US Open Golf 2023 – Round 1 Tips and Betting Preview

The first round of the US Open is always one of the most intriguing days of the golfing year and it takes place on Thursday when the field get to see the delights of Los Angeles Country Club from a competitive standpoint for the first time.

The saying goes that you can’t win a major on the opening day but you can lose it and everyone teeing it up on California on Thursday will be aiming to avoid doing that. A solid start is the order of the day for those on show.

First Round Leader

As ever when a major is on the horizon the first market we look at is the first round leader one. When we do this we need a reminder of the format which for a US Open gives us morning and afternoon waves off both tees. Then we need to check the weather and there is no discernible difference throughout the day. That makes me favour the morning starters slightly as if there is any assisting moisture in the air and on the ground it will be early in the day.

With that in mind, there are two players that catch my eye in this market this week. They are Tommy Fleetwood and Rickie Fowler. The key to both is they are solid tee to green players who can come alive on and around the greens. There is no doubt Fleetwood is trending in the right direction after narrowly missing out in Canada last week while Fowler has been ticking along nicely all season without having that breakthrough week. If this is a short game and putting test like many think it might be then these two are likely to be very competitive and with first use of the track they feel overpriced at 50/1.

Thursday 3 Balls

The field go out in groups of three on the opening day with the first and the tenth tee in use throughout the morning and the afternoon. As always there are some groups which jump off the page for TV purposes. The marquee groups in the morning are the ones featuring Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Scottie Scheffler who go off the first tee at 16.13 BST, and Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm who tee off on the tenth tee 11 minutes later. In the afternoon wave it is Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay which will have some of the spotlight from the tenth tee at 21.43 BST while USPGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka goes out alongside fellow major champions Hideki Matsuyama and Rory McIlroy from the first tee at 21.54 BST. A look through the groups has yielded two bets.

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Michael Kim/Jordan Smith/Wenyi Ding

Match tees off at 14.56 BST

The first group which takes my fancy is the second one out onto the tenth tee and throws up that situation I love in the opening two rounds of a major as an amateur goes out with a couple of pros. You can’t completely rule out Wenyi Ding with amateurs of a better standard these days but this is a tough course and a big occasion for the Chinese player so I believe this is a match between Michael Kim and Jordan Smith.

To be fair to Smith, he does have a top 10 finish in an American major in the past and he is a tee to green machine but his inability to match his long game on and around the greens is a major concern for me, especially when he is coming up against a Kim who went to university in this part of the world so will know it well and who has offered up top 10 finishes on championship level golf courses at Quail Hollow and Colonial CC in his last four starts. Things didn’t go to plan in Canada for him last week but he closed out with a best of the week 68 so he took some confidence away from there with him. I mentioned it regularly in my outright preview but I just can’t get away from putting being huge this week, especially those clutch putts around six feet and in. Kim is sixth on the PGA Tour this term from that range and that makes him a leading contender in this group to me.

Simon Forsstrom/Carlos Ortiz/Maxwell Moldovan

Match tees off at 20.26 BST

We have another of those two professional with an amateur groups second off the first tee in the afternoon wave on Thursday as well as the recent DP World Tour sensation Simon Forsstrom is paired with LIV golfer Carlos Ortiz and the amateur Maxwell Moldovan.

I just refuse to believe amateurs are going to handle the firm, tough nature of a tricky and long golf course as well as they might have say at Brookline a year ago so I’m happy to leave Moldovan out of the equation here and focus on the two professionals. I like what I’ve seen from Forsstrom to be fair. He won in Belgium and it wasn’t so much the win which impressed me but he held off home hope Thomas Detry in front of a decent crowd so that makes me think the occasion won’t get the better of him here but this is his first major of any kind and the DP World Tour is not played on firm and fast courses at this time of the year which is a concern. That makes me think this group is all about Carlos Ortiz and while he probably underachieved in his time on the PGA Tour he did win on a fast track in Houston. He has three top 20s on the LIV Tour in his last five starts so he isn’t in bad form and at least he will know what to expect from a US Open having played in two of them even if he has no real success to speak of in them. Ortiz should be much shorter for this group than he actually is so I’ll take him here.


Back T.Fleetwood First Round Leader (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)

Back R.Fowler First Round Leader (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)

Back M.Kim to beat J.Smith & W.Ding for a 3/10 stake at 2.40 with Bet365

Back C.Ortiz to beat S.Forsstrom & M.Moldovan for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Boylesports

Back him here:

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