The first round of the US Open takes place on Thursday when we will finally see an end to the talk and predictions of how Erin Hills will play and see it for real. There has been much debate about who the course will suit but the truth is we will only find out when we see the players on the course so Thursday will be an intriguing day.
As ever the best thing about the majors is we have the first round leader market to go at and all the groups on the course have been priced up to give us plenty of betting opportunities for the opening day.
First Round Leader
I’ve bet in this market enough times on this site now for people to know how I work with it. My initial thought is to see whether we can whittle the field down in any way and one way of doing that is to look at the weather.
As it goes there is no bias in the weather on Thursday certainly not in terms of the wind which isn’t expected to get up too much on the day but the players were called off the course on Wednesday ahead of a monster storm that was in the area so we can expect the course to be soft and subtle in the morning ahead of potentially speeding up in the afternoon so I’m looking at players who are out earlier the better.
With that in mind I’m taking two players. They must be long hitters and these two are. Ryan Palmer is in the top 25 for driving distance on the PGA Tour and you don’t come out of Texas without being able to play in a bit of a breeze. He is a decent putter on quick greens and has the chance to put up a decent first round.
The other man I like is Thomas Pieters. I’m already on him outright but he is out early and his length will be a massive factor with this soft course so it makes sense to back him to lead after the first round too. I waxed lyrical about him in the outright preview and his tee time makes him the right play here.
First Round 3 balls
Near enough every group onto the golf course has been priced up for Thursday and there are a few I have taken an interest in to keep us going throughout the opening day of action.
Dustin Johnson/Jordan Spieth/Martin Kaymer
Match tees off at 14.35 BST
The last three winners of this tournament have been grouped together in the opening round of the event. In fairness there is a case to be made that Dustin Johnson should be going for a hat trick of successes after winning last year and blowing a winning position the year before.
I do think he’ll win this three ball though. I’m not going to expand too much other than he’s comfortably the longest and best driver of this trio. If the course was fast and firm Kaymer might have been in play but it won’t be and Johnson should come out with the lowest score of the three on Thursday.
Brendan Steele/Wesley Bryan/Brad Dalke
Match tees off at 19.14 BST
Often in the first rounds of majors we can whittle three balls down to two to give us a greater chance of winning the money and this is very much one of those groups. Brad Dalke was runner up in the US Amateur last year which got him in here but as promising as he is this is a depth too deep for him.
I have this firmly between the other two and on major experience I like Brendan Steele but he’s the better driver of the two in terms of distance too and coming from the west he has plenty of experience on quick greens so he should be the more acquainted of the two with these conditions which can see him through here.
Daniel Berger/Bill Haas/Roberto Castro
Match tees off at 19.36 BST
Last week’s winner Daniel Berger is out with Bill Haas and Roberto Castro and I fancy him to come through this three ball. I love Berger’s game. He is a wonderful driver of the ball but as we saw last week he can putt on tricky greens. Indeed he showed that at Augusta National last year.
Bill Haas may be too short for this course while Roberto Castro is a tricky one to call. You wouldn’t think he will naturally be suited to this place but I like Berger as a fit here and he’s my pick in this group.
Sergio Garcia/Adam Scott/Bubba Watson
Match tees off at 19.36 BST
Three Masters champions including the current one are out in this group and this could well be an exhibition of how to drive the golf ball. These three are three of the better in the game at that discipline and it will be interesting to see how it develops.
I’ve been using length as a big thing this week and on that you would think Bubba is dangerous but he is notoriously poor in this tournament and on courses where he can’t see where he is hitting the ball. That leaves the other two and the extra length of Adam Scott attracts me to him.
This is the first major Garcia has teed it up in as a major champion and there will be a different expectation on him now which he might need 36 holes to come to terms with. Scott won’t. Scotty is hitting form nicely ahead of this week and can lead these three home.
Back R.Palmer First Round Leader (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Skybet (1/4 1-6)
Back T.Pieters First Round Leader (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Betfred (1/4 1-6)
Back D.Berger to beat B.Haas & R.Castro for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with Betfred
Back them here:
Back D.Johnson to beat J.Spieth & M.Kaymer for a 4/10 stake at 2.25 with BetVictor
WON – Back B.Steele to beat W.Bryan & B.Dalke for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Bwin
Back him here:
Back A.Scott to beat S.Garcia & B.Watson for a 3/10 stake at 2.70 with William Hill