2018 British Open: Fantasy golf expert picks for Carnoustie

GULLANE, SCOTLAND - JULY 14: Rickie Fowler of USA takes his tee shot on hole eleven during day three of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Course on July 14, 2018 in Gullane, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) Getty Images

2018 British Open: Fantasy golf expert picks for Carnoustie

Fantasy

2018 British Open: Fantasy golf expert picks for Carnoustie

Need help with your fantasy-golf lineups for this week’s British Open at Carnoustie? 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:

Geoff Shackelford

Projected champion: Rickie Fowler. Loves links golf, would like some wind to make things interesting and has been here early to get ready, prepping with a T-4, 14-under performance at the Scottish Open. Putting has held him back in 2018, but getting here early will help, as will seeming to be in a very good place following his Masters heartbreak.

Also like: Alex Noren, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka. No surprises here. Noren is one of the best in world, loves links golf and seems ready to go. Tiger will be relegated to a lot of stingers and that makes him extra dangerous, while Johnson comes in quietly ready to avenge his U.S. Open weekend. Koepka can stripe irons off the tees here all week and back up his U.S. Open win.

Sleeper: Danny Willett. Game has been rounding into form with Sean Foley’s help. Injury free, he seems close to resembling the golfer who won the 2017 Masters. A T-19 at the Scottish and T-6 at the Irish Open suggest he’s enjoying links courses again, too.

DraftKings bargain: Brandon Stone ($6,900). Last week’s Scottish Open winner at Gullane posted a final-round 60 and moved to No. 110 in the world. The South African, who stopped for a cup of coffee at the University of Texas, says he’s finally found something after much searching. He’s also proud to have finally overcome his awful record on links courses.

Fade: Matt Kuchar. Missed cut at the Scottish has him struggling a year after playing the best four rounds of his life without winning.

• • •

Brentley Romine

Projected champion: Rickie Fowler. The last two winners at Carnoustie were first-time major winners. No reason Fowler, a true lover of links, can’t continue that trend.

Also like: Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson and Zach Johnson. Fleetwood rallied to post a respectable finish last year at Birkdale and his showing at Shinnecock last month shows he’s not afraid to go low in majors. Casey is just so consistent and just seems like he has to win one of these soon. If Stenson’s elbow is good, he has the ballstriking ability to win another Claret Jug. Johnson, at 80-1, might be the best value in the field.

Sleeper: Sean Crocker. I’m going really deep. At 500-1, it’s worth a shot to take the former USC standout to finish top-10. Might I add that I highlighted Austin Connelly and Chan Kim to each make noise last year – and they both did.

DraftKings bargain: Gary Woodland ($7,000) and Emiliano Grillo ($6,800). Have heard some chatter about Woodland being a dark horse this week. Went with Grillo a year ago to play well and he didn’t, but he’ll enter this year’s Open playing much better golf than last year.

Fade: Phil Mickelson. Not great at Carnoustie in two trips. Might keep driver out of the bag, which will help – just not enough to warrant a pick.

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Dan Kilbridge

Projected champion: Dustin Johnson. Two wins this season and it still feels like somewhat of a disappointment. He hasn’t finished worse than T-17 in a single tournament and kind of got screwed playing in that final group Saturday when conditions got out of hand at the U.S. Open. This is the week DJ adds major No. 2.

Also like: Paul Casey. The British Open has been an old man’s game of late (Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke) and the 40-year-old has finished T-17 or better in five of six starts since winning the Valspar, including a T-2 his last time out at the Travelers.

Sleeper: Stewart Cink. Past champion with a pair of top-5 finishes over the last month. Lack of distance at age 45 won’t hurt quite as much with how fast the fairways are playing. We like his chances despite still being upset that he robbed us of the greatest sports story of all time by beating a 59-year-old Tom Watson nine years ago.

DraftKings bargain: Emiliano Grillo ($6,800). Finished T-12 in his British Open debut in 2016 and has quietly amassed five top-10 finishes this season, including at two of the toughest courses on Tour in PGA National and Quail Hollow.

Fade: Jordan Spieth. The defending champ hasn’t had any juice at all since his Sunday charge at the Masters. He’s 40th(!) in the FedEx Cup rankings and needs to turn his season around in a hurry. I don’t think this is the week he gets it going.

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Gerry Ahern

Projected champion: Justin Thomas. The World No. 2 has been a model of consistency this season, notching two wins on Tour and is almost always in the hunt. A steal at 20-1, despite previous links struggles, I like last year’s PGA champion to add his second major win.

Also like: Francesco Molinari. The Italian has had the hottest putter around and is coming off a win at the Quicken Loans National and a T-2 at the John Deere Classic. Momentum.

Sleeper: Sergio Garcia. We haven’t heard much from the Spaniard since his T-9 at the WGC-Match Play. But he loves playing the British and if he can control himself off the tee and make a few putts he could be dangerous.

DraftKings bargain: Eddie Pepperell. The Brit was runnerup at last week’s Scottish Open. Won his first European Tour event at the Qatar Masters in February. A good value at $7,000.

Fade: Phil Mickelson. Expect the hangover from Lefty’s U.S. Open meltdown on the greens to continue at Carnoustie. He’s struggled here, missing cuts in 1999 and 2007.

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Kevin Casey

Projected champion: Jon Rahm. I actually like his “as many drivers as possible” strategy on a course where the rough is pretty benign and undulated fairways don’t make laying back a cinch to avoid trouble. The Spaniard enters in outstanding form, too, with top fives in his last two starts. It’s time for the 23-year-old.

Also like: Justin Rose, Patrick Reed and Jason Day. Amazingly, Rose’s best Open finish remains his T-4 as a 17-year-old amateur in 1998. But he was T-12 at Carnoustie in 2007 and enters this week with top 10s in his last four starts. Reed’s T-23 at Scottish Open had a lot more firepower than that finish showed and he takes unbelievable confidence into majors with three straight top 5s in the big ones. Probably not the best course fit here for Day, but see Merion for how he can deal with that and he’s a big name playing well (T-12 in his last start, a win just two months ago). That should be of merit, yet he’s fallen under the radar.

Sleeper: Danny Willett. Yeah, I’ll right away note this could totally blow up in my face. But I can’t help but notice a recent T19-T6 run from Willett (who also placed T-8 at the BMW PGA). He looks as good as he has in years and we know his firepower. Hey, it’s worth a shot on the 2016 Masters champ.

DraftKings bargain: Jason Dufner ($6.900). This baked-out layout (demanding some accuracy off the tee, neutralizing length somewhat) with greens that are surprisingly soft (meaning a lower ball flight can work) sounds like a great fit for Dufner’s game. Dufner hasn’t played since the U.S. Open, but he finished T-25 there.

Fade: Jordan Spieth. The defending champ has emphasized this week about how he doesn’t need his best game to win. That doesn’t inspire confidence. Just don’t think the self-belief is there for a strong title defense.

• • •

Alistair Tait

Projected champion: Alex Noren. The Swede warmed up for Carnoustie by winning the French Open, and is in the form of his life after a good PGA Tour campaign. Oh, and the average age of Open winners in the last 10 years is 36. Noren turned 36 last week.

Also like: Ian Poulter. Plays links golf well and has a runner-up on his record (2008).

Sleeper: Ryan Fox. Has had two good weeks of links golf, so has good outside chance of becoming second Kiwi winner.

DraftKings bargain: Charley Hoffman. At some point he has to play four solid rounds in a major. It could be this week.

Fade: Jordan Spieth. Don’t see the defending champion becoming first player since Padraig Harrington to repeat as champion. He’s had no form at all this season.

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