ISCO Championship Picks: Favorites Plus Longshots

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Michael Thorbjornsen of the U.S. prepares for his second shot on the 9th hole during the competition of the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023.
(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelGolf Jul 08, 2024, 11:24 AM
  • The ISCO Championship is an opposite-field event the week of the Genesis Scottish Open.
  • Amateur Luke Clanton is the pre-tournament favorite (+1100).

Don’t go looking for past editions of the ISCO Championship – this week’s renamed alternate-field event is what the Barbasol Championship used to be.

I love the idea of so many competitors in this one waving to those playing the Genesis Scottish Open as they cross paths over the Atlantic, with DP World Tour players who didn’t qualify for that tournament coming over to the U.S. for a fortnight of opposite events in the most literal phrasing.

And this week, the drama isn’t just about a lesser-known player getting a chance to claim a trophy or a lottery ticket cashing in the betting markets.

With a few massively talented youngsters in this week’s field, riding heaters from last week’s John Deere Classic, this one should be able to keep our collective attention long after the festivities have finished on Sunday afternoon in Scotland.

Let’s get to the picks, starting with those emerging stars.

ISCO Championship Picks

I suppose I could simply recommend the top two players on the odds board, each of whom tied for second place last week, and cut the preview short, but I’ll painstakingly take a pass on amateur Luke Clanton (+1100) in favor of new professional Michael Thorbjornsen (+1400), the Stanford product who now owns two top-fives in just 11 career PGA Tour starts. If Davis Thompson, the John Deere champion, looks like a five-tool player who was built in a lab when the scientists set their specifications to “2024 PGA Tour star,” then Thorbjornsen might be Thompson 2.0, just a wildly talented kid who doesn’t seem too fazed by competing at the next level.

If you elect to go with the single-bullet theory and stop at Thorbjornsen, I certainly won’t blame you, but that also won’t stop me from listing more investments at this one, starting with Mac Meissner (+3300), who’s been one of the more under-the-radar up-and-comers to this point in the season. With four top-20s in his last nine starts, including exactly a T-20 result last week, Meissner’s profile shows that he does everything well, ranking inside the top-half in every major category, which should play well at Keene Trace.

His lone victory came at an alternate-field event and it’s not inconceivable that fan fave Joel Dahmen (+4000) could pick off another this week. At the John Deere, he ranked 11th off the tee and ninth with his irons, suggesting that a trip to some less-puzzling greens (for him, at least) should equate to a much-improved result.

This feels like a great spot to target Greyson Sigg (+5000), whom I’ve often identified as Kevin Kisner Lite. Already with five top-20s this year, the University of Georgia product has never posted a score worse than 71 in eight career rounds at this course.

Once again, these are all simply ideas, so I don’t suggest a card that includes every name here, which is why you’ll probably have to choose between Troy Merritt (+5500), Rico Hoey (+4000) and Hayden Buckley (+6600), each of whom has my interest piqued for different reasons.

A year ago at this time, we could’ve put Adrien Dumont de Chassart (+12500) in the same category as the Clantons and Thorbjornsens, as he raced out of the college scene and instantly started crushing it on the Korn Ferry Tour. He’s yet to do that in the big leagues, but certainly owns the necessary talent.

We’ve gotten this far without mentioning any of those DP World players making the overseas trip, but I like the price on David Micheluzzi (+9000), a young Aussie who was runner-up at last week BMW International Open and now has four top-20s in his last eight starts on that circuit.

And lastly, Erik Barnes (+30000) has endured a rough go of things over the last few months, but that’s kept his odds long. He was runner-up in Puerto Rico at another alternate-field event earlier this year, so it’s not inconceivable that lightning could strike twice.

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About the Author

Jason Sobel

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Jason Sobel is a Brand Ambassador for BetMGM. He joins after six years with Action Network. Prior to Action, Jason spent a total of 17 years in two stints at ESPN (1997-2011; 2015-18) and four years at Golf Channel (2011-15). He also currently works as a host for "Hitting the Green" on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and contributes to the channel's on-site coverage during major championships. He's won four Sports Emmy awards, more than a dozen Golf Writers Association of America accolades and has earned an honorable mention in the Best of American Sportswriting series.

Jason Sobel is a Brand Ambassador for BetMGM. He joins after six years with Action Network. Prior to Action, Jason spent a total of 17 years in two stints at ESPN (1997-2011; 2015-18) and four years at Golf Channel (2011-15). He also currently works as a host for "Hitting the Green" on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and contributes to the channel's on-site coverage during major championships. He's won four Sports Emmy awards, more than a dozen Golf Writers Association of America accolades and has earned an honorable mention in the Best of American Sportswriting series.