It’s always an intriguing battle between the amateurs at The Open Championship and there isn’t much between them in golf betting markets.
Current favorite Keita Nakajima is priced at +250 and there are four other amateur golfers within +300-500. Only Aaron Jarvis is expected to struggle, so it’s on for young and old at St. Andrews.
Nakajima Leading the Pack
Nakajima is the top-ranked amateur in the world and he has shown ability at the professional level.
The Japanese superstar made his professional tournament debut in the ZOZO Championship last year where he recorded a T28 finish.
That was an exceptional result for the youngster and he followed it up by finishing 41st at the Sony Open in Hawaii, so the future is bright.
Nakajima didn’t make the cut at the Masters or U.S. Open, so that might need to change to win Top Amateur at the Open Championship. He’s the best amateur in the field and he demands attention.
Tiger Woods is his golfing hero and Nakajima credits him for getting him into the game.
“My family all play golf and I started playing when I was around 6 years old. Whenever I would watch the PGA TOUR on TV, I’d always see Tiger Woods playing and since then, probably around the time I was in junior high school, I have always wanted to become a professional golfer,” Nakajima told PGA Tour.
“The first player I ever remember seeing on TV was Tiger Woods. I don’t really remember any particular shots, I just remember his huge fist pumps every time he wins, which I always thought was really cool.”
The sportsbook has Nakajima at +250 to beat the field of six and that’s good shopping.
Pick: Keita Nakajima +250
British Hopes with Bairstow
Sam Bairstow has had the benefit of playing in the Open Championship, which can’t be overlooked.
Despite being beaten by Aldrich Potgieter in the Amateur Championship last month, we think Bairstow can turn the tables on the fellow amateur.
His effort at the 2021 Open Championship resulted in a missed cut, but he didn’t play too poorly on the second day. He shot 72 after an opening-round 77, so with that experience under his belt, he should improve.
“Once you have played in the Open, you never want to miss another and particularly the 150th,’ Bairstow said. “I felt a bit in awe at Royal St George’s last year, but I hope it will feel a bit more natural this time, although it might be hard with Tiger Woods in the field!”
Golf odds have Bairstow on the second line of betting at +300 and he should push Nakajima close.
Pick: Sam Bairstow +300
Potgieter Looking for Double
Potgieter looked good when beating Bairstow in the Amateur Championship with two holes to play.
It’s hard to believe the South African was ranked 6,000th in the world in 2019, so it has been a mammoth rise up the rankings in a short time frame.
He is a four-time amateur winner already this year, including three in South Africa and one in Australia.
He’s only 17 years old, making him the second-youngest British Amateur champion, and he could make an impact at St. Andrews.
Given his recent success, he must be included for Top Amateur.
Pick: Alrich Potgieter +350