Thursday sees the start of the second golfing major of the year, the US Open – held this year at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course on Long Island, New York.
This will be the fifth time Shinnecock has hosted this prestigious event, but the famed course has undergone some substantial changes since it last did so in 2004. Most notably, the track has been lengthened by almost 450 yards, meaning long hitters now have a distinct advantage.
The weather is forecast to be dry and sunny, meaning the course will play firm and fast – more links than traditional PGA course.
Favourite for this event is Dustin Johnson, who returned to World no. 1 with victory last weekend in Memphis. We won’t put anyone off backing DJ, but his odds are cramped after his win and we’ll look elsewhere.
Rory McIlroy has won an US Open, in 2011, but this happened when the course was wet and offering up target golf. He has also won a British Open under the same conditions. He won’t get the same conditions and we will swerve.
Justin Thomas has a clear chance, but his odds don’t offer great value, while Jordan Speith’s putting still puts us off.
This brings us to Jason Day. The Australian has won this season, plays well in windy, fast conditions, drives the ball a distance, is already a major champion and putts like a dream. What’s not to like! He’s on our ticket.
Our second win bet is something of a punt based on our perception of his state of mind. Rickie Fowler is a talented player, who drives the ball well and is a very secure putter. He has a reputation as a ‘nearly’ man, which has tended to put us off. However, he recently got engaged (on one knee on the beach, you old romantic Rickie!) and we’re a big believer in a happy, uncluttered mind translating into fine play.
At the risk of putting too many eggs into one basket, we’re also going to side with Fowler to be the first round leader. Rickie tees off early on the Thursday morning, getting the course at its most pristine and receptive. Additionally, the greens are made of poa anna grass, which grows quickly meaning the greens can get a little bumpy later in the day.
Our each way selection is Bryson DeChambeau. This young American has made an impressive start to his professional career. He has already won twice on Tour, including at the Memorial tournament in early June. Blessed with an analytical mind, he looks likely to be able to cope with everything Shinnecock Hills throws at him.
Finally, we also think Justin Rose will go well. Winner of this tournament in 2013, Rose hits his long irons better than most and possesses the mental strength to take on the hardest courses. However, we think his price to win the whole event is short, and we’ll instead take him to be the top placed player from Great Britain and Ireland.
Day to win, 1 pt, at 18/1, SkyBet
Fowler to win, 1 pt, at 20/1, bet365
Fowler to lead after first round, 1 pt, at 33/1, Unibet
DeChambeau 0.5 pts each way at 40/1, 1/5 the odds for the first eight places, bet365
Rose to be leading player from Great Britain and Ireland, 1 pt, at 3/1, BetFred
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