US Open betting preview: Who to back at Pinehurst?June, 2014
Our guest golf betting expert from Sports Betting Index gives his top picks for The US Open
This week it’s time for the US Open from Pinehurst and with it being one of my favourite events of the year it really does look like a fascinating event.
It is a bit odd but my two biggest winning weeks ever have been US Open weeks despite the fact that on both occasions (Rocco Mediate and Michael Thompson) I didn’t manage to back the winner – the profit came from trading, the place markets and other special markets such as round one leader.
Whilst Pinehurst has been used for the US Open twice in recent history there is a distinct difference as the course has been revamped by Coore and Crenshaw taking it back to what Donald Ross originally designed.
You will not see the traditional punishing rough and narrow fairways but wide fairways with waste areas peppered with wiregrass which could make things very interesting.
The courses main defence will be the upturned saucer greens which will be difficult to hold so there is every chance bigger hitters who are solid scramblers and putters will prevail.
Rather than stick to one method of picking players I have gone for a range of thoughts and the prices quoted are those that were available when they were put up.
Brendan Todd was my first pick a few days ago based on his current form and excellent scrambling skills.
Todd has always been a highly talented player yet took a long time to make the breakthrough finally doing so last month in the Byron Nelson.
Often you will find first time winners take some time to adjust to their new found success yet Todd backed up his win with a 5th in the Colonial and 8th in the top class Memorial.
At the price tag he simply had to go in the portfolio 0.4 ew 200/1 6 places
The fairways could be a bit more generous than we’re used to in the US Open, so we’re going to be able to hit driver and be more aggressive off the tee. Next in was Matt Every when I noticed him making a move at the weekend finally finishing in a tie for 3rd at the Fedex St Jude.
That was a welcome return to form for a player who won his first PGA title at Bay Hill earlier in the year who will be looking forward to his first US Open as a professional.
That last statement may give a clue as to why he caught my eye – in 2005 he did play here as an amateur finishing 28th and capturing the honour of low amateur.
He has a great record in both North and South Carolina including winning the Web.com Tour Championship and was 5th on the Donald Ross Sedgefield course last year 0.25 ew 200/1 6 places
The player Every beat to low amateur honours in 2005 was Ryan Moore who has shown quite an affinity with Donald Ross courses over the years.
He won at Sedgefield in 2009, was 2nd at Aronimink in 2010 and in 2012 3rd at East Lake and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. As a three time tour winner with a really solid top six strike rate he is well worth keeping on side this week 0.3 ew 125/1 6 places
Sticking with players who have won this season I had to add in JB Holmes who has fought back miraculously from career threatening injuries to win again.
That win also came in North Carolina and at Quail Hollow – a course where US Open specialists thrive.
Whilst he doesn’t have a Donald Ross pedigree he does have a great record at Riviera another US Open venue which was also revamped by Coore and Crenshaw 0.2 ew 125/1 6 places
Whilst looking at the past two US Opens here I was trying to find similarities between Michael Campbell and Payne Stewart despite the fact that the course has changed – I then read what Ernie Els wrote and another player jumped to the top of my list.
Els said: “The course has had a bit of restoration work since then and from what I’ve heard, the set-up is going to be a little different to 2005. The fairways could be a bit more generous than we’re used to in the US Open, so we’re going to be able to hit driver and be more aggressive off the tee.
“You have to use your imagination and play a real variety of shots, which is more of a British Open type quality rather than a typical US Open”
The link I found between Campbell and Stewart was their liking for St Andrews and their Open performances there – so step forward Louis Oosthuizen who dominated there in 2010.
He has been struggling with injuries but was bang in contention at Las Colinas until a final round collapse but he does have a solid Major record – runner up at Augusta and top ten in the US Open @ Congressional.
The injury worry is factored into his price but I think he is being underestimated and I went in at 80/1 and have gone in again at 100/1 making a total of 0.8 ew 90/1 6 places
Sticking with my St Andrews thoughts Stephen Gallacher enters my calculations and the bet was sealed after some players said that the new look Pinehurst was rather like a cross between St Andrews and Royal Melbourne where the Scot also has a great record.
He is in really good form and defended his title well in Dubai earlier from a top quality field but I do have my doubts about him being a Major winner, I have therefore looked at the other markets and settled for the top European one where he was 2nd in the WGC event at Doral 0.25 ew 45/1.
I have rather gone to town with my final pick in the belief that he will be the surpise package of the week and think he is well overpriced.
I have backed Justin Thomas personally in a whole host of markets including a £100 @ 1000/1 on Betfair with a view to trading in running.
Thomas finished his studies early @ Alabama and turned pro having won a whole host of top amateur titles and reached number four in the world at a young age.
Those victories included a win around the Donald Ross Sedgefield course beating Spieth by three which got him into the Wyndham at that course – he was 5th after the opening round and indeed made the cut aged just 16.
He is already well on his way to securing his PGA card via the Web.com tour with a 2nd and a pair of 5ths and I really like his stats as he is a long hitter who scrambles well.
He has also played in a couple of PGA tour events this year the best of which was a 10th at the US Open venue Torrey Pines and he was a solid 37th at the Memorial.
Maybe I am hopeful he can follow in the shoes of fellow Alabama alumni Michael Thompson and it is worth noting in that year at Olympic John Peterson had a similar profile when 4th. He showed how good he was when taking joint medalist honours in the qualifier – the question remains which markets to back him in?
I have backed him in various ones but maybe the most sensible are 0.15 ew 500/1 6 places, 0.15 ew 250/1 FRL (already led twice on Web.com tour this year) and finally 0.2 ew Top American 200/1