Scottish Open 2024 Tips: Wyndham is Jamie’s key pick for Scotland

 | Monday 8th July 2024, 16:33pm

Monday 8th July 2024, 16:33pm

Jamie DP World

Though only beginning three months ago, the 2024 men’s major season will come to a close next week with The Open Championship.

That takes place on the west coast of Scotland at Royal Troon Golf Club, but before that, a strong field heads to the east coast for some much needed preparation at The Renaissance Club. Which hosts the Scottish Open for the sixth time this week.

As always, here is our golf tipster Jamie Worsley's Scottish Open Tips, including six selections ranging from 40/1 to 110/1...

Scottish Open Betting Tips

  • 1.25 pts Wyndham Clark each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 40/1
  • 1.25 pts Max Homa each way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 45/1
  • 1 pt Ryan Fox each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 70/1
  • 1 pt Nicolai Hojgaard each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 70/1
  • 1 pt Rasmus Hojgaard each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 80/1
  • 1 pt Matthieu Pavon each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 110/1

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

The Scottish Open debuted in the inaugural DP World Tour season in 1972. Following a 13-year hiatus it returned in 1986 and has been a mainstay on the schedule since.

The event has grown in stature in recent years, becoming a Rolex Series Event in 2017 and following the PGA Tour co-sanctioning the tournament since 2022, it has received its strongest ever fields.

We’ve had some stellar names take this title, including, to name a few, Lee Westwood (1998), Colin Montgomerie (1999), Phil Mickelson (2013) and Justin Rose (2014). Though only two players have recorded multiple victories in the Scottish Open; Ian Woosnam leads the way, winning three times (1987, 1990, 1996) and Ernie Els has claimed the trophy twice (2000, 2003).

Last five winners:

  • 2023 – Winner: Rory McIlroy (-15); runner-up: Robert MacIntyre (-14)
  • 2022 – Winner: Xander Schauffele (-7); runner-up: Kurt Kitayama (-6)
  • 2021 – Winner: Min Woo Lee (-18, playoff); runner-up: Matt Fitzpatrick, Thomas Detry (-18)
  • 2020 – Winner: Aaron Rai (-11, playoff); runner-up: Tommy Fleetwood (-11)
  • 2019 – Winner: Bernd Wiesberger (-22, playoff); runner-up: Benjamin Hebert (-22)

Last year’s renewal produced one of the most memorable finishes of 2023, as Rory McIlroy produced an incredible birdie-birdie finish to break the heart of a flying Robert MacIntyre by one shot, denying the home fans a first Scottish winner in over 20 years. After the crushing disappointment of his late collapse in the US Open at Pinehurst, Rory makes his first start in four weeks to defend this title.

THE COURSE

Designed by Tom Doak, The Renaissance Club originally opened in 2008 and was extensively renovated in 2014.

As with most links/links-like courses, the difficulty of the Renaissance Club largely depends on the conditions. We’ve seen a 22-under-par winning score in benign, soft conditions in 2019 and a -7 in 2022 under much firmer and windier conditions. This varied scoring is represented by an average winning score of -14.6 across the five renewals of the event here.

At 7237 yards, this par 70 measures the same yardage as last year – having played as a par 71 from 2019-2021 - and possesses 10x par 4s (338-505 yards), 5x par 3s (147-218 yards) and 3x par 5s (576-600 yards).

The Renaissance Club is located on the east coast of Scotland – a part of the world home to many of the world’s greatest and most historied courses. Whilst it may not have the maturity of neighbouring Muirfield, as a largely exposed course, with firm fairways, undulating greens, punishing pot bunkers and fescue rough, there are plenty of links elements. Which should be incredibly useful to those players looking to prepare well for next week’s Open Championship.

The fairways start off flat but become more undulating as players work their way around the course. Whilst they are predominantly generous, several are positioned at a slight angle to the tee box and with smart strategic bunkering, they haven’t been all that easy to hit, especially when playing firm.

The green complexes are by far the most interesting and difficult characteristic of The Renaissance Club. Severely undulating and very large, they’re among the toughest greens to putt on tour, and littered with pot bunkers and steep run-offs, there’s ample penalty for inaccurate approach play.

Due to that unusually high volume of par 3s, the course is deceptively lengthy. Two of the three par 5s come in at around/over 600 yards and of the 10 par 4s, six are over 460 yards, four of which are 480yds+.

We do have a couple of shorter par 4s that can be got at, including the potentially drivable 338-yard par 4 5th - as well as the shorter of those three par 5s, the 576-yard 16th – though predominantly, birdie opportunities aren’t freely given here, and will need to be earned.

THE WEATHER

There is a lot of rain on the cards this week, both in the days preceding the start of the event and continuing into the first three rounds.

With temperatures relatively low and some potentially difficult, gusty 20mph winds predicted throughout the week, conditions could be somewhat testing at points. However, when avoiding those gusty winds and rain, portions of the field may encounter a soft, benign course there for the taking.

As always, it’s sensible to approach these forecasts with a touch of caution. Weather by the coast can be volatile and the forecast can change quickly.

KEY STATS

  • SG: Off-the-Tee
  • Driving Distance

With generous fairways that have to be navigated smartly, combined with the length of the par 4s/par 5s, I want to side with strong, long drivers of the ball this week.

This is an approach that would’ve paid dividends in 2023, as Rory McIlroy led the field off-the-tee and in driving distance on the way to his memorable triumph. Robert MacIntyre in 2nd ranked inside the top-25 in both of those areas; in 3rd, Byeong Hun An ranked 2nd OTT and 3rd in driving distance, and Scottie Scheffler ranked 3rd OTT and 7th in driving distance.

2022 and 2021 winners, Xander Schauffele and Min Woo Lee, are also very strong drivers of the ball. As are previous contenders such as Tommy Fleetwood, Kurt Kitayama, Patrick Cantlay and Thomas Detry.

  • SG: Approach
  • Proximity from 175-200 yards

Large, possibly soft greens should allow the strongest iron players to thrive this week.

As well as leading the field OTT last year, Rory McIlroy also ranked 8th in approach, with Scottie Scheffler in 3rd ranking 4th.

Xander Schauffele excelled with his irons in that difficult 2022 edition, ranking 7th in approach, whilst 2nd and 3rd-place finishers, Kurt Kitayama and Tom Kim, ranked inside the top-20.

2021 runner-up, Thomas Detry ranked 2nd in approach; meanwhile, 2019 and 2020 winners, Bernd Wiesberger and  Aaron Rai, are both strong iron players and shone with the clubs on their way to victory.

In addition, with the benefit of PGA Tour stats from the last two editions, we can see how important the long irons are, with the 175-200 yard range the most prevalent in those renewals.

  • SG: Putting

It’s no surprise to see that putting well on these demanding greens has proved important to many contenders.

David Lingmerth struggled tee-to-green last year but recorded a 3rd-place finish due to a field-leading putting display.

Xander Schauffele complemented his strong tee-to-green game in 2022 with a solid ranking of 28th on the greens, whilst his closest challengers all ranked inside the top-20.

Each of the top-3 in 2021 ranked top-20 on the greens, with runner-up, Matt Fitzpatrick ranking 1st.

CORRELATING EVENTS

UK & Ireland links courses are an obvious place to start this week. The Open Championship, previous editions of the Scottish Open away from the Renaissance Club, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and certain renewals of the Irish Open (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) played on links courses should be a good guide. Additionally, events at Hillside (2019 British Masters & 2022 Cazoo Classic) and the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews can also provide clues.

Looking further at the DPWT, events in the Middle East are always worth casting an eye over, because of the generally exposed, firm and sandy nature of the courses. The Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club has seen many links specialists go well there and I’d also consider the Abu Dhabi Championship at Yas Links, with its green complexes similarly undulating.

Meanwhile, the KLM Open has taken place on two different linksy courses since 2019: The International (2019, 2024) and Bernardus Golf (2020-2023).

With half of the field arriving from the PGA Tour, many will have only limited experience of some of the courses/events mentioned. Therefore, it should pay to try and find venues stateside.

The Cognizant Classic at PGA National makes perfect sense, as an open and exposed coastal course. Many links specialist have won there, including last year’s Scottish Open winner, Rory McIlroy, along with Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington. Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood are further proven links players to have excellent records at the course.

Host of the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championships, Kiawah Island is linksy in style (and is another place where Rory has won); the RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort is an exposed, coastal venue with wide fairways and large greens; and whilst in a much different setting, the Houston Open at Memorial Park is another Tom Doak design, and being situated in Texas, wind can often be a factor.

THE FIELD

This week’s field is evenly split between players of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. The returning Rory McIlroy is the top-ranked player in attendance at #2 in the world and one of six from inside the top-10, joined by: Xander Schauffele (#3), Ludvig Aberg (#4), Wyndham Clark (#5), Collin Morikawa (#6) and Viktor Hovland (#7).

This top-class field welcomes a further nine of the top-25 and overall possesses 33 of the world’s top-50.

There are nine former winners among the entries (including McIlroy). This comprises of each previous winner here at the Renaissance club from 2019, along with Alex Noren (2016), Rickie Fowler (2015), Justin Rose (2014) and Luke Donald (2011).

Robert MacIntyre leads the eight-man home challenge, alongside several DPWT winners, including last week’s BMW International Open winner, Ewen Ferguson. MacIntyre will be hoping to gain some redemption for his unfortunate defeat last year and as with his compatriots, aims to become the first Scottish winner in 25 years this week.

Scottish Open Odds

*Please click on the link above to be taken to the main Scottish Open market on Betfred.com (or app) for all the live betting prices on this tournament

SELECTIONS

Market leaders: Rory McIlroy 13/2, Xander Schauffele 17/2, Collin Morikawa 14/1, Ludvig Aberg 14/1, Viktor Hovland 20/1, Tommy Fleetwood 22/1

An inconsistent weather forecast is a recipe for draw biases, which has me looking away from the market leaders.

There’s a fair bit of value knocking around a little further down the betting, and I’m going to begin with a pair of classy Americans who have very good records here. They can make up for some underwhelming recent form by taking home the Scottish Open, starting with Wyndham Clark.

1.25 pts Wyndham Clark each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 40/1

Clark’s terrific start to the season - when he recorded a victory at Pebble Beach and two further runner-up finishes over the course of his first 10 starts – somewhat stalled after a 3rd-place finish at the RBC Heritage six starts ago.

He immediately followed that with a 47th-place finish in the Wells Fargo Championship, missed cuts in the PGA Championship and Memorial Tournament, before finishing down the field in 52nd in defence of his US Open title at Pinehurst. However, he showed a return to form when 9th in the Travelers Championship three weeks ago and I’m hoping he can pick up where he left off there.

That result was engineered by a return to form in approach and on the greens, ranking 10th and 7th respectively. The approach performance was especially encouraging, as it represented his best effort since March in that area.

The putter has been a frequent asset since turning pro and barring a couple of uninspiring efforts with the club in the couple of starts prior to the Travelers, he’s putted well this season, ranking 26th. As one of the longest and best drivers on tour, ranking 5th in driving distance and 21st off-the-tee, he’s a strong match for this challenge statistically.

Clark has shown this to be the case in each of his two previous visits to The Renaissance Club, finishing 16th on debut in 2022 and returned to finish 25th last year. He’s managed those two top-25s whilst losing strokes on the greens, which gives me plenty of encouragement that this usually excellent putter can find the improvements necessary to be a real contender at the course.

1.25 pts Max Homa each way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 45/1

Despite Max Homa’s disappointing recent results, he’s continued to look very strong in approach. Coming to Scotland following a three-week break, I’m optimistic that he’ll have found enough improvements in the other areas of his game to enhance his already excellent record at The Renaissance Club.

Homa had been in good form at the beginning of the season, hitting the top-25 in seven of his first 11 starts and finding a best-yet major performance, when 3rd in The Masters. His form has somewhat tailed off followed a top-10 at Quail Hollow, recording just one top-25 in his last five starts, where the putter and driver have both gone AWOL.

Those are two areas in which he has excelled throughout much of his career and even in the early part of 2024 he’d looked perfectly solid. Having returned from three-week absences to record top-10s twice already this season, I’m expecting him to come back with both of those areas firing again, and if combining it with his strong recent approach play - ranking 31st in this field over his last 20 rounds – he could make his odds look pretty sizeable based on past efforts.

Homa finished 16th here on debut in 2022 and went four better last year, finishing 12th. He’s handled these greens well on both occasions, but interestingly, has struggled in approach. With his irons in decent shape currently, I’m hoping that won’t be a concern this week and after recording his first major top-10 in last year’s Open Championship, he should be relishing a return to this style of golf.

1 pt Ryan Fox each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 70/1

Links-lover Ryan Fox has found some improved form on the PGA Tour recently. He looked good again last week in Germany and looks an attractive price to secure a first PGA Tour-sanctioned victory this week.

Fox began the season in solid shape on the DPWT but failed to transfer that to the start of his rookie season on the PGA Tour, missing five of his first eight cuts. He looked much better at Augusta, finishing 38th and has maintained a better level of form since, missing just one of his last nine cuts and recording two top-10s, which came courtesy of a 4th-place finish in the Myrtle Beach Classic and 7th in the Canadian Open; before finishing 17th in last week’s BMW International Open on his return to the DPWT.

All areas of his game have improved over this time, ranking top-50 off-the-tee and on the greens over his last 20 rounds, whilst he’s also been hitting his irons well. Something that was again on show in Germany as he ranked inside the top-20 in approach.

Being a New Zealander, he is comfortable in windy, linksy conditions. He didn’t initially show this at The Renaissance Club, missing his first two cuts, but has made his next three and recorded his best finish of 12th here last year.

Fox has a bunch of comp form, possessing 1st and 2nd-place finishes in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship; runner-up finishes in the Irish Open and KLM Open; top-6s in the 2017 and 2018 Scottish Opens; and has made the cut in five of his seven Open Championship starts, including recording a major best of 16th in 2019. He simply loves this raw version of golf and I’d be surprised to not find him near the top of the leaderboard this week.

1 pt Nicolai Hojgaard each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 70/1

Each of the Hojgaard twins have recorded top-10s here in the last two years and rather than deciding between the two, both make my picks this week.

I’ll begin with the PGA Tour’s Nicolai. His results don’t read too impressively of late, though he’s been hitting his irons well and he should enjoy a return to a course where he can let driver rip throughout.

He started the season well with two top-25s in Dubai and carried that positivity over into the first start of his full rookie season on the PGA Tour, finishing 2nd at Torrey Pines. His form has been in-and-out since, though he did finish an impressive 16th on his Masters debut and also made the cut at each of the two following majors.

This big hitter is all about the ball-striking and though his overall numbers this season in approach and off-the-tee are impacted by his inconsistent form, he still ranks a solid top-70 in both areas, and has gained on approach in four of his last five starts. I’m especially keen to focus on his long iron play, as he ranks 1st on the PGA Tour this season in proximity from 175-200 yards.

Hojgaard has plenty experience of links land from his amateur days, winning the European Amateur Championship at Royal Hague Golf & Country Club in the Netherlands in 2018.

We’ve seen plenty of evidence of his affinity for this brand of golf in the pro ranks, not only from his 6th-place finish here last year but with a 2nd-place finish in the KLM Open, a 10th at Yas Links, 14th in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and 23rd in The Open last year. All which leads me to believe he can repeat his quality effort at The Renaissance Club last year.

1 pt Rasmus Hojgaard each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 80/1

Rasmus Hojgaard has had a mixed season so far but hitting his irons better now than at any other point, I fancy him to replicate the quality of his 10th-place finish here in 2022.

Rasmus started the season with an excellent series of results in the Middle East, finishing no worse than 11th in his first five starts. This included three top-10s and a best of 2nd in the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

His results stuttered when heading over for a few starts on the PGA Tour but he’s found his feet again back on the DPWT in recent starts. Coming into this week after a 20th-place finish in the Scandinavian Mixed and 4th in the KLM Open.

The putter was doing much of the heavy lifting at the start of the season and he ranks 5th on tour overall on the greens, whilst he’s also been driving it well for the most part, ranking 16th off-the-tee. He had struggled for form with his irons initially but has been in excellent form in approach over recent starts, ranking 12th across both tours over his last 20 rounds. Meaning all of the necessary areas of his game are in a good place.

Rasmus has missed half of his four cuts here but did finish a promising 10th in 2022 against a similarly elite field. To increase my positivity, his form in recent years is littered with quality on links/links-like courses, including two top-4s in the KLM Open, a 6th in Qatar and top-25s in each of his two starts in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

1 pt Matthieu Pavon each-way (1/5 - 8 places) @ 110/1

The rise of France’s Matthieu Pavon over the last 12 months has been incredible and I’m taking him to continue to impress against some of the world’s best players in Scotland this week.

Having recorded his first professional win on the DPWT at the end of last year in the Open de Espana – which helped towards him securing one of the highly sought after PGA Tour cards – Pavon wasted little time establishing himself in the US, winning the Farmers Insurance Open on just the third start of his rookie season. He went well again the week following that success, finishing 3rd at Pebble Beach and barring the odd flat spot he’s looked good for most of the year.

He has produced some really eye-catching performances in the majors, finishing 12th on his Masters debut and just two starts ago, he stayed in contention right until the very end of the US Open at Pinehurst, before eventually settling for 5th. He again gave a good account of himself in stellar company next time out, finishing 16th in the Travelers Championship.

The Frenchman has hit the ball well and putted strongly for most of the season, though has excelled most with his approach play, ranking 35th. Indeed, it’s in these areas exactly that he’s thrived in recent starts, ranking 4th in putting and 15th in ball-striking at the US Open, then 6th in putting and 18th in ball-striking in the Travelers.

Pavon has a solid record at The Renaissance Club, making three of five cuts and recording a best of 12th in 2021. He has shown a liking for linksy golf throughout his pro career, particularly in Scotland, recording finishes of 3rd in the 2017 Scottish Open and among his many good efforts in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, he finished 6th last year. This, combined with his recent performances, points to a good effort this week and after the way he’s performed in star-studded company so far this year, he should be confident that he can take down a field of this strength.

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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