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The Open Championship: Expert Picks

Adam Scott's track record shows he thrives here.

Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The Open Championship
When: July 14th -€” 17th
Where: Royal Troon Golf Club
2015 Winner: Zach Johnson (-15)


The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers and 1 C golfer that I think will do well as well as one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.

Royal Troon Golf Club -€” Created in 1878 by George Strath with just 5 holes, it has undergone some changes in its 138 years of existence. It currently houses the longest and shortest (Postage Stamp) holes on the Open Championship. The course boasts two blind tee shots on 10 and 11, and has a private home and train tracks within the course itself. Like many of the other courses on the Open circuit, it requires patience, good approach shots and tactful play. Playing the back nine into the wind can be touch, that short hole has a bunker alongside the green called Coffin bunker which has already tripped up some players practicing this week.


A: 
Adam Scott -€” It's like he's made for The Open Championship, 10th last year, 5th in 2014, 3rd in 2013, and 2nd in 2012, I know Dustin is a popular pick but to me, Adam seems like the lock. He hasn't been playing at his best lately but is far from terrible with top 20 finishes in 4 of his last 5 tournaments.

B:
Zach Johnson -€” I'm not usually quick to pick the reigning winner for a tournament, but much like Adam, Zach's game is tailored for the Open Championship. This isn't all that surprising given the abiliites of both golfers to navigate in tight terrain and approach the greens very well, two skills that the courses throughout England will test.  Prior to winning it last year, he was 47th in 2014, 6th in 2013 and 9th in 2012. His last 3 starts have all been top 20 finishes.

Kevin Chappell -€” Kevin is having the best year of his career and that is in large part due to his very strong approaches to the greens (where he ranks 6th on the tour). If he can keep his composure and strong irons game, he can see the success that Zach and Adam have seen as he approaches into his first time at the Open Championship.

C:
Branden Grace -€” Branden's last 6 tournament finishes: RBC Heritage (1st), Valero Texas Open (9th), Players Championship (57th), US Open (5th), CVS Health Charity (3rd) and Bridgestone Invitational (10th).  His last 3 appearances at the Open Championship 2015 (20th), 2013 -€” (36th), 2013 -€” (64th). Finally, he's 18th on the tour approaching greens.

Sleeper Pick:
Francesco Molinari -€”
3 top 20 finishes in his last 5 tournaments including a 7th place finish at the Players Championship in front of a big crowd. Francesco is another golfer who is great with his irons and knows how to approach greens. His putting has been his downfall so he'll need to pick that up to succeed. His last three years at this tournament he finished 40th, 15th and 9th.

Last tournament results -€” Quicken Loans National (119 total) -€” Picks: Fowler, Palmer, Kokrak, Haas, O'Hair
A: 12th place
B: 93rd place; 29th place
C: 3rd place
Dark Horse: 44th place

YTD Avg: (Average field of 131 people)
A: 32nd place
B: 37th place
C: 52nd place
Dark Horse: 49th place

Fun factoid about this tournament: the early winners of the Open were Scottish professionals. When they weren't playing they made money by working as greenkeepers, clubmakers and caddies.