Brooks Koepka is now among the favorites to win The Open Championship in Scotland next month after romping to victory in the US Open. The 28-year-old showed great mental strength to become the first repeat US Open champion since 1989, and he should carry great confidence into the remainder of the season. He may well be a links specialist, as he proved by seizing glory at Shinnecock Hills, and that augurs well for the Open.
This year it will be held at Carnoustie, which is one of the world’s most challenging links courses thanks to its thick rough and devilish bunkers. It seems perfectly set up for Koepka’s game, as he has the world’s best record on links courses since 2014, and he could well tame Carnoustie. He has a mental toughness to match his technical ability, and he will enjoy great momentum going into the tournament.
“This is incredible,” he said after the win at Shinnecock Hills. “I don’t think I could have dreamed of going back to back. It’s truly special and I am honored. I always felt like I had a chance. I was never out of it. I just needed to keep grinding. I knew the conditions would ease up a bit and I took advantage of it.”
That sort of tenacity should help him thrive at Carnoustie, and bookmakers have reacted accordingly. A couple of weeks ago, he was priced at 40-1 to win the tournament, but now he has gone into just 16-1 with some sportsbooks, although others are still offering an enticing 25-1. Watching a major is thrilling, but that excitement is ramped up several notches when you have a bit of money riding on one or more of the players. If you are unsure about how to bet on sports, this site will help you out, arming you with everything you need to know about odds, betting strategies and bankroll management.
The favorites for The Open are all the usual big names: world number one Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, defending champion Jordan Spieth. But one man worth keeping an eye on is Tommy Fleetwood. He shot a magnificent 63 on the final day of the US Open, a US Open record, and finished second, just one shot behind Koepka. He is also the course record holder at Carnoustie, which bodes extremely well for his chances at The Open.
It could develop into a straight between those two, who are both in red hot form right now.
“The best players in the world are up there trying to win a US Open, and watching them down the stretch, you’ve got nothing but respect for how well Brooks did, just to hole the putts at the right time,” Fleetwood said. “He kept it together, and he’s a world player. He’s one of the best players in the world. It wasn’t great for me, but it was great as a golfer to watch how he did it.”
Alongside the big name favorites, some other links golf specialists should be in the mix at Carnoustie. Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Brandt Snedeker and Tyrrell Hatton are all in with a chance, and it will be intriguing to see how it pans out. The tournament was last held at Carnoustie in 2007, when Garcia went into a playoff with Padraig Harrington after bogeying the final hole. Harrington won by two shots after an extra four holes, while Garcia went into a spiral of despair. It took him another 10 years to land a first major, but he is now full of confidence and he could really take the fight to Koepka, Fleetwood and company in the tournament.