British Open sleepers to watch: Our staff’s picks for Royal Portrush

July 15, 2019

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are the betting favorites to win the British Open, but who are the underdogs you need to keep an eye on at Royal Portrush? We asked our staff.

British Open sleepers to watch

Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): Charley Hoffman. At 250/1, Hoffman is the epitome of a deep sleeper pick. Sure, he’s missed the cut in his last four starts, but you can’t overlook back-to-back top-20 finishes at The Open. I’ll bite.

Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): Matt Wallace. Hard to call a guy with his record a sleeper, but even his T3 at the PGA Championship didn’t really put him on the radar for the average state-side golf fan. He’s already proven he can win in Europe. Just a matter of time before he wins an event that makes headlines here.

Sean Zak, associate editor (@sean_zak): Rafa Cabrera-Bello isn’t going to win The Open but he will play well and finish top 12. He’s faded in some big moments during his career, but he’s so darn solid he’s worth an each-way bet.

Jeff Ritter, digital development editor (@Jeff_Ritter): This first-time (in a long) major venue could produce a long-shot, out-of-nowhere winner. It’s been a while since The Open crowned a Paul Lawrie, a Todd Hamilton, or a Ben Curtis, and we’re due. Today, give me Erik van Rooyen at 125/1, a South African who just had a nice week at the Scottish Open, cracked the top 10 at the PGA at Bethpage and may be ready to take another step this week.

Pat Ralph, associate editor (@Pat_Ralph): I agree with Ritter that, given the relative obscurity surrounding Portrush, a one-off, first-time winner could be coming this week. And I like a European’s chances after Americans have snapped up the first three majors this year. With that, give me Matt Wallace. A T3 at Bethpage and T12 at Pebble, Wallace is playing well and knocking on the door.

Josh Berhow, senior editor (@Josh_Berhow): Erik van Rooyen was my pick, too, but in the name of variety I shall identify someone else. Graeme McDowell has missed the cut in his last two starts but was playing well before then, which helped him get a spot at Portrush, where he’s from. You can’t underestimate how much this week means to him; he’ll play inspired golf.