British Open: Fantasy golf power rankings

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

British Open: Fantasy golf power rankings

Fantasy

British Open: Fantasy golf power rankings

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PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – The British Open is back at stunning Royal Portrush for the first time in more than half a century.

Based on early visuals and feedback, it was worth the wait.

This oceanside course is absolutely incredible on the eyes and should make for great broadcasts. Almost enough to make one forget that we’re here to play a golf tournament.

Luckily the course is up for the challenge and every bit worthy of a major championship, with plenty of nuance for players to try and figure out for the first time in the coming days.

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Tiger Woods is back for his first start since the British Open, Rory McIlroy is back in his native land and a lot of golf’s biggest names are in top form entering the week.

It should all add up for fantastic week of golf that ensures it won’t take nearly as long for the Open to return in future years.

Here are my top 20 fantasy picks for the 2019 British Open at Royal Portrush.

20. Patrick Reed

Found a bit of a groove lately and building confidence at a combined 35-under-par for his last three tournaments. He’s also been in the top 30 in three of his last four British Open starts.

19. Tony Finau

Awfully quiet since a runner-up showing at Quail Hollow in May, after which he missed three consecutive cuts. The stats aren’t great either, but he finished T-9 at the British last year and is generally a good bet to finish top-25.

18. Henrik Stenson

The 2016 Open champ hasn’t missed a cut at this tournament since 2007, with four finishes of T-3 or better in that same stretch. Also fresh off a T-4 at last week’s Scottish Open.

17. Tommy Fleetwood

Didn’t have the year he was hoping for, but still playing well enough to contend on a regular basis with the obviously-appealing links experience to boot.

16. Gary Woodland

Not hearing a whole lot of chatter about the defending U.S. Open champ and this has never been his favorite event. On the bright side, he’s never missed a cut in seven British Open starts.

15. Matt Kuchar

Lack of distance puts him at a slight disadvantage at this course, but he followed that 2017 British Open runner-up with a T-9 at Carnoustie and is having his best season in a long, long time.

14. Jason Day

Consistently strong British Open player and getting more and more comfortable with new caddie Steve Williams on the bag.

13. Justin Rose

This seems like a ballstrikers course and Rose checks all the proper boxes.

12. Jordan Spieth

T-65 at Pebble Beach followed by a missed cut at the Travelers has tempered expectations for the 2017 champ, but he always plays inspired golf on this side of the pond.

11. Justin Thomas

Finished T-9 at the Scottish Open last week and looking to buck a trend of two straight missed cuts at the British Open.

10. Tiger Woods

Three-time British Open champ hasn’t played since Pebble Beach but doesn’t need to be perfect to contend. Just needs to hang around on Thursday and Friday before making a weekend charge, as he did last year at Carnoustie.

9. Francesco Molinari

Defending champ was T-34 last week at the Scottish Open and should play with more zest than we’ve seen in recent months since the Masters letdown.

8. Hideki Matsuyama

We always love Hideki’s chances on slower greens that serve as an equalizer and make up for his putting issues. Also enters the week on a Tour-best streak of 25 consecutive made cuts.

7. Rickie Fowler

Course should suit his eye with the various shot shapes required, even if the game hasn’t been spectacular of late.

6. Jon Rahm

Two-time Irish Open champ enters the week guns-a-blazin’ and poised for his best result in what’s been a surprisingly disappointing start to his British Open career.

5. Xander Schauffele

Last year’s runner-up at Carnoustie, Xander is coming off a T-3 at the U.S. Open and now has more than enough experience at the top of a major leaderboard to make serious noise again at Portrush.

4. Patrick Cantlay

Leads the Tour in scoring average this season, second in Strokes Gained total and has become a complete player this year with improved putting. Wouldn’t surprise us one bit to see him in the final group Sunday.

3. Dustin Johnson

Already has two major runner-ups this season and should be able to cut some corners off the tee where others can’t around this place.

2. Rory McIlroy

He has four consecutive top-5 finishes in this tournament, including that 2014 win at Royal Liverpool. Only concern is dealing with the pressure/hoopla of playing so close to home.

1. Brooks Koepka

Pretty clear by now that we should ignore two meh starts at the Travelers and 3M Open that followed his near-historic U.S. Open showing and runner-up result. And while others scramble to figure out a brand new course in a few days, Koepka can rely heavily on caddie and Portrush native Ricky Elliot.

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