rahm has not missed the cut in this calendar year. To go along with that, he has a win at the Mexico Open at Vitanda, three top fives, six top tens and ten top 25s. This is a tournament that has Rahm written all over it.
According to our module this week, after Justin Thomas, our second favorite is Xander Schauffele ($9,900.) He’s currently fifth on tour in birdie or better percentage, eighth in SG: APP and ninth in three putt avoidance. Schauffele is actually top 46 in every single statistical category we’ve highlighted in this article, which tops Thomas’ top 56 in each category. He’s also 31st in SG: PUTT, 38th in SG: OTT, 44th in SG: ATG Scrambling and 46th in average driving distance. His game lines up perfectly and you best believe I’ll have some money on that +1800 to win line. He’s fresh off a victory in his last outing at the Travelers Championship. In his past six tournaments dating back to mid April, he has finished at worst, T18th. In that same time span he has two victories, one at the Travelers and one at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, three top fives, five top fifteens and of course, six top 18’s. He’s one of the hottest golfers on tour with his game lining up perfectly for the course. Also consider none other than Sam Burns ($9,200.) At a very fair pricing of $9,200, he brings a lot to the table this week. He’s top 70 in each of the statistical categories and top 27 in five of them. He’s eighth in birdie or better percentage, 11th in SG: APP, 12th in SG: PUTT, 25th in three putt avoidance and 27th in average driving distance. Like Schauffele, he’s checking all of the boxes for success this week. He did most recently miss the cut at the Travelers but prior to that, dating back to the PGA Championship, has not finished worse than T27th. In that same time span he won the Charles Schwab Challenge, took T4th at the RBC Canadian Open and placed T20th and T27th respectively at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. He’s sitting at +3100 to win as well.
We have two very popular names in this price range that pop up nearly every week in this series. First off we have Viktor Hovland ($8,800.) Hovland is seventh on tour in birdie or better percentage, tenth in SG: APP, 17th in SG: OTT, 28th in SG: PUTT and 37th in average driving distance. His below average ranking in three putt avoidance is a bit concerning but being well above average in SG: PUTT should make up for that. He’s also slightly above average in SG: ATG Scrambling. Prior to his missed cut at the U.S. Open, Hovland had ten straight events where he made the cut. He had a stretch earlier this year where he went T4th, T2nd and T9th at the Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players respectively. Also consider Joaquin Niemann ($8,600.) I went all in on Niemann a few weeks back at the Travelers and that did not pay off. We’ll hope for a better result this week. Niemann is currently 13th in SG: OTT, 14th in birdie or better percentage, 32nd in average driving distance and 40th in SG: APP. He’s above average in both three putt avoidance and SG: ATG Scrambling and is average in SG: PUTT. Like I previously mentioned, Niemann missed the cut at the Travelers but prior to that had a stretch of tournaments where he made eight straight cuts, highlighted by a T3rd at the Memorial in June.
I’m really high on Keegan Bradley ($7,900) this week and at +5500 to win, will be receiving some bets on my behalf. He’s one of the hottest golfers on tour currently believe it or not. Dating back to the Valero Texas Open in early April, Bradley has made seven consecutive cuts with a worst finish of T48th at the PGA Championship. He also has four top eights in those seven tournaments and two top fours. He went T7th at the U.S. Open a few weeks back as well. Bradley is 16th on tour in SG: APP, 21st in three putt avoidance, 27th in SG: OTT, 37th in birdie or better percentage and 39th in average driving distance. Heck, he’s even slightly above average in both SG: PUTT and SG: ATG Scrambling. Also consider Mito Pereira ($7,700.) This is a great value in my opinion. Part of this is due to his consecutive missed cuts at the U.S. Open and Travelers Championship but had a run prior of seven straight made cuts. More than that, his four tournaments before the two missed cuts consisted of a T17th at the AT&T Byron Nelson, T3rd at the PGA Championship, T7th at the Charles Schwab Challenge and T13th at the Memorial. He’s still elite with his iron play and ball striking. He currently ranks 11th on tour in SG: APP. He’s also 21st in SG: ATG Scrambling and 25th in SG: OTT. He’s actually top 92 in all statistical categories. At just $7,700 he may be a heavy play with the name notoriety from his PGA Championship run but with the two consecutive missed cuts, I don’t think he’ll be owned in too many lineups.
There usually is a play in this cheapest price range that ranks rather high in our module but that’s not the case this week. There are still a handful of options that we think can do well however. First off we have Alex Smalley ($6,600.) Smalley is above average in average driving distance (52nd,) SG: OTT (50th,) SG: ATG Scrambling (56th) and SG: APP (79th.) He is slightly below average in birdie or better avoidance and is not too good on the greens. He’ll need some chances to fall for him on the greens but we’re looking for him to make the cut this week and I think that’s a strong possibility. Smalley has made four cuts in his last seven events. In those four made cuts he’s gone T6th at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, T27th at the Charles Schwab, T21st at the RBC Canadian Open and T16th at the John Deere Classic. Also consider Kurt Kitayama ($6,700.) Kitayama has missed consecutive cuts on tour but had a very impressive three tournament stretch in late April to early May. He went T28th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and then followed that up with a T2nd at the Mexico Open. Kitayama then went T15th at the Wells Fargo Championship. He’s really good off the tee distance wise as he ranks 34th on tour. He’s also 60th in SG: APP, 76th in SG: OTT and top 100 in birdie or better percentage. If he can catch some form like he did two month back, he could make some noise.
Strokes Gained: Proximity to Course
Strokes gained: Proximity to Course (SG: PTC) is the patented statistic developed by Lenny of the Out of the Rough Podcast. Each week, Lenny will pick a golfer local to the course to be his SG: PTC choice. Last week Lenny went with Doug Ghim. Gihm missed the at +1.
This week Lenny is going with Scotland’s own Robert MacIntyre.
SG: PTC Past Results
The Honda Classic - Chase Seiffert (+1) - T25th
The Arnold Palmer Invitational - John Pak (+8) - T52nd
The Players - Billy Horschel (WD)
The Valspar Championship - Sam Ryder (-1) - MC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - MC
The Valero Texas Open - Adam Long (-5) - T35th
The Masters - Patrick Reed (+6) - T35th
The RBC Heritage - Brian Harman (-6) - T35th
The Zurich Classic - Jay and Billy Haas (E) - T59th
The Mexico Open - Carlos Ortiz (-5) - T51st
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Harry Higgs (-4) - MC
The PGA Championship - Talor Gooch (+1) - T20th
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Tom Hoge (+4) - MC
The Memorial Tournament - Mackenzie Hughes (+2) - T37th
The RBC Canadian Open - Adam Svensson (-6) - T21st
The US Open - Fran Quinn (+13) - MC
The Travelers Championship - Keegan Bradley (-9) - T19th
The John Deere Classic - Doug Ghim (+1) - MC
One and Done
*Rules: A golfer can only be played once all season unless the chosen golfer wins the respective tournament. If the chosen golfer wins, he can be used again. We will keep track of success via monetary earnings to add value to bigger tournaments. We will track my choices for the rest of the season below.
Back-to-back weeks without recording a single dollar. Tough looks. Since I dug myself in a bit of a hole with two big misses in a row, I’m going back to the well and taking Justin Thomas. There isn’t much left in this season and I’ve had Thomas when he won the PGA. Let’s hope for a similar result this week.
The Masters - Shane Lowry ($870,000)
The RBC Heritage - Adam Hadwin ($54,844)
The Zurich Classic - Marc Lesihman ($24,111.50)
The Mexico Open - Gary Woodland ($60,955)
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Sam Burns ($0)
The PGA Championship - Justin Thomas ($2,700,000)
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Mito Pereira ($246,540)
The Memorial Tournament - Xander Schauffele ($142,800)
The RBC Canadian Open - Corey Conners ($315,375)
The US Open - Matt Fitzpatrick ($3,150,000)
Travelers Championship - Joaquin Niemann ($0)
The John Deere Classic - Nate Lashley ($0)