Carnoustie 2018 British Open - Predictions & Picks

Who will win the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie Golf Links? Our research staff offers analysis and predictions. The 2018 British Open is scheduled for July 19-22 at Carnoustie Golf Links.

⛳Trends

⦿ Carnoustie has hosted seven Open Championships with winning scores ranging from -9 (1975) to +8 (2008). The average winning score is slightly under par and the median is +1. Winning scores for the last three Opens at Carnoustie are -9, +6 and -7 respectively. Winds play a definite factor in the scoring. When winds are up, the scores are significantly higher. A reliable weather report will be key to making good picks.

Top wind players: Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson
Bogey avoidance: Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose

⦿ Carnoustie is a Par 71 links course that features a number of hazards including thick fescue, pot bunkers and water. Length is an advantage but is not crucial to winning. Accuracy off the tee and scrambling are important here.

Total Driving: Tommy Fleetwood, Gary Woodland, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Jason Day
Driving Accuracy: Henrik Stenson, Ryan Armour, Kyle Stanley, Ryan Moore, Chez Ravie
Scrambling: Louis Oosthuizen, Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson 

⦿ Unlike the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open which feature a variety of courses, all of the host venues at the British Open are links courses. Although aesthetics and design may vary, the general course philosophy is the same. Players who enjoyed previous success at the Open tend to continue to enjoy success. Also, Carnoustie has been one of the host courses for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (on the European Tour) since 2001. Familiarity with the course gives Europe-based players an advantage over U.S.-based players.

Last five Open champions: Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson
Top non-champions in last five years: Sergio Garcia (three top-10s), Marc Leishman (three top-6s), Brooks Koepka (two top-10s), Rickie Fowler (T2 in 2014), Dustin Johnson (two top-10s)
2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship: 1. Tyrrell Hatton | Ross Fisher, Levy Alexander, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Matthew Fitzpatrick

⦿ Due to unique course conditions, form is only one of the many ingredients attributed to British Open's success. Course aptitude, past success and local knowledge are also key factors.

Form (OWGR 2018 points gained): Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood
Last three major champions: Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas
Top non-winner at last three majors: Rickie Fowler (two top 10s), Dustin Johnson (two top 10s), Henrik Stenson (two top 10s), Tony Finau (two top 10s), Tommy Fleetwood (U.S. Open runner-up)

Aggregates

1. Henrik Stenson (former winner, two top 6s in last two majors, scrambling & driving accuracy)
2. Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open winner, top non-winner at Open, European Tour alum)
3. Rickie Fowler (Former runner-up, strong record at the majors, top wind player)
4. Dustin Johnson (former runner-up, bogey avoidance, performance at last three majors)
5. Tommy Fleetwood (Course record 63 in 2017, total driving)
6. Patrick Reed (Masters champion, three consecutive top 5s at the majors)

🏆Predictions

Top 25: Sergio Garcia
The Augusta National may be the place of the Spaniard's maiden major title, but many of his best golf have been played at the Open. In 17 career starts, Garcia finished in the top 10 a remarkable ten times for a 56% success rate! This consistency would make even former Open champions envious. Despite contending numerous times, the twice Open runner-up always seemed to stumble near the finish. This could change now that he has a major under his belt. Garcia is playing better of late with two top-15s in his last two European Tour stops.

Top 10: Rickie Fowler
The Puma star is the best player without a major. At 29 years of age, Fowler has already accumulated eight top 5s at the majors including a runner-up at the 2014 Open Championship. His close second place at this year's Masters certainly gave him the belief that his day as a major champion is sooner rather than later. Furthermore, Fowler is a marvelous wind player and a good scrambler which should serve him well at Carnoustie. The OSU alum is enjoying a streak of four consecutive top 20s dating back to the Colonial.

Top 5: Henrik Stenson
The former Open champion is playing extremely well at the moment. The Swede contended at both the Masters and the U.S. Open and has not finished outside of the top 26 since March. More interestingly is the fact his stats this season fit perfectly the profile of a Carnoustie's winner. He is among the leaders in driving accuracy, scrambling and bogey avoidance. This is exactly what one needs to win at Carnoustie! We were torn between Stenson and Fleetwood as our winner's pick. Although we opted for the latter, you would not go wrong picking Stenson as the winner.

Winner: Tommy Fleetwood
The Englishman has become a regular contender at the big events and there is a good reason for it. Despite not being physically imposing, Fleetwood can drive the ball a long way with good accuracy. His putting has improved a lot since last year and his iron play is stellar. When his game is on, he could go really low as demonstrated in the final round of the U.S. Open. He also happens to be Carnoustie's record holder, having shot a 63 there during last year's Alfred Dunhill. All the ingredients are there for the European Tour star to capture his first major championship.

2 comments:

  1. The 2018 Open Championship will be the 147th Open Championship, held 19–22 July 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland. It will be the eighth Open Championship played at Carnoustie.
    The 2018 Open Championship will be the third to be televised domestically by Sky Sports. In the United States, it will be the third Open Championship to be televised by NBC (Golf Channel's parent network).


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  2. The 2018 Open Championship will be the 147th Open Championship, held 19–22 July 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland. It will be the eighth Open Championship played at Carnoustie.
    The 2018 Open Championship will be the third to be televised domestically by Sky Sports. In the United States, it will be the third Open Championship to be televised by NBC (Golf Channel's parent network).


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