Jul 19, 2017
Jul 19, 2017

2017 British Open betting: Expert golf betting insight

How will the course affect the result?

The important statistics to consider

Danger holes at Royal Birkdale

2017 British Open betting: Expert golf betting insight

The sole golf major held outside of the United States, the British Open (otherwise known as the Open Championships) finds its way back to the Royal Birkdale Golf Club for the tenth time. A contrast to this year’s Majors so far, how will this prestigious course divide the field in the 2017 British Open betting? Read on to find out.

British Open betting: The course

Royal Birkdale Golf Club sits just north of Liverpool in the seaside town of Southport, England. The course itself has taken the beaches and dunes of the surrounding seaside and scattered them all around their greens, making this a difficult course when approaching the greens.

Royal Birkdale will offer those who have struggled to compete against the real heavy hitters in Majors a chance, as accuracy will be the vital cog to playing well. There’s no point hitting +300 yards off the tee only to find yourself digging out of one of the many beaches.

The last winner of the British Open played at Royal Birkdale (Padraig Harrington, 2008) won with a weekend score of 3 over par (75).

Many of the holes are designed to hinder those who fail to position their ball well on the fairways, making it almost impossible to attack the pins. Finding fairways and greens, not hitting it long, is a key component to assess in British Open betting - if competitors find themselves burrowed in a bunker, making par will feel like a stroke gained.

As explained in our how to bet on golf article, analysing statistics can be vital for accurate golf betting. In this year’s British Open betting, sand save percentage (SS %), greens in regulation percentage (GIR %), strokes gained approaching the green (SGG) and driving accuracy percentage (DA %) could be useful when looking for contenders.

Stats to consider for 2017 British Open betting

PlayerSS%GIR%SGG (Average)DA%
Dustin Johnson 40.43 72.22 0.679 56.82
Jordan Spieth 59.02 70.67 1.151 59.60
Rory McIlroy 55.26 67.74 -0.834 57.97
Jason Day 61.67 64.33 -0.262 57.76
Rickie Fowler 73.75 68.13 0.662 67.53
Sergio Garcia 49.30 70.42 0.350 66.79
Henrik Stenson 63.64 65.83 0.438 76.09
Hideki Matsuyama 56.58 70.11 0.548 62.50
Justin Rose 56.06 69.15 0.108 58.00
Adam Scott 56.16 68.06 0.610 58.93

As always with a visit to Royal Birkdale, don’t be expecting the scores to flirt with going way under par. In fact, the course record for a single round still stands at just -9 (63), set by Jody Mudd in 1991. The last winner of the British Open played at Royal Birkdale (Padraig Harrington, 2008) won with a weekend score of 3 over par (75).

Danger holes that could decide the British Open

With the score index rightfully rating it as the hardest hole, the sixth stands as an early challenge that can make or break a round. This left-to-right dog leg par five stands at a pretty short 488 yards, so length shouldn’t be a problem.

Yet it is the accuracy needed that will lay some to the sword in Southport. The drive must avoid bunkers on either side of a corridor fairway. The positioning of the drive is paramount, as a long second shot is needed to reach an elevated green protected by bunkers in the front and dunes at the back.

Matsuyama's GIR% of 70.11 and strokes gained approaching the green of 0.548 show him as an accurate golfer – traits that should hold him in good stead at the 2017 British Open.

We have previously analysed how important external factors are to a golf betting strategy - at the British Open, wind could well be detrimental to players’ chances. The wind caused a real problem for those facing this drive back in 2008, as the left-to-right gusts sent many into sand back when the Major was last held at Royal Birkdale.

Those who can bisect those bunkers find the rest of the hole opens up. If the wind is absent then there are possible birdies out there, but if the wind is present (as it often is), most are happy to leave hole six with par.

Other notable holes include the second; a par four dog leg left into the wind with a fairway surrounded by bunkers, and hole 15; the longest of the course with a fairway once again engulfed by bunkers; this hole may be critical as it acts as the first hole in a Championship round if we find ourselves with joint leaders come Sunday evening.

2017 British Open odds: The favourites

Despite missing the cut in the US Open, Dustin Johnson still stands as the favourite in the British Open odds at 15.630*. In fact, DJ, McIlroy (15.100*) and Day (31.250*) all failed to make it to the weekend at the US Open, making it the first time since the advent of the Official World Golf Rankings that the top three players had missed the cut in the same major. 

Yet Johnson has dominated outside of Majors, winning three tournaments on the PGA tour, matching his most PGA Tour wins in a year (2016) already. Whilst his game does not necessarily suit the course for this Major (suiting the longer course), the World number one cannot be undervalued off of the fairway, notching up the highest GIR% (72.22) on the tour and could be a safer bet in the 2017 British Open odds. 

Brooke Koepka’s win at the recent US Open makes it seven straight first-time Major winners in a row, dating back to Jason Day’s 2015 PGA Championship win. This points to a real strength in depth in the field and could easily continue at this year’s British Open; a great omen for the likes of Hideki Matsuyama (23.180*).

Matsuyama along with Fowler (21.170*) stand in the batch of players known for being ‘the best players without a major to their name.’ Yet, Matsuyama’s recent form has been promising.

Many of the holes are designed to hinder those who fail to position their ball well on the fairways, making it almost impossible to attack the pins.

Both he and Fowler were firmly in the hunt going into Sunday at the US Open, and if Matsuyama can stay consistent, most notably on the Sunday, he may offer value in the British Open odds. Whilst he may not be one of the strong favourites, Royal Birkdale’s uniquely shorter course may suit him.

With an average driving distance of 301.8 this year, his length cannot compete with the likes of Dustin Johnson (312.1). However, that should not be as much of an issue at Royal Birkdale in comparison to longer courses on the PGA circuit.

Instead, it could be his accuracy which may see him contend. A GIR% of 70.11 and strokes gained approaching the green of 0.548 show him as an accurate golfer – traits that should hold him in good stead at the 2017 British Open.

Outsiders may show value

With such a unique course in comparison to the other Majors that suit the big drivers, the British Open odds may show value for some of the outsiders; who may stand a bigger chance against the top players at a course where accuracy is of vital importance.

Brooks Koepka winning the 2017 US Open has pointed to a year of Majors upsets which may continue at Royal Birkdale; Koepka only made it to the PGA Tour via the Challenge and European Tours. Despite Koepka’s win, his British Open odds of 36.290* offer very good value for those who see the US Open win as a springboard for future triumphs.

Driving distance should not be as much of an issue at Royal Birkdale in comparison to longer courses on the PGA circuit.

Adam Scott had his run of four consecutive top tens at the British Open snapped at the Royal Troon last year. Assuming that this was an anomaly and Scott is often contending come Sunday at this Major, his odds of 36.290* in the British Open betting could point to some real value.

Looking for a long-shot? Bill Haas finished T-5 at Erin Hills and T-9 at last year’s British Open despite having opening odds of 151.00. His greens in regulation percentage is an impressive 70.37, the 8th best record this year; a statistic that should aid him on the fairways at Royal Birkdale. The 6-time PGA Tour winner and 2011 FedEx Cup champion opens at 152.210* and might be an attractive option for those looking for a big win.

Ready to bet on 2017 British Open? Get the best odds and highest limits for golf betting at Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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