Open Golf

17/07/2014 | By | Reply More

Curiously, Golf was one of the first markets I bet on Betfair way back in June 2000. But I quickly moved onto other sports before I returned with a vengeance a few years later.

The British Open is different from other majors in that it is played on rotation schedule across a number of ‘links’ courses in the UK. Links courses are traditionally near the sea, are near or on dunes, have an uneven surface and a sandy soil. This is in stark contrast to a lot of ‘modern’ courses which are often set in parkland or woods and carefully manicured.

Links golf is very different from traditional golf in that it’s a bit harder to play consistently, especially if the weather is poor. Major championships will see the course set up for greater difficulty and poor weather can make things even harder. The forecast this year is for the period before the cut to be OK, but the third day and start of the fourth to be much tougher. Excuse the pun, but with thunderstorms forecast at some point at the moment, this could really scramble things up!

It’s a very strong field this year, 88 of the worlds top 90 will be playing the tournament, so a winner will be hard to pick. Golf is a game of confidence as much as anything, so players who are playing well tend to carry that form forward. Adam Scott has received a lot of support in the market but isn’t on a hot streak, therefore the market appears to be pricing him on his last two performances. Rose and Stenson are justified at the front of the market. Kaymer, Fowler, Johnson have also been a good run. Players not on a good run include Lee Westwood & Jonas Blixt who are unlikely to have any impact. Tiger Woods is an interesting story but I suspect that’s about it.

With 156 selections in the field, I tend to not focus on who will win, that’s an incredibly hard thing to do. However, it’s pretty obvious that it’s quite easy to find a winning lay. That will work, but it also carries a lot of potential liability at the prices you need to lay at. Therefore I tend to pick through players that I think will be in contention or big movers at some point in the tournament and back a selection of them. If you use the dutching tool in Bet Angel this means you can do this to a fixed liability. Out of that group you will very often find somebody who performs well and shortens up significantly which will most likely generate a profit if you are trading. If you catch a cluster of decent selections at large prices, when the price shortens, you can trade out of a profit or leave a bit on them for the title.

The difficult course set up will also provide opportunities. The leader after round once has historically only won the title 10% of the time. The leader in round two and three, 26% and 46% of the time. But you should note that of all the Open courses on rotation this course has historically produced a lower score than others, so that implies it is easier; subject to when and if the weather arrives.

As we get towards the business end of the tournament, turn your focus to the front of the field. Dutching the front of field within a certain number of shots of the leader has generally been a value bet. We looked back all the way to 1957 and nobody has won the Open after being more than six shots from lead after end of the third round. Even if you narrow that to three shots from the lead you still find a winner 83% of the time.


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Category: Golf

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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