2019 Open Championship Tips and Preview
After three thrilling majors in the USA so far this season, the focus now switches to the UK. The venue for the Open Championship in 2019 is Royal Portrush, a Links course in Northern Ireland. The wind will determine how difficult the course will play and the forecast is uncertain. James Punt picked out Francisco Molinari in 2018, check out his 2019 Open Championship tips and preview below..
The Open Championship Golf Preview 2019 by James Punt
The Open Championship returns to Royal Portrush after a 68-year break. It will be only the second time that the Open has been played outside of mainland Britain. The course is one with which I have played many times but not in its latest guise. In 2017 it was remodelled in preparation for this event and it entailed losing the old 17th and 18th holes, which to be honest, where very dull. Two new holes were built and are a massive improvement by all reports. The course will play as a 7337 yard par 71 with just three par fives.
The main feature of the course is its undulating nature, both on the fairways and the greens. The fairways are fairly generous but bad, wayward shots can be very harshly penalised. The rough is juicy after a damp summer and it is heathery in parts and not easy to get out off. There relatively few bunkers by Open standards but those that are there are punishing. To do well here you need to be accurate but most of all you need to be sharp around the green. Many of the greens are raised and we will see players having to play up onto undulating greens so scrambling skills will be tested.
2019 Open Championship Tips: Conditions Could Be Favourable
The weather looks set to be reasonable. Like all links courses Royal Portrush needs the wind to blow to protect it from being dismantled by the top pros. All four days are set to be a mix of sunshine and showers and it will be breezy, not truly windy, but its not going to be flat calm like we saw in Scotland last week. Thursday will see the best conditions in the first 2 or 3 hours, 11kph SW breeze and dry. Showers come in around 8.30am and the SW breeze will pick up to 15-17 kph and it should remain much the same for the rest of the day.
Friday morning should be cloudy with showers and a 11kph SW breeze but around noon the wind will start to move to become an easterly breeze and dropping to 7-9 kph for the rest of the day. Showers will be ever present.
There doesn’t look like there should be any great weather/draw time advantage but maybe those playing mid to late afternoon on Friday might get the calmest conditions but there isn’t that much in it for the first two days at least.
Accuracy Off Tee Required
In short, if you are wild off the tee expect to be in trouble and if you miss the greens you need the ability to scramble well. The ability to read greens well will help on the undulating greens. It is a pure links course, much more like Lahinch where the Irish Open was played two weeks ago than the Renaissance course where last weeks Scottish Open was played. Those that didn’t play the Irish Open missed a trick and the Irish Open form looks the better guide for who might go well this weekend.
The profile of most recent Open Champions show very good recent form and proven form on proper links courses. Top 50 players have filled most of the winner’s spaces.
2019 Open Championship Tips: 2 points e/w Jon Rahm to win @ 17.00 with Betfred (1/5th the odds 1-8)
Rahm ticks the form box very heavily. He won the Irish Open at Lahinch two weeks and that was his second Irish Open title. He also won it at Portstewart Golf Club in 2017 which is practically next door to Royal Portrush. Rahm may be Spanish but he loves playing in Ireland. He is a big lad and if the wind gets up he can stand up to it. His Open record isn’t great to be honest. He has played in three with form figures of 53/44/MC. However, his two Irish Open wins are enough to make up for that.
His most recent form figures are 3/2/1 and he took last week off rather than play the Scottish Open which seems a good idea. The course in Scotland wasn’t a pure links and the weather turned it into a bit off a pitch and putt competition.
Rahm is ranked 2nd for shots gained tee to green, 38th for scrambling, 4th for putts per GIR and those look very potent stats for the task in hand this week. Hopefully he won’t blow his top and his chance but he is maturing as a player.
2019 Open Championship Tips: 1 point e/w Bernd Wiesberger to win @ 67.00 with Betfred
Another form player. He won the Scottish Open on Sunday which will put many punters off. If my memory serves me right only Phil Mickelson has done the double and back to back wins are rare but far from unheard of.
Wiesberger has been in good form for a while now. He won the Made in Denmark at the end of May and was 8th the following week in Belgium. He was 76 in the US Open before returning to Europe and a T16th in Germany. Wiesberger then went to Lahinch was T2nd on a pure links course. He followed that up with his win in Scotland at the weekend. The Austrian is very used to being in contention and is used to winning. He is now leading the Race to Dubai.
His Open form is poor with a best finish of 64th in five attempts. However in is in the form of his life and has good links form as shown in the last fortnight and he lost a playoff to win the Irish Open at Royal County Down in 2015, another pure links.
2019 Open Championship Tips: 1 point e/w Rafael Cabrera Bello to win @ 67.00 with Betfred
Sticking with the form players again. Cabrera Bello’s last three events have seen form figures of 3/4/9. His Open warmups have gone well, in contention in both the Irish and Scottish Opens. He was 4th in the 2017 Open and has made the cut in all the majors in 2019. He won the Scottish Open in 2017 on the Dundonald course, maybe not pure links but not far off.
The Spaniard is comfortable in windy conditions and if he keeps is recent up he could have a good run this weekend. He is ranked 7th for Scrambling on the European Tour. That compares very well with tournament favourite, Rory McIlrory, who is ranked 119th. Overall Cabrera-Bello is 7th for stroke average on the European Tour which shows that he has a good all-round game and in good form.
The rather blew his chances in the Irish Open having been bang in contention on the final day. He was runner up here when the Irish Open was played at Royal Portrush in 2012 and while there are question marks over his bottle, his current form is very good, his game suits the course and he has good course form.
2019 Open Championship Tips: 0.5 point e/w Eddie Pepperell to win @ 81.00 with Unibet (1/5 the odds 1-7)
Pepperell returned from a lay off due to a back injury at the Irish Open two weeks ago. Expectations were low after six weeks away form the tour but he ended up tied 4th. He was 6th in last years Open and was 49th on his only other appearance in 2015. He was runner up at the British Masters in May when he was the defending champion. His other European Tour win was in the 2018 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and course well know for its windy conditions.
He is ranked 12th for stroke average on the European Tour. The Englishman has a good game around the greens, 9th for putts per GIR and 17th for scrambling. His back is a worry but he seems to be fine. If anything, he will be fresh with two decent warm up events under his belt. A gregarious personality he is bound to enjoy the craic around the event and his good run in the Open last year is a big plus.