Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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Vegas Play of the Day: Open Championship first round

Justin Thomas

John Bazemore / AP FILE

Justin Thomas celebrates after a birdie on the 13th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C.

The sixth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now under way, effective July 1.

Bankrolls start at $10,000 for each of the four participants, with the objective to increase it as much as possible over the next year. The minimum daily wager is $300, with a $200 penalty assessed for failing to place a bet on an assigned day.

Past winners are Case Keefer in 2018-19 and 2017-2018, Ray Brewer in 2016-2017 and 2015-2016, and Taylor Bern in 2014-2015.

First-round matchup — Justin Thomas minus-110 vs. Tommy Fleetwood: $1,100 to win $1,000

Fading Fleetwood is one of the strategies I’m most seeking to employ in this week’s major at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The pairings, and therefore the oddsmakers, were kind enough to put the Englishman with a player I’m more interested in backing, which makes for a natural bet.

Unlike Fleetwood, who’s in the top six of tickets printed at both Westgate Las Vegas Superbook and William Hill, Thomas is flying under the radar. There’s no reason for that to be the case.

Thomas is one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour, which should come in handy this week. He’s also on solid form having finished in the top 10 of last week’s Scottish Open — historically a good indicator of Open Championship performance.

Fleetwood has not been as impressive, as it’s been nearly three months since he’s had a top 10 and barely made the cut in a few recent tournaments. He’s arguably a bigger name playing closer to home, and that’s keeping his prices deflated but his performances say that shouldn’t be the case.

I’ll take Thomas to pull ahead by a couple strokes going head-to-head this morning.

Current Standings: Grimala (3-0, $11,325), Keefer (2-2, $9,465), Emerson (0-1, $9,300), Brewer (0-2, $8,920)

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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