The Open is one week away but before the final men’s Major of the year takes place, many of the PGA Tour’s stars travel to the Renaissance Club to finalise their Hoylake prep in the Scottish Open.
The co-sanctioned PGA Tour-DP World Tour affair has attracted seven members of the world’s top ten while there is also Stateside action courtesy of the Barbasol Championship, an ‘opposite event’ which is also open to players on both tours.
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Scottish Open prediction – Tommy Fleetwood 20/1
While the Scottish Open is a valuable prize in its own right, the Rory McIlroys and Scottie Schefflers of this world will be focused on finding top form ahead of the trip to Hoylake.
The Renaissance Club is not a traditional links but the North Berwick layout, which is hosting for the fifth consecutive year, still plays to the strengths of those who shine on coastal terrain.
The best and brightest on the PGA Tour do not always fit into that category so it’s worth looking at those who will be most comfortable at the venue, starting with Tommy Fleetwood, who has course experience and current form to call upon.
Fleetwood missed the cut at the Travelers Championship on his last start but that sub-par effort came on the back of a playoff loss at the Canadian Open and a fifth-place finish at the US Open, so it’s possible that he just ran out of steam.
The Southport man will also be dreaming of glory in what is effectively an Open on home turf but Renaissance form figures of 2-26-4 illustrate Fleetwood’s affinity for this course and his links pedigree in general, including a runners-up finish at the 2019 Open, is among the best in this field.
Power and short-game prowess have been key to Renaissance success and Fleetwood has driven the ball brilliantly from the Masters onwards while excelling on and around the greens.
He would already be a Scottish Open champion had he putted well in the 2020 tournament but he can make amends this week.
Barbasol Championship prediction – Justin Lower 35/1
If the stars are out in Scotland, the opposite can be said of the Barbasol, where Lucas Glover (112th) is the highest-ranked player in the field at Keene Trace, which has hosted this tournament since 2018.
This is a typical low-grade, low-scoring PGA Tour test where those carrying a hot putter have tended to thrive, mostly because a total of -21 or better has always been required to post a victory.
While both PGA and DP World Tour players are able to compete, the 2022 version of this event featured plenty of US-based players and that could be the case again with Justin Lower nominated as the best bet.
Lower putted well to finish 25th at the Canadian Open, then he followed up with a similar display when eighth at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He was eighth on Barbasol debut last season and could build on that effort.
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