The second round of the US Open takes place in California on Friday night and into the early hours of the morning for those of us who are in the UK and we should be in for another excellent few hours of golf with the field looking to position themselves for a charge over the weekend.
Those who began well on Thursday have the chance to consolidate and push on while those over par for their first round are going to need something a little special in order to be here for the weekend on a course which was surprisingly set up.
Round 1 Recap
It was a much lower scoring opening round than anyone expected and at the end of it, it is the 2013 winner Justin Rose who holds a one shot lead on six under par from a quartet of players including the former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Rickie Fowler as well as the new stars Xander Schauffele and Aaron Wise. There are a duo on four under while the likes of Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari are all another shot back and nicely placed on three under. It was a day to forget for the much fancied Patrick Cantlay who carded a two over 73 while Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson have work to do after +1 72s.
It was an up and down betting day for us on Thursday with the first two three ball punts landing safely. Sadly Tiger Woods didn’t have his best game with him and Byeong-Hun An lost to a monster birdie from Matthew Fitzpatrick on the final hole so only a small profit was shown from the match bets when we probably deserved a little more.
We have a second round leader market to get stuck into and while Justin Rose could be a tough nut to get past, I do think those out in the morning wave on Friday will have the edge on the field and with that in mind I will take a chance that Henrik Stenson enhances his position from three under to beat off some players above him who will be out in the afternoon when the greens get tricky and the wind slightly stronger.
Stenson was excellent from tee to green on Thursday in the trickier afternoon wave. Nobody in the field hit more greens than him and he was decent enough into the fairways and a repeat of that should see him go very nicely in round two. He loves links golf so if the course is a bit faster it wouldn’t hurt him much. He has three shots to catch up on Rose but at 28/1, with the confidence of playing the last five on Thursday four under I fancy he could be the closest challenger to Rose at stumps.
Friday 3 Balls
The field are out in the same groups they were in on Thursday so we’ve a little bit of form to go by now which should in theory make it a little easier on the three ball betting front. Those who were out in the morning on Thursday go out in the afternoon on Friday and vice versa so we will have Tiger Woods on the golf course early on here. He is out with Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth at 16.24 BST. The TV coverage is likely to centre around the Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Marc Leishman group which tees off at 21.36 BST. There are two bets that I like on Friday.
Chez Reavie/David Toms/Michael Thorbjornsen
Match tees off at 15.18 BST
I took a bet in this group on Thursday when Chez Reavie saw off playing partners David Toms and Michael Thorbjornsen by three and four shots respectively and I expect to see something similar on Friday as well.
To be fair to Thorbjornsen, he did very well to card a level par 71 given that he only hit 10 of the 18 greens in regulation but as you would expect, Reavie’s tee to green prowess came to the fore in this group and his three under round in the tougher conditions was very good indeed. He is a former runner up here in the AT&T so he knows how to play this track and I think he has the beating of his two lesser lighted playing partners once again here.
Louis Oosthuizen/Patrick Reed/Jhonattan Vegas
Match tees off at 22.20 BST
Moving into the later wave of groups and I like a bet in one of the last three balls off when major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed are out alongside the South American star Jhonattan Vegas in an appealing grouping.
I nearly took Oosthuizen on Thursday and immediately regretted not doing so when he won by five and six shots in this three ball but I’m not missing out again. It didn’t surprise me that the South African won on Thursday. Reed and Vegas just aren’t tight enough off the tee and while they can both scramble I think we saw enough on Thursday to suggest that you need to be on the fairways and a fair way down too. That is the strength of Oosthuizen’s game but he doesn’t give up much in the other departments so I’ll take the South African this time around.
Back H.Stenson Second Round Leader (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Sky Bet (1/4 1-4)
WON – Back C.Reavie to beat D.Toms & M.Thorbjornsen for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with BetVictor
WON – Back L.Oosthuizen to beat P.Reed & J.Vegas for a 4/10 stake at 2.30 with 888sport