Pro Golf Weekly analyzes the PGA Tour field at Gullane Golf Club in this week’s ASI Scottish Open Power Picks.
Once again the lead-in event to the Open Championship, the ASI Scottish Open also acts as the anchor event for three-straight Rolex Series stops leading up to the season’s third major.
The two leadoff Rolex events – the HNA Open De France and DFF Irish Open – included impressive fields and delivered exciting finishes, as Alex Noren and Russell Knox won the first two legs, respectively.
Can the Scottish Open top those first two tournaments? Based on the field’s talent index, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see another top-ranked star in the winner’s circle come Sunday afternoon.
The field in Gullane, Scotland includes a full one-third (10) of the top-30 ranked players in the world, including five in the top 20, all of whom are included in this week’s power picks.
2018 ASI Scottish Open Power Picks
1. JUSTIN ROSE
Leading the way in Scotland is world No. 3 Justin Rose who will be teeing it up for the first time since a T10 at the U.S. Open. The 37-year old Englishman is in the midst of another superb season, which includes two wins and six additional top 10s in just 13 starts between the two major tours.
Rose, who has yet to go home empty handed this season, will be teeing it up for the third time in a pure European Tour event (T10 Hong Kong, T22 Abu Dhabi). As a former winner here (2014, Royal Aberdeen), Rose is a top favorite with U.K. bookmakers at 10-1.
World Rank: 3rd
2018 WGCs: 1, 37
2018 Majors: 12, 10
Last Seven: 10, 6, 1, 23, 12, 52, 3
2. RICKIE FOWLER
The other co-favorite is Rickie Fowler, who also owns a Scottish Open title, with his victory coming at this year’s host venue – Gullane Golf Club (2015).
Fowler has enjoyed a typical Fowler season, with all kinds of top 10s and top 20s, but no victories. The now 29-year old American is ranked No. 7 in the world and is entering off four straight top 20s, including a disappointing T12 against a very weak field at the Quicken Loans National. In the majors, Fowler has posted a T20 (U.S. Open) and T2 (Masters).
Still, despite the lack of wins, Fowler remains an elite golfer and is almost guaranteed to be near the top of the leaderboard come the weekend.
World Rank: 7th
2018 WGCs: 37
2018 Majors: 2, 20
Last Seven: 12, 20, 8, 14, MC, 21, 2
3. PATRICK REED
At No. 13 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Patrick Reed is the third highest ranked player in the field, and one of the top-5 favorites to take home the trophy this weekend. The controversial Texan, and reigning Masters winner, will be making his first start since a miss at the Travelers.
Reed is having a terrific season, and on top of the Masters title, finished fourth at the U.S. Open and owns three additional top 10s. Reed is a member of the European Tour, and by virtue of his win at Augusta, is the leading points getter in the Race to Dubai.
World Rank: 13th
2018 WGCs: 50, 37, 9
2018 Majors: 1, 4
Last Seven: MC, 4, 29, 41, 8, 1, 9
4. HIDEKI MATSUYAMA
After Reed, the next highest ranked player in the field is Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who appears to be back after struggling for much of the late spring/early summer, following a wrist injury in Phoenix which sidelined him for a month.
After a missed-cut at the PLAYERS in May, Matsuyama has posted three-straight top 20s, two of them in elite field events (T13 Memorial, T16 U.S. Open). When he’s on, Matsuyama is one of the top-5 players in the world, and with his game trending up, he’s well worth an option at 20-1 odds.
World Rank: 16th
2018 WGCs: 50, 36
2018 Majors: 19, 16
Last Seven: 16, 13, 16, MC, 76, 19, 36
5. PHIL MICKELSON
The last of the top-20 ranked players in the field is Mickelson, who checks in right on the number at No. 20.
Mickelson has sort of gone backwards (relatively speaking) since a torrid stretch in the spring, highlighted by a win at the WGC event in Mexico. Since that win south of the border, Phil has posted just a single top 10 (T5 Wells Fargo) in nine starts with his last two appearances highlighted by controversial penalties, resulting in low finishes (T48 U.S. Open, T65 Grenbrier).
World Rank: 20th
2018 WGCs: 15, 1, 17
2018 Majors: 36, 48
Last Seven: 65, 48, 12, 13, MC, 5, 36