The third major championship of 2018 is set to begin right around the time I hop into bed. The 147th British Open is schedule to start at 12:35 a.m. Thursday in Scotland as I will have to push my beauty sleep back a few hours. Carnoustie Championship Course will host this year’s Open Championship that features 16 former winners. Like with any major golf tournament, I will be creating a Draft Kings lineup with a dozen of my buddies. Spoiler alert: I haven’t won this season but I do the most research out of anyone. Maybe that’s why I never win. However, for this year’s Open Championship I’m searching for budget golfers who are going to make a splash.
Here’s my best Draft Kings lineup for the 2018 British Open using golfers under $8,000.
- Zach Johnson $7,200 — The 2015 Open Champion has a fabulous wedge game. Johnson doesn’t bomb it off the tee box like some PGA Tour players but he knows his strength (his short game) and uses it to beat people. The fairways at Carnoustie are reported to be freaky fast, which could lead to big hitters hitting it through the fairway. I’m not saying Johnson is going to win his third major this weekend but taking a guy that knows his way around the greens makes this pick easier to make.
- Tyrrell Hatton $7,900 — Tyrrell Hatton won the 2016 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie in 2016 with a 24-under. Hatton knows a little bit about this course because one of the four rounds was played at this year’s British Open course. Now the Open Championship is much more prestigious compared to Dunhill but experience helps. Hatton’s best finish at the British Open came in 2016 when he tied for fifth. He may be a long shot but winning at this course a few years ago has to give him confidence going into Thursday.
- Webb Simpson $7,200 — Webb Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open but hasn’t cracked the Top 10 in any other major. His best finish at the Open Championship was a tied for 16th in 2011. But like Johnson, Simpson has a strong set of wedges. He’s also third on tour with a 65.8 scrambling percentage. Getting up and down is going to be key this week and Simpson is one of the best to do it.
- Eddie Pepperell — $7,000 — Eddie Pepperell wasn’t supposed to play in this major. He had a radio gig set up for the four-day tournament with BBC radio where he would give his expert golf analysis. That all changed when he shot 16-under and qualified for the Open Championship last week at Scottish Open. Pepperell is a small 27-year old from England and is coming into the week with some mojo. At $7,000 on Draft Kings, he’s a steal even though his best British Open finish is tied for 49th in 2015. His odds to win the major is 200-1 and there’s a lot of value there.
- Bryson DeChambeau $7,600 — I went back and forth on this pick and I’m still not sure it was the right one. Bryson DeChambeau has some shoulder problems and withdrew from last week’s John Deere Classic. You never want to pick a player that has some injury news swirling around their body. However, after not taking Tony Finau after he popped his ankle out of place during the Masters par 3 contest bit me in the ass, I’m sticking with semi-injured players. Finau went on to finish tied for 10th and cost me money in my Master’s Pool. My point is don’t overlook DeChambeau just because of his shoulder issues.
- Russell Knox $7,700 — If you couldn’t tell, I’m a big confidence guy. And Russell Knox has had a great summer that should give him confidence going into the weekend. Knox is playing with Tiger Woods and I’m a firm believer in you play up to the level of your competition. I predict Tiger is going to have a good tournament and I think that will rub off on Knox. He’s coming off a 12th-place finish at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and won two weeks ago in a playoff at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.