British Open 2022 predictions, picks, odds: Four who could edge Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland at St. Andrews

With Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland sitting atop the 150th Open Championship standings after posting a matching 66 on Saturday, the golf world heads into Sunday’s final round wondering if we will see a historic end to what has already been an exhilarating anniversary edition of the oldest in the world. golf championship.

McIlroy breaking his major eight-year drought at St. Andrews would be one of the biggest stories of the year in golf, especially considering how he’s played in majors so far this season with top-10 finishes at the Masters (2nd), PGA Championship (8th) and US Open (T5). A win for Hovland would cement his place among golf’s rising stars, adding him to a 2022 major championship season that would have all four winners under the age of 30.

But what if the winner of the Claret Jug is not from the final pairing? What happens if someone charges low and our two co-leaders fall back into the pack? So who has the best chance of catching McIlroy and Hovland on Sunday?

Historically, the record for a final-round comeback at the Open is held by Paul Lawrie’s charge of 10 shots back to make a three-way elimination and ultimately win. But the chances of McIlroy and/or Hovland losing a three-stroke lead on the 18th like Jean van de Velde did at Carnoustie that year seem unlikely. More recent, realistic examples of notable final-round comebacks at the Open include Padraig Harrington winning on six in 2007, Ernie Els winning on six in 2012 and Phil Mickelson winning on five in 2013.

But none of these were in St. Andrews. The winner of each 72-hole edition of the Open played at St. Andrews was within four strokes of the lead before the final found, capturing the Claret Jug all 22 times, based on Justin Ray. As such, here are the five contenders who could potentially catch the 150th Open leaders on Sunday. Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Cameron Smith (-12): After two days of doing almost everything on the greens, Smith didn’t roll putts with the same consistency on Saturday as the 54-hole championship leader. Although he didn’t card as many birdies, Smith held his round together until a collapse from a double bogey at No. 13. Those mistakes and misses didn’t cost him too many places in the standings. , but those two shots would have put him in a much better position to catch the leaders. As things stand, he not only has to shoot somewhere near 65 or 66, but hope neither McIlroy nor Hovland scores in the 60s. Odds: 11-1

Cameron Young (-12): One of the PGA Tour’s hottest rookies delivered an impressive performance on his Open debut, including how he recovered a 1-under 71 despite two bogeys and a double-bogey from his place in the final couple. After a 64 on Thursday, a 69 on Friday then a 71 on Saturday, it would be remarkable to see him reverse the trend and regain this form at the start of the tournament. But that’s not usually how things go, especially with players early in their major careers. Odds: 25-1

Scottie Scheffler (-11): A solid 3-under 69 propelled the reigning Masters champion one place in the standings and one step closer to being able to challenge for a second major championship in this stellar 2022 season. Scheffler had his best day of the tournament so far in approach shots to those Old Course greens, and it paid off to set up five birdies on the day. Scheffler is a top proposition where you can almost count on a 68 or 69 on Sunday, but that score would still leave him short of hoisting the Claret Jug unless Rory and Hovland go over par. Si Woo Kim is 11 under with Scheffler, but he’s never even finished in the top 10 in 22 major starts. Odds: 20-1

Dustin Johnson (-10): With length to drive the green on short par-4s and a knack for lag putting, St. Andrews looked well prepared for Johnson to win his third major championship. Unfortunately, those efforts unraveled on Saturday afternoon when DJ had as many bogeys on his last six holes (three) as he had on the first two rounds combined. He has the potential to go very low on Sunday, but the way he was knocked down by the mounds and bunkers of the Old Course at the end of round three doesn’t bode well for an epic comeback. Odds: 50-1

Last chance pick for The Open Championship 2022

Kyle Porter, Senior Golf Writer: There are myriad reasons why McIlroy will win the 150th Open. He did an incredibly good job of not getting emotionally carried away during what is an exceptionally emotional week. His game is as tidy as it has been in a year, and he’s shooting the scores to prove it. St. Andrews is a magical place, and Rory’s victory the same week that Tiger Woods left the stage just after two of the best victories in golf history at this course is so unlikely it could apparently only happen. at the Old Course. Pick: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Chip Patterson, writer: There’s no reason to overthink it: Even the data indicates there’s just over a 50% chance McIlroy will edge Hovland and hold the chasing pack on Sunday. The confidence he’s displayed all week backs up the analytics, and it’s time for a generational talent to be rewarded with another career-high Hall of Fame. McIlroy has never finished in the top 10 in four majors in a single season, and he’s ready to not only do that, but break his eight-year major drought at St. Andrews. Pick: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Patrick McDonald, golf writer: McIlroy is riding a wave of momentum, and it looks like he couldn’t hurt the Old Course. This week was a throwback to 2014 where he often played with the perfect mix of aggression and discipline. Eight years later, he would lift the Claret Jug again and join Seve Ballesteros and Byron Nelson as a five-time major champion. Pick: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Kyle Boone, writer: How far is too far back? That’s five shots — in these conditions, on this course, with this classification sprinkled with stars – too many? No winner of an Open held at St. Andrews has won after trailing more than four strokes at the 54-hole mark, according to Justin Ray. Still, it somehow seems plausible when it comes to Scheffler. After watching Justin Thomas come out of a seven-shot hole entering Round 4 of the PGA Championship in May, Scheffler charging to take the Claret Jug on Sunday doesn’t seem impossible. He’s been playing well all week, ranks second in the field in shots gained on approach and has the wherewithal to put on a huge rally if his putter starts to roll. Pick: Scottie Scheffler (20-1)

Adam Silverstein, Editor: Just because he stopped winning doesn’t mean McIlroy struggled to play well at majors. Since 2014, he has 16 top 10s out of 30 such chances, including three this year alone. The problem is that McIlroy usually starts slow or squanders a low first-round score, often going through the backdoor. That’s not the case this week as McIlroy has remained consistently hot with scores of 66-68-66 through the first three rounds. Rory clearly has the equivalent of home course advantage at St. Andrews – the crowd is emotionally invested in his success – but he was able to block it and play calm, intelligent golf. What better way to end an eight-year drought than by winning the 150th Open? Pick: Rory McIlroy (10/11)

Rick Gehman and Greg DuCharme watch the standings ahead of Sunday at The Open Championship. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple podcast and Spotify.

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