At the halfway stage of the US Open we have a massively congested leaderboard and a wonderful weekend to look forward to. Heading into the third round on Saturday, known as ‘Moving Day’, there are no fewer than 23 men within four shots of the lead so this tournament couldn’t be set up any better.
Day 2 Recap
The second round was a very interesting one with the lead beginning the day at seven under and finishing at the same score but we have four men on that score heading into the second half of the competition.
Brian Harman, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka all sit on seven under while Rickie Fowler, JB Holmes and Jamie Lovemark are one shot further back. There is a substantial group on five under which includes Players champion Si Woo Kim, Hideki Matsuyama and our outright bet Brandt Snedeker while the four unders have Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Marc Leishman and Bill Haas among them.
It wasn’t fun for the big names though. Fowler is in contention but we’ve lost seven of the top 11 in the world with Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose all failing to threat the cut let alone make it.
From a betting point of view we won one and lost one on Friday with Brendan Steele coming in for us but Lee Westwood struggling. We also collected on a couple of side markets with Shane Lowry and David Lingmerth outperforming their countrymen.
Round 3 2 balls
As ever in a major championship all the groups out on Saturday have been priced up. Players now go out in pairs which makes things a little easier and there are three players I fancy to win their pairings.
Eddie Pepperell vs Jack Maguire
Match tees off at 17.33 BST
This is an interesting pairing midway through the day as Eddie Pepperell and Jack Maguire both go out just six shots off the lead and very much part of this tournament. Both men have struggled this season so there is a chance to secure plenty of playing rights with a strong final 36 holes.
I fancy Pepperell to come through here. Although his stock has dropped somewhat he was at the level where he was getting into majors by right not so long ago and he has always played well on exposed courses. He is just starting to build some confidence with solid efforts in Sicily and the Nordea Masters on exposed tracks and that morale and experience makes him a solid favourite here.
Si Woo Kim vs JB Holmes
Match tees off at 19.56 BST
The fourth last group out onto the golf course contains the Players champion Si Woo Kim and a man who should win a lot more big events than he does in the form of JB Holmes. Holmes begins a shot ahead of Kim.
I don’t think that will mean Holmes will win this pairing though. I like Kim. He has every chance of emulating Martin Kaymer and doing the Sawgrass/US Open double in the same year. Kim is so solid from tee to green and his short game skills are outstanding. He has more than an edge on Holmes in that regard and I’m expecting the Korean to kick on while Holmes can be known to stall when in this position.
Brian Harman vs Paul Casey
Match tees off at 20.29 BST
The final group out onto the golf course sees Brian Harman, maybe a surprise to this position, up against Paul Casey who is reviving memories of a few years ago where he was often touted as a potential major champion.
Casey was particularly tipped to win an Open Championship and with that in mind this test was always likely to be up his street. Brian Harman is more of a surprise despite his win at the Wells Fargo Championship. The two are tied going in but had Casey not messed about in the hay on 14 yesterday he would hold a 2-3 shot lead on this field. I’ve got to think he’ll be more aggressive on this softer track and he can see off the left hander.
WON – Back E.Pepperell to beat J.Maguire for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with Betfred
Back P.Casey to beat B.Harman for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betfred
Back them here:
WON – Back Si Woo Kim to beat JB.Holmes for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with William Hill