Fantasy golf expert picks: British Open 2017 at Royal Birkdale

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Fantasy golf expert picks: British Open 2017 at Royal Birkdale

PGA Tour

Fantasy golf expert picks: British Open 2017 at Royal Birkdale

Need help with your fantasy-golf lineups for the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale? Our fantasy-golf experts are here to help.

From picks to win to DraftKings bargains to players to avoid, here are some options for you to consider:

• • •

Jeff Babineau

  • Projected champion: Jordan Spieth. He didn’t hit it great down the stretch at Travelers, but he figured out a way to win, which is what a champion does on Open Championship week.
  • Also like: Sergio Garcia (he’s a Masters champion now, and this is his favorite tournament). Also, Matthew Fitzpatrick. Hey, just a hunch. An Englishman contending in England. Oh, delightful!
  • Sleeper: Shane Lowry. He’s tough, and has played in enough big events to handle the pressure.
  • DraftKings bargain: Peter Uihlein ($6,800). Has experience playing in the U.K. and has been in nice form this summer.
  • Fade: Darren Clarke. Always nice to play the Open as an Open champion. But he’s likely more comfortable in the TV booth than on the golf course these days.

• • •

Brentley Romine

  • Projected champion: Hideki Matsuyama. It’s his time. Supreme ballstriker and in good form – T-14 in last start, at the Irish Open, followed T-2 at Erin Hills.
  • Also like: Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler and Tommy Fleetwood. Love Garcia’s ability to drive it well, and Fowler is such a complete player these days; both normally can handle adverse weather conditions, too. Also, I’ll throw in the local boy, Fleetwood, who has looked oh so good this year, especially at Erin Hills.
  • Sleeper: Shane Lowry. Ability to play in the elements and in good form finally – finished top 20 three times in last five starts. Also, don’t sleep on Steve Stricker, the world’s most accurate driver.
  • DraftKings bargain: I like two guys at $6,600 – Bill Haas and Jason Dufner. Both are good ballstrikers and in good form. Haas cracked top 10 last year at Troon while Dufner has made five straight British Open cuts.
  • Fade: Jason Day. Not the same Jason Day that we’re used to right now.

• • •

Alistair Tait

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. He’s been flying under the radar since his Masters runner-up, but he has history at Royal Birkdale and his Irish Open T-4 should prime him for his second major title.
  • Also like: Tommy Fleetwood. He’s in the form of his life with two wins this season. He’s from Southport and knows Royal Birkdale better than most.
  • Sleeper: Chris Wood. Finished fifth at Birkdale in 2008 as an amateur and has two recent top 5s, including second at Nordea Masters.
  • DraftKings bargain: Soren Kjeldsen ($6,900). He’s good value if conditions are bad because he’s a grinder. He’s also a links winner with 2015 Irish Open victory at Royal County Down.
  • Fade: Henrik Stenson. The defending champion hasn’t kicked into high gear yet this season and will need to find inspiration if he is to repeat.

• • •

David Dusek

  • Projected champion: Rory McIlroy. He’s not putting well, but the last two winners of the British Open showed up with a negative strokes gained: putting average for the season and left with the Claret Jug. He’s an elite ballstriker and the crowd will be solidly behind him. Rory is all about momentum, so if he posts a good round Thursday, he’ll win.
  • Also like: Jon Rahm. The Spaniard is not going to be denied for long. Brimming with confidence after winning the Irish Open, Rahm is one of two players in the field who has a higher strokes gained: approach the green and strokes gained: tee to green average this season than the average of the previous five British Open winners. He’s going to win multiple majors and the first could come at Royal Birkdale.
  • Sleeper: Ian Poulter. Was the runner-up at Royal Birkdale to Padraig Harrington in 2008. He ranks sixth on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach the green and second in strokes gained: around the green, so if he catches a hot putting week, watch out.
  • DraftKings bargain: Jason Dufner ($6,600). The winner of the Memorial in May, Dufner has made the cut in his last five British Opens. He hits a lot of fairways and greens, which is the key to contending at the British Open.
  • Fade: Jason Day. The former World No. 1 has been a shadow of his 2016 self in 2017. It’s completely understandable, but Day recently missed the cut at the U.S. Open and the Travelers Championship and has yet to show that he can putt nearly as well as he did last season.

• • •

Gerry Ahern

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. The Englishman has a major under his belt (2013 U.S. Open) and came extremely close to another this year, bowing in a playoff at the Masters to Sergio Garcia. Was T-4 in the 1998 British and T-3 at 2012 PGA. Boasts five top-4 finishes in 2017, including a T-4 at the Irish Open.
  • Also like: Jon Rahm. The 2017 Irish Open champion has the game to overpower Birkdale if he can keep his wits about him. Has seven top-5s this year to go with a pair of victories. Don’t let his missed cut at the U.S. Open dissuade you.
  • Sleeper: Charles Howell III. Hasn’t missed a cut in 2017 and plays a windbeater game that could translate at British. Missed cut at Birkdale in 2008 but leads Tour in bogey avoidance this season.
  • DraftKings bargain: Brandt Snedeker ($6,800). Quietly putting together a solid 2017 campaign despite being hampered by a hand injury for a month. Stayed in contention throughout the U.S. Open and finished T-9. Was T-3 at the British in 2012.
  • Fade: Phil Mickelson. Won 2013 British but hasn’t been able to get his game untracked. Caddie switch from “Bones” Mackay to brother Tim won’t help.

• • •

Dan Kilbridge

  • Projected champion: Sergio Garcia. Over the major hump and still swinging well coming off his Masters victory. Three straight top-10 finishes at the British Open, including a T-2 in 2014. Ten career top-10 finishes in the British Open. The kicker? Over the past six years, the average age of the British Open winner is 38. Garcia is 37 and poised to bag his second major of the year.
  • Also like: Louis Oosthuizen. Another veteran playing consistently well having made every cut this season, including a T-2 finish at the Players. Previous British Open champion also recorded a T-2 finish in 2015 and should be firmly in the hunt at Royal Birkdale.
  • Sleeper: Stewart Cink. He’s been in contention a few times this season but has struggled to close in the final round. His iron play has been fantastic lately and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him make another 2009-esque run.
  • DraftKings bargain: Ross Fisher ($6,700). The Englishman has been tearing it up on the European Tour with top-10 finishes in the French Open, BMW PGA Championship and Volvo China Open. We like him as the sneaky play.
  • Fade: Jason Day. Very few signs of life lately and tough to forget the opening-round 79 at the U.S. Open last month. Can’t justify ponying up for Day when guys like Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama are available in the same price range.

• • •

Kevin Casey

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. Yeah, it’s maybe too corny to happen. Don’t care. Rose has been in REALLY strong form basically all year, he’s just lacking a win. He came so close at Augusta, and I think he’ll seal the deal where his legend started 19 years ago – when he finished T-4 at Royal Birkdale as a 17-year-old.
  • Also like: Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garica and Louis Oosthuizen. This is a course Spieth should really like, as it’s not one to be overpowered and is a par 70. Sounds a bit like TPC River Highlands, where he just won. Garcia hasn’t had a Masters hangover: He’s finished 21st or better in his last four starts, including a runner-up in his latest. He’s got a lot of mojo, and like this course for him (T-29, T-51 in two starts here). Oosthuizen is due for a big major performance, is playing well and should flourish at Royal Birkdale. He can stun you at any time, especially when it comes to the Open.
  • Sleeper: Andy Sullivan. Top-20 finishes in three of his last four starts and is currently contending at Scottish Open. He’s very comfortable at the Open Championship, too, as his T-30 and T-12 showings in his two starts at this event prove. Easy to underestimate Sullivan, a born sleeper.
  • DraftKings bargain: UPDATE …  Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($6,700). He’s coming off a closing 64 that won him the Scottish Open and has overall been on the rise since the beginning of 2016 (moving from outside the top 100 in the OWGR to No. 17). With that, he’s ready to make some noise in majors, and considering his current form, now would seem like a good time to start. ORIGINAL PICK: Brandt Snedeker ($6,800): Announced Wednesday he had to withdraw due to rib issue.
  • Fade: Phil Mickelson. I’m not confident in Rory, but he could turn things around completely at any moment. So I can’t fade him. Lefty I will, though. Mickelson hasn’t missed a cut this year, was T-19 at Birkdale in 2008 and produced a stunning runner-up performance last year at the Open. So why pick against him? With Mickelson, a lot of times when everything seems in his favor, he’ll lay an egg. I think he’s ripe for that this week.

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