The US Open Betting Tips & Predictions
Here we are: the second major of the year, the US Open. Known historically as one of the hardest challenges in golf, it is perhaps fitting that 2016’s host course is the Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania – renowned as one of the toughest on Earth.
Oakmont has hosted a renewal of the US Open in the past, and that was back in 2007 when portly Argentine Angel Cabrera won with a remarkable score of +5. That is the perfect indicator of how this track plays, and just the other day Phil Mickelson described it as ‘the toughest place we’ve ever played golf.’
Of course, the US Open is specifically played at courses that offer unique tests, and as such there has been a number of shock winners of the event; the likes of Webb Simpson in 2012 and Lucas Glover in 2009 are hardly household names, but they are tidy players who can avoid trouble rather than their wayward, big hitting rivals. We should also add, by way of caveat, that Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have also won this tournament.
Think of a hazard and Oakmont comes jam-packed with them. Deep bunkers – including the infamous ‘Church Pews’ on a number of holes – combine with water hazards and some of the deepest rough on tour to produce a dizzying effect of ‘is anywhere safe for my ball on this course?’ The answer is yes, on the fairways of course, but those are super-thin and winding, which makes tee shot placement all-important.
And yet, surprisingly, there is a profile of big driving at Oakmont. Cabrera hammered the ball off the peg to rank second for driving distance in 2007, and so we can’t ignore this stat at all.
It goes without saying that Greens in Regulation is essential here. Both Cabrera and Tiger Woods, runner-up in ’07, ranked in the top three for GIR in that year’s tournament, and given that Oakmont has reportedly changed very little in the intervening period we can assume it will be important again.
On top of that, Scrambling is key given the complexity of the layout, while you simply will not win a major if you don’t bring your putting A-game.
Finally, two more notes on Cabrera. Firstly, he won The Masters in 2009, which suggests that an eye for Augusta will enjoy the Oakmont trip, and that is confirmed by the other high finishers in ’07: Furyk, runner up in the US Open, has two top-5s in The Masters to his name. Tiger is a four-time Green Jacket wearer, fourth-placed David Toms has three top-10s at Augusta and Bubba Watson, fifth in the US Open of 2007, is a two-time Master.
Secondly, he was in poor form heading into the US Open of ‘07: MC-19-19-37-MC to be precise, and that is because of the complexity of the conditions that certain players will flourish regardless of what has gone before.
Sunday Will Surely Be Jason’s Day
Anyone who reads our golf previews regularly will know that we’re not ones for relentlessly backing the favourites, and will instead try and find value deeper in the field.
But we have to be realistic here: the toughest test in golf requires the best player in the world to conquer it, and there is nobody better in the world with club in hand than Jason Day right now.
A three-time winner this season and a former major champion, Day is the world number one for good reason, and whenever he plays in an event these days he seems to go close.
Remember we mentioned about how a penchant for Augusta could come in handy at Oakmont? Well, the Aussie has three top-10s there and two top-5s; one of which came last year. And as if to prove his merit in tough conditions he has also a second and eight to his name in past US Opens.
Day has never produced mind-blowing stats, but ranking first on tour for Strokes Gained: Putting is obviously a big help, as is being the best bunker player in the world statistically. He ranks top five for Par 4 Scoring Average and Par 4 Birdie Leaders – crucial on these Par 70 tracks.
We would never go balls deep into a 13/2 shot for a major, but if any favourite is going to win any ‘big one’ this season, it is Day at Oakmont this weekend.
In total 18 majors have been played at Oakmont dating back a century, and of those 15 have been won by an American; a nice start for Snedeker.
A lack of recent form isn’t a complete downer, as we saw with Cabrera, but a 17th last time out in the Dean & Deluca is handy enough. And don’t forget he has won twice this season and lost out in another play-off; that’s more top three finishes than the vast majority of players this term.
The 35-year-old has eight major top-10s under his belt, and his run at the US Open – 9-MC-8-11-DNP-17-9-8 – is as good as anybody’s. Prior to those numbers he finished 23rd in that US Open of 2007; a nice early sighter.
He ranks in the top 15 on tour for three often overlooked stats but ones which will be key at Oakmont: Par 4 Performance, Bogey Avoidance and Scrambling. Those could well get him into the mix this weekend.
A former Masters winner at Augusta in 2011, Schwartzel should have the game and temperament to do the business at Oakmont this week.
He has four major top-10s under his belt, two of those in US Opens, and is a multiple winner on both the European and PGA Tours, including some silverware this season. An 11th last time out suggests he is confident and ready to go.
A number of key stats stand out in readiness for Oakmont, and three of those are Scoring Average and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and Approach the Green. Happily, Schwartzel ranks in the top 20 on tour for each, which could be definitive.
Neat and tidy is the name of the game at Oakmont – and that sums up this Aussie rather nicely.
Just look at those stats: Total Driving (16th), Total Putting (12th), Three-Putt Avoidance (9th), Bogey Avoidance (5th), Par 4 Performance (10th) and Scrambling (13th). There are few players better suited to this test than Leishman.
In his last two starts he has finished a shade outside of the top ten (11th and 13th), and in the last three seasons he has one top-5 to his name in a major each year. He could – and perhaps should – have won The Open as recently as 2015.
Make sure you bookmark our free golf betting tips page which is updated weekly with our picks for the PGA and European Tours!