The tasty looking US Open gets underway at Brookline on Thursday but before the off we have just about enough time to take a look at the many side markets which have been priced up for us to go at for the penultimate major of the year.
As ever when a major comes around we have markets on things like most of the nationalities, top finishing positions, miss and make the cut, hole in ones and so much more. There are four markets I’ll have a play in this week.
Six Canadian players tee it up this week which is no bad effort but the market suggests a four horse race with Roger Sloan and Ben Silverman seen as making up the numbers in comparison to Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes and Nick Taylor.
I think that is justified as well because it is Conners I like here. He played in the US Amateur Championship here nine years ago when he was beaten in the semi-final but I think that gives him a significant advantage on this field. If he was an erratic driver then I probably wouldn’t have bothered but he is one of the best players in the game in terms of accuracy from tee to green. His short game might need some work which is where Hadwin might have an edge on him but he isn’t exactly flushing his irons at the minute and although a short game is welcome around here you wouldn’t want a player to be overly reliant on it. Hughes is a fair contender but nobody in this market is as strong from tee to green as Conners and while the course is firm in the early stages I think that will be most significant. Even at 6/4 I think he’s the bet in this market.
There are just the three Irish players teeing it up this week, Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Seamus Power and what might be a select market certainly isn’t a weak one in any way with two major champions and a player who finished in the top 10 of the previous major.
I’m keen to take McIlroy on this week. While his win last week was welcome he almost chucked the tournament away on the back nine on Sunday but pulled off a couple of inspired shots when he needed them the most to get the job done. I don’t think there is a huge amount between Lowry and Power and given that Power beat Lowry at Southern Hills where the former Open champion looked to have conditions in his favour I’ll take the majorless Irish player to win this market. McIlroy’s best form comes on soft courses and with the short game of Power heavily underrated, I think he can use his tee to green strength to upstage his more experienced countrymen.
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There are a number of Asian players in the field this week but as far as the betting goes the market would appear to be between Hideki Matsuyama and Sungjae Im with Si-Woo Kim and K-H Lee rated as dark horses.
I certainly wouldn’t rush to rule the latter two out but I expect to see plenty of good things from Im this week. This tee to green test could be right up his street and if he was a few points bigger in the outright market then he might well have been part of my squad going into battle over the four days. I still want him onside though and although taking on Hideki Matsuyama in a major isn’t always a shrewd move, his short game hasn’t been brilliant recently and in two of his last five recorded outings has lost shots on the field on approach and in another gained less than a shot. Im had to miss the USPGA Championship due to Covid so he’ll be eager to make his mark here and I like him in this market at 3/1.
Top 20 Finish
The last market I like the look of this week is the Top 20 Finish one. I always think you can play this market in two ways – pick a rank outsider you think might make the cut and finish well but not well enough to break the frame in the outright market, or pick someone who didn’t quite make the outright staking plan to get something back despite leaving him out of the big one.
I often attack in the former direction but this week I’m going with the latter and taking the last man off the outright shortlist in Tommy Fleetwood. Fleetwood has already finished in the top 20 in the first two majors of the season and a man who hits a ball as well from tee to green as what Fleetwood does has to be there or thereabouts this week. As well as top 20 finishes in the two majors recently he would also have landed this bet at The Heritage and the European Open on that seriously tough Green Eagles golf course. That is more than enough sign for me that the best ball striking Fleetwood is starting to come to the fore and that should be perfectly strong enough for a top 20 finish here.
Back C.Conners Top Canadian for a 3/10 stake at 2.50 with Sky Bet
Back S.Power Top Irishman for a 1/10 stake at 6.50 with Boylesports
Back him here:
Back S.Im Top Asian for a 2/10 stake at 4.00 with Sky Bet
Back T.Fleetwood Top 20 Finish for a 2/10 stake at 3.40 with BetVictor
Back him here: