Field chasing McIlroy, Scheffler at 151st Open

Field chasing McIlroy, Scheffler at 151st Open

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy in action from the bunker on the 2nd during a practice round for the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. 

LIVERPOOL--Matt Fitzpatrick of England was candid when asked about his chances ahead of The 151st Open Championship this week. "I think everyone would like to be playing golf like Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler right now, but that's pretty rare for the rest of us," the 2022 U.S. Open champion said Monday.

McIlroy and Scheffler enter the week as the two hottest players on the planet, and they're understandably the pre-tournament favorites. McIlroy -- whose victory at the Scottish Open on Sunday was his sixth consecutive finish of T9 or better -- also won his lone Open title to date at Royal Liverpool, the site of this week's championship. He's the +650 favorite at DraftKings and +700 at BetMGM. Not far behind at +700 and +750, respectively, is Scheffler. His T3 in Scotland was Scheffler's 18th consecutive finish of T12 or better. He also has a pair of victories this season and remains No. 1 in the world -- with McIlroy in hot pursuit after moving up to No. 2 this week. McIlroy has been backed by the most total outright winner bets at BetMGM with 8.5 percent. Scheffler leads the field with 16.2 percent of the money backing him to claim a second major title. McIlroy leads both markets at DraftKings, with Scheffler second. Falling For Fowler Scheffler is BetMGM's second-biggest liability as of Monday, behind only Rickie Fowler. Fowler is coming off a T42 in Scotland, breaking a streak of five consecutive results of T13 or better that was highlighted by a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He also tied for fifth at last month's U.S. Open. That run helped Fowler's odds to win The Open shift from +15000 to +2200 at BetMGM, where he is third in both total bets (6.3 percent) and money (8.1 percent) backing him. Another popular player at the book has been Viktor Hovland, who was in the chase down the stretch at the PGA Championship won by Brooks Koepka. Hovland won the Memorial four starts ago, but has cooled off a bit with a 19th, T29 and T25 in his past three events. The young Norwegian star has seen his odds shorten from +2800 to +2000 while being backed by 6.0 percent of the bets and 7.1 percent of the money -- fourth most at BetMGM. He's third in both markets at DraftKings. Defending Open champion Cam Smith of Australia said he is highly motivated to reclaim the Claret Jug that he had to return on Monday. He is the fourth favorite at BetMGM at +1600 behind McIlroy, Scheffler and Jon Rahm (+1200). He's even with Koepka at +1800 at DraftKings, which reported Smith and Koepka as having drawn the fourth- and fifth-most money at the book thus far. Rahm, meanwhile, ranks fifth in total bets. "Hopefully I can get it back," Smith said of the Claret Jug. "I want that thing back so bad."

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