British Open 2022 predictions, tips, odds: Four who could beat Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland at St Andrews


British Open 2022 predictions, tips, odds: Four who could beat Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland at St Andrews

With Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland topping the leaderboard at the 150th Open Championship after posting matching 66s on Saturday, the golf world heads into Sunday’s finals wondering if we’re seeing a historic end to an already exciting anniversary edition of the World’s Oldest Golf Championship.

McIlroy would break off his eight-year major drought at St Andrews one of the biggest stories of the golf year, especially given the way he’s played in major championships so far this season with top-10 finishes at the Masters (2nd), the PGA Championship (8th) and the US Open (T5). A win for Hovland would cement his place among golf’s rising stars and add him to a major championship season in 2022, in which all four winners would be under the age of 30.

But what if the winner of the Claret Jug doesn’t come from the final pairing? What if someone with a low number raises an attack and our two co-leaders fall back on the pack? So who has the best chance of catching McIlroy and Hovland on Sunday?

Historically, the record for a finals comeback at The Open is held by Paul Lawrie’s attack of 10 shots to make a three-man playoff and eventually win. But the chances of McIlroy and/or Hovland losing a three-stroke lead on the 18th, as Jean van de Velde did at Carnoustie this year, seem remote. More recent and more realistic examples of notable comebacks in the finals at The Open include Padraig Harrington winning by six strokes in 2007, Ernie Els winning by six strokes in 2012 and Phil Mickelson winning by five strokes in 2013.

But none of them were in St Andrews. The winner of every 72-hole edition of The Open played at St Andrews was within four strokes of the lead going into the final, capturing the Claret Jug all 22 times. after Justin Ray. So here are the five contenders who could potentially catch the leaders of Sunday’s 150th Open. Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Cameron Smith (-12): After two days of doing almost everything on the greens, Smith didn’t roll in putts with the same consistency as the 54-hole championship leader on Saturday. Though he didn’t card as many birdies, Smith held his round together until a double bogey collapsed in 13th place. Those mistakes and failures didn’t cost him too many spots on the leaderboard, but those two shots would have put him in a much better position to catch up with the leaders. As it stands, not only does he need to shoot somewhere near 65 or 66, but hope neither McIlroy nor Hovland scores in the 60s. Odds: 11-1

Cameron Young (-12): One of the PGA Tour’s hottest rookies put on an impressive performance in his Open debut, including the way he salvaged a 1-under-71 from his spot in the last pairing despite two bogeys and a double-bogey. After a 64 on Thursday, a 69 on Friday and a 71 on Saturday, it would be remarkable if he reversed the trend and returned to this early form of the tournament. But things don’t usually work that way, especially for players who are just starting out in their big careers. Odds: 25-1

Scottie Scheffler (-11): A strong 3-under-69 moved the reigning Masters champion up a spot in the rankings and is a little closer to an opportunity to challenge for a second major championship in this stellar 2022 season. Scheffler had his best day of the tournament so far hitting approach shots into those old course greens, and it paid off to post five birdies that day. Scheffler is a high-floor offering you can almost count on a 68 or 69 on Sunday, but that score would still prevent him from lifting the Claret Jug unless Rory and Hovland shoot over par Si Woo Kim is 11-under with Scheffler, but he’s never had a top-10 finish in 22 big starts. Odds: 20-1

Dustin Johnson (-10): With a length to drive the green on short par 4s and a knack for lag putting, St. Andrews looked well positioned for Johnson to contend for his third major championship title. Unfortunately, that effort ended on Saturday afternoon when DJ had as many bogeys on his final six holes (three) as the first two rounds combined. He has the potential to go really deep on Sunday but the way he was knocked over by the hills and bunkers of the Old Course late in the third lap doesn’t bode well for an epic comeback. Odds: 50-1

Open Championship 2022 last chance picks

Kyle Porter, senior golf writer: There are countless reasons McIlroy will win the 150th Open. He managed incredibly well not to let himself be emotionally upset during this extraordinarily emotional week. His game is as decent as in years past and he’s shooting the results to prove it. St Andrews is a magical place and Rory’s win the same week that Tiger Woods left the stage right after two of golf’s best wins at the course is so unlikely that it seemed only possible on the Old Course. Choice: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Chip Patterson, Author: There’s no need to think about it: even the data says there’s a little better than a 50% chance McIlroy will overtake Hovland on Sunday and hold off the pursuers. The confidence he’s displayed all week confirms the analyzes and it’s about time a generational talent was rewarded with another Hall of Fame highlight. McIlroy has never finished in the top 10 of all four majors in a single season, and not only will he do just that, but he’ll break his eight-year losing streak at St Andrews. Choice: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Patrick McDonald, Golf Author: McIlroy is riding a wave of momentum and it’s like he can’t go wrong on the Old Course. This week was a throwback to 2014, where he often played with the perfect mix of aggression and discipline. Eight years later, he will again lift the Claret Jug, joining Seve Ballesteros and Byron Nelson as a five-time Major champion. Choice: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Kyle Boone, Author: How far back is too far back? Is five shots – in these conditions, on this course, with This Star-studded leaderboard – too many? No winner of an Open hosted at St Andrews has won after falling behind by more than four strokes at the 54-hole mark, according to Justin Ray. In the case of Scheffler, however, it seems somehow plausible. After watching Justin Thomas dig out of a seven-shot hole in Round 4 of the PGA Championship in May, it doesn’t seem impossible for Scheffler to pick the Claret Jug on Sunday. He’s played well all week, ranks second in the field in strokes won on approach and has what it takes to make a huge rally when his putter gets rolling. Choice: Scottie Scheffler (20-1)

Adam Silverstein, Editor-in-Chief: Just because he stopped winning doesn’t mean McIlroy had trouble playing well at majors. Since 2014, he has had 16 top 10 finishes in 30 such opportunities, with three of those coming this year alone. The problem is that McIlroy usually either starts slow or squanders a low score in Round 1, which often comes through the back door. That’s not the case this week as McIlroy has stayed consistently hot through the first three rounds with 66-68-66 scores. Rory clearly has the home advantage at St Andrews – the crowd is emotionally involved in his success – but he was able to tune it out and play calm, intelligent golf. What better way to end an eight-year drought than by winning the 150th Open? Choice: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Rick Gehman and Greg DuCharme look at Sunday’s odds at the Open Championship. Follow and listen to The First Cut Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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