US Open – First Round Leader
With the weather forecast now throwing in the potential for some stronger winds on Thursday I have chosen to go with four bigger priced selections in this market, and to hedge my bets with regards to the unpredictable nature of the weather I have gone with two from the AM wave and two from the PM wave.
So in no order other than there tee of times through the day my picks are as follows;
SCOTT STALLINGS – 6.45 AM TEE TIME – 150-1 – 1/2pt E/W – 1/5th odds 1st 8.
Regular readers will know that I was on Stallings in Memphis last week based on the fact that he had come through US Open qualifying the previous Monday and that TPC Southwind was a home game for him.
Unfortunately whilst for three quarters of the week Scott played well, delivering for us as a trader and justifying the logic of the e/w play at 200s, he could not deliver for us on Sunday when it really mattered and slipped down the leaderboard and out of place contention.
Laying my cards completely on the table as Scott is a streak player had he hit the frame on Sunday I was all set to roll the dice again this week and include him in my main team at a huge price.
The logic here wasn’t simply that he was getting on one of his rolls but more importantly because of his past form at Torrey Pines, which I see potentially as a correlating course this week. This is a venue he is a past champion and also a past runner up at.
Based on this I still have an inkling he could play well this week. After all let’s not forget Scott didn’t exactly play badly last week and all his stats from tee to green were really impressive. He should therefore still be arriving at Shinnecock in a positive frame of mind.
It’s also worth noting that whilst now based in Tennessee Scott is originally from Worcester in Massachusetts, which is about 3 ½ hrs from Shinnecock so my hope is that he will feel comfortable in the area and will have plenty of support.
Finally should the wind pick up throughout the day Scott could find that he has a great head start on the field with his 6.45AM tee time and he may well get a chance to post an early number in the best of the days conditions.
JIMMY WALKER – 7.29 AM TEE TIME - 60-1 – 1/2pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1st 8
The second AM starter I like the look of is a player who also features in our main team for the week, Jimmy Walker.
I have made my case for Walker as a whole in my outright preview so I won’t go in to too much detail again here.
With regards to my reasons for picking him for FRL Jimmy has shown over the years and again this season at the API and the Byron Nelson that he can get out of the blocks quickly and once more if the AM wave do get the better of it he will be ideally situated to take advantage.
AARON WISE – 12.52 PM TEE TIME - 110-1 – 1/2pt E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 8
Next for us in the FRL market is young gun Aaron Wise.
I did actually give serious thought to backing Wise outright this week but ultimately decided that, whilst I can certainly see him performing well, this is still probably a bit too soon for him to contend seriously for a major championship.
It wouldn’t surprise me too much if I was proven wrong on this front though as Aaron is obviously the real deal and I am sure will challenge for and quite possibly win Major’s in the future, however I have decided this week that the best way to have him on side is to back him for a fast start.
This season Aaron has opened up in different events with four rounds of 65 or better, the most recent of which of course came on his way to victory at the Coore and Crenshaw design of Trinity Forest.
Understandably after his first PGA Tour win Wise has had a couple of quiet weeks however he had to come through sectional qualifying to make it to Shinnecock Hills and I am sure he will be raring to go this week.
STEVE STRICKER – 1.36 PM TEE TIME - 100-1 – 1/2pt e/w – 1/5 odds 1st 8.
Finally we go from one of the youngest men in the field to the one who I suspect is the oldest [sorry, I haven’t trawled through the whole field to doublecheck this!] in the form of Steve Stricker.
Stricker as we know continues to play really solid golf week in week out on both the Champions Tour and PGA Tour and if conditions do get tough tomorrow their won’t be many, if any, more experienced players out their capable of plotting there way round.
In his last three starts on the PGA Tour Stricker has opened up with rounds of 66, 65 & 67 and he currently actually tops the Round 1 Scoring Averages on the PGA Tour.
He also came through Sectional qualifying to be here this week so clearly he is still motivated.
For Steve to win the US Open at this stage of his career would obviously be highly unlikely however majors over recent years have seen many a veteran come out of the blocks quickly before fading as the week progresses and I can Stricker, who is basically free-wheeling and ‘playing on house money’ doing that this week.