The halfway cut has been made at the US Open and now the players who remain in the third major of the season will be looking to make their move over the third round on Saturday and set themselves up for a title tilt on Sunday.
There has been a lot of criticism of the way Los Angeles Country Club has been setup over the first two days but it has provided us with a wonderful leaderboard and there were just a few signs towards the end of Friday that the weekend could play very tough.
Round 2 Recap
Rickie Fowler went into the second round tied for the lead but he came out of it leading by one shot on 10 under. It was Xander Schauffele who he was tied with but it is Wyndham Clark that Fowler leads by one from. Schauffele is a further shot back on eight under alongside Rory McIlroy with Harris English another shot behind them. Dustin Johnson and Min Woo Lee are six under while there is a danger pair on four under of Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler.
Friday was not the day we wanted betting wise with both three ball bets going down and in truth neither of the players we backed played particularly well. Brian Harman did at least lose to an under par round while Stewart Cink came undone down the tricky stretch and didn’t really give himself a chance of coming out on top in his three ball. That certainly leaves us with work to do even if profit was secured with the first round leader punt.
We have a third round leader market to have a look at ahead of the Saturday action but there are so many top names within six of the lead that if the course plays tough like it is expected to there could be a real lottery element to this offering. If it does toughen up then Dustin Johnson and Harris English could be good value at 20/1. Fowler has played some excellent golf this week but he has made eight bogeys in relatively easy conditions so that is a concern should it toughen up. Wyndham Clark shouldn’t be ruled out of the equation but whether he is ready to play in the final group in a major remains to be seen. I guess two world class acts such as Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy could spur each other on but both are plenty short enough at 9/2 and 18/5 respectively. When you consider English, who is renowned for playing tough courses well, is available at more than four times the price of both despite only being a shot behind them there is no doubt that if there is value anywhere it comes via him. At the prices I’ll pay to see how he goes.
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Saturday 2 Balls
The field go out in two balls for the remainder of the tournament and with the eight hour time difference between the UK and the west coast of USA that means some late tee times for us on this side of the pond. The final group are Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark and they will head onto the first tee as late as 23.40 BST with the penultimate pair of Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele out 11 minutes earlier at 23.29 BST so we are in for something of a late night. All of the groups have been priced up and one of the earlier groups jumps out from a betting perspective.
Scottie Scheffler vs Cameron Smith
Match tees off at 22.56 BST
Arguably the pick of the pairings out on the golf course on Saturday is the 22.56 BST starting one as the world number one Scottie Scheffler goes out alongside The Open champion Cameron Smith, who might just be licking his lips at the test in front of him.
We saw on Friday when the sun came out that this course firmed up and it is expected to be out all afternoon on Saturday so we should see this place turned into something resembling the sandbelt type tracks back in Australia which is likely to suit Smith down to the ground. He plays fast and firm courses very well and has the skill set perfectly suited to a sun drenched LACC. Usually you would suggest that Scheffler is the same but it has been obvious that the putter has been an issue in recent weeks and as these greens get quicker the 4-5 foot putts turn into 7-8 feet with the extra roll on them and suddenly the pressure on the short stick intensifies. I’m not convinced Scheffler is driving the ball particularly well either so while taking on the world number one isn’t always a worthwhile move, I do think the 7/4 on Smith is a price which has to be taken here. Smith will be comfortable in these surroundings, has all parts of his game in working order and knows how to win these big events now. I think he’s huge value to get the better of the world number one in this two ball.
Back H.English Third Round Leader (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 21.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-3)
Back him here:
Back C.Smith to beat S.Scheffler for a 3/10 stake at 2.75 with Betfair