The Open sleepers: Five players who could surprisingly contend at Royal St. George’s

Every year at The Open Championship, there is always a player or two who surprisingly contends. In recent editions, we’ve seen Robert MacIntyre (2019), Chan Kim and Austin Connelly (2017) and Andrew Johnston (2016) among the longshots who have flirted with a claret jug.

Who will be the shockers this week at Royal St. George’s?

These guys probably won’t win, but here are five players listed at +20000 or higher per PointsBet Sportsbook that could sneak up on some people and notch a top-20 or better:

Richard Bland (+20000): Let the good times roll in Bland Land. The 48-year-old Englishman grabbed headlined at the U.S. Open last month before falling to T-50, which is by far his worst finish since early May. He’s gone T-4 and T-15 in each of the past two weeks, in Ireland and Scotland. This is his comfort zone, so keeping riding the wave.

Mackenzie Hughes (+20000): Another familiar name from the leaderboard at Torrey, Hughes has made two cuts since his T-15 at the U.S. Open, including a T-14 in Detroit in his last start. He’s an above-average putter and should be able to hole plenty of putts on slow-ish greens.

The Open odds: Jon Rahm clear favorite entering week at Royal St. George’s

Jason Scrivener (+25000): It’s hard to believe the 11th-ranked player in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai (and third among Euro regulars) is listed at these odds. Scrivener has yet to win on any of the major circuits, though he’s cracked the top 10 three times in his last five Euro Tour starts. He’s not a bomber, but he drives it straight and does everything else solidly. It’s been a nice run for Aussies in the past few weeks, maybe Scrivener is next.

Johannes Veerman (+35000): After turning pro out of Texas A&M in 2015, Veerman bounced around Asia for a few years. He’s now found his footing on the Euro Tour while climbing inside the top 200 in the world. Recently, he’s been playing some great golf, placing third at the Irish Open before sharing eighth last week in Scotland. The only issue is experience; last month’s U.S. Open, where he missed the cut, was his first major start.

Matthias Schmid (+50000): The long-hitting German amateur is in the field courtesy of his victory at the 2020 European Amateur, his second of two straight wins in the prestigious championship. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines last month, but this links test suits his game much better. He should excel still being able to hits lots of driving irons on a soft layout.

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