PGA Tour Picks: Genesis Scottish Open

The recent upgrade of the relationship between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour will make the Genesis Scottish Open this week at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland, one of   the top events on both tours outside of the majors this season.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler is among 14 of the top 15 players in the World Golf Rankings who will tee it up a week before the 150th Open Championship on the famed Old Course at St. Andrews, also in Scotland.

Others in the field include third-seeded Jon Rahm of Spain, fourth-seeded Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, fifth-seeded Justin Thomas, sixth-seeded Cameron Smith if Australia, seventh-seeded Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, eighth-seeded Viktor Hovland of Norway, ninth-seeded Sam Burns and 10th-seeded Matt Fitzpatrick of England, who won the U.S. Open in his last start.

Among the others who will bee it up in Scotland on Thursday are Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, Will Zalatoris, Tommy Fleetwood of England, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Billy Horschel, Ryan Fox of New Zealand, Tyrrell Hatton of England, Rickie Fowler, Joaquin Niemann of Chile, Justin Rose of England, Thomas Detry of Belgium, Max Homa, Keegan Bradley, Edorado Molinari of Italy, Robert MacIntyre of Scotland, Mito Pereira of Chile, Corey Conners of Canada, Sungjae Im of South Korea and Guido Migliozzi of Italy.

Min Woo Lee of Australia (pictured) claimed his second professional victory in the Scottish Open last year when he turned back Fitzpatrick and Detry with a birdie on the first playoff hole after shooting 64 in the final round.

Rahm finished seventh, Thomas tied for eighth, Schauffele tied for 10th and Scheffler tied for 12th.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to Renaissance Club for the Genesis Scottish Open this summer and the start of an exciting two weeks in Scotland,” said Rahm, who has claimed seven    of his 14 professional victories on what is now the DP World Tour.

“I’ve had success in Rolex Series events in the past and adding another win would be the perfect way to go into the Open in St. Andrews the following week. I know this is an event with a long history and it’s great to see it become part of both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour this season.”

Said No. 1 Scheffler: “I enjoyed the week at the Scottish Open last year and I’m looking forward to getting back to the Renaissance Club in July for the start of an exciting two weeks in Scotland. I had heard a lot about the event and the Rolex Series before I played for the first time, and it lived up to it.

“A lot has happened for me since then, and I’m hoping to keep that good feeling going over the summer. Last year was my first trip to Scotland and I can’t wait to play in front of the Scottish fans again, and hopefully see a bit more of this beautiful country.”

Since 1986, the Scottish Open has been played on great courses such as Gleneagles, Carnoustie, Loch Lomond, Royal Aberdeen and Castle Stuart. In 2019, the tournament moved to the Renaissance Club in North Berwick, and it has remained there ever since.

The Renaissance Club is a fairly new golf course. Up until 2005, the land on which the Renaissance is located was a 1,000-acre estate owned by the Duke of Hamilton and happens to be right next door to historic Muirfield, site of 16 Open Championships.

Jacksonville businessman Jerry Sarvadi, who wanted to build a world-class golf facility of his own, caught wind of it and gave the Duke of Hamilton an offer he couldn’t refuse. After purchasing the land, Sarvardi brought in golf course architect Tom Doak to design a new 18-hole track.

The world will see it on live television this week.

BEST BETS

1. Matt Fitzpatrick, England – Coming off his first major victory and the eighth of his pro career in the U.S. Open, the 10th-ranked Fitzpatrick has recorded eight finishes in the top 10 this season. He made his first start in the Genesis Scottish Open last year and lost to Min Woo Lee of Australia on the first playoff hole after posting scores of 66-66-67-67 at the Renaissance Club.

2. Scottie Scheffler, United States – The top-ranked Scheffler has built a huge lead in the FedEx Cup standings by winning four times on the PGA Tour this season, including his first major title in the Masters, and has nine results in the top 10 including a tie for second in the U.S. Open. He played in the Genesis Scottish Open for the first time last season and wound up in a tie for 12th.

3. Jon Rahm, Spain – Ranked third in the world and trying to climb back to No. 1, Rahm claimed his seventh PGA Tour title and 14th as a pro by winning the Mexico Open in May, and has six top-10 finishes this season including second in the Sentry TOC and a tie for third in the Farmers Insurance Open. He was seventh in his first appearance in the Scottish Open last year.

4. Justin Thomas, United States – Claimed his second major title in the PGA Championship in May and also tied for eighth in the Masters among his nine top-10 finishes this season—including third three times. The fifth-ranked Thomas tied for ninth in the Genesis Scottish Open three years ago and also tied for eighth last year, shooting no worse than 70 in eight rounds.

5. Cameron Smith, Australia – The sixth-ranked Smith has claimed seven pro victories including two this season, winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship, in addition to tying for third in the Masters. He played in the Genesis Scottish Open only in 2018 and finished in a tie for 42nd, even though he carded four scores in the 60s.

6. Xander Schauffele, United States – Back up to No. 11 in the world rankings after claiming his second victory of the season and sixth on the PGA Tour in his career, the 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist has placed in the top 25 on 11 occasions this season and is eighth in the FedEx Cup standings. Schauffele tied for 10th in his only appearance in the Scottish Open last season.

7. Will Zalatoris, United States – Even though he still has not won as a professional, the 2020-21 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has risen to No. 13 in the world rankings by finishing second three times this season, including in the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship among eight top-10 results. Zalatoris made his debut in the Scottish Open last year and finished in a tie for 26th.

8. Sam Burns, United States – The ninth-ranked Burns has won the Valspar Championship, the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Sanderson Farms Championship to give him four PGA Tour victories in his career, and his eight top-10 finishes put him second in the FedEx Cup standings. He played in the Scottish Open for the first time last season and wound up in a tie for 18th.

9. Patrick Cantlay, United States – Teamed with Xander Schauffele to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and finished second in the Phoenix Open and the RBC Heritage among seven top-10 finishes this season, to rank seventh in the world rankings and sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. Cantlay is making his first appearance in the Genesis Scottish Open this week.

10. Viktor Hovland, Norway – The eighth-ranked Hovland claimed his third PGA Tour title and sixth as a pro by winning the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba early this season among seven top-25 results, including a tie for second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He tied for fourth in the Genesis Invitational but is making his Genesis Scottish Open debut.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Collin Morikawa, United States; Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Sungjae Im, South Korea; Tommy Fleetwood, England; Joaquin Niemann, Chile; Max Homa, United States; Jordan Spieth, United States; Tyrrell Hatton, England; Robert McIntyre, Scotland; Haotong Li, China; Mito Pereira, Chile; Min Woo Lee, Australia.

SLEEPERS:

1. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, South Africa – Seven-time winner as a pro was T-2 in John Deere Classic on Sunday, his eighth Top-25. Best result in four Scottish Opens was a T-34 in 2019.

2. John Catlin, United States – Has 10 wins around the world and T-4 in Irish Open on Sunday earned him a spot in Open at St. Andrews. Missed cut in the Scottish Open the last two seasons.

3. Ryan Fox, New Zealand – Also qualified for the Open with a T-2 in Irish Open and has won seven times as a pro. Recorded a T-4 in 2017 Scottish Open and T-6 the following year.

4. Kurt Kitayama, United States – T-2 in Mexico Open, solo third in Honda on PGA Tour this season and has three professional victories on other tours. T-43 in the 2019 Scottish Open.

5. Callum Tarren, England – Three-time amateur winner in England has played on tours around the world before a T-5 in Puerto Rico Open, T-6 in John Deere last week. Scottish Open debut.

For first-round tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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