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US Open Halfway Picks and Predictions
State of Play at Halfway
The USGA got a hold of the scoring on day two of the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club.
After two players - Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele - became the first golfers in 123 years of US Open history to card 62s, the course fought back.
Fowler ended the day as the only player to hit double digits under par and at 10-under he’s a shot clear of Wyndham Clark and two in front of Schauffele and Rory McIlroy.
Harris English is three shots back in fifth but there are others lurking too.
Dustin Johnson, the 2016 US Open winner at Oakmont, overcame the shock of a quadruple bogey at his second hold to card an even-par 70 and finish at 6-under. That’s four back.
And one shot further adrift lies Scottie Scheffler after a strong second nine yesterday took him to 5-under.
It seems scoring will only get harder as the week goes on.
Fowler has scribbled a hard-to-believe 18 birdies - half the holes he’s played! - so far but surely the red circles must dry up as the course continues to bake out on Saturday and Sunday.
In theory, there are plenty of players still on the fringes of contention who could make a weekend move.
But history says otherwise. The clear message is the winner is extremely likely to come from the top five.
The stat that will draw a collective groan from the chasing pack is that 25 of the last 27 US Open winners were within three shots of the lead at halfway.
Another is that 15 of the last 17 were in the top five at the midpoint.
If those stats play out again, the winner will come from the quintet of Fowler, Clark, McIlroy, Schauffele and English.
Sorry DJ and Scottie, this may be too big a hurdle to climb.
Xander Schauffele was wobbling down the stretch in his second round after a hat-trick of bogeys at 13, 14 and 15.
But rather than wilt further over the tough three closing holes, he finished off with a pair of birdies to pull to within two of Fowler.
From here, Schauffele must have a golden chance of landing his first Major.
This one has always looked the most likely given his stellar record in the event which reads fifth, sixth, third, fifth, seventh and 14th from his six previous appearances.
After his strong finish on Friday, the local Californian said: “It was big, just to keep myself in touch. Four back wouldn’t have been out of this world but I was just playing too good a golf in my head to let that round get away from me.”
Looking at the stats, Schauffele ranks 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, 3rd in Approach, 6th Off The Tee and 35th for Putting.
That’s a strong set of numbers so back him to hoist the silverware at +450 with bet365.
If looking further down the betting, English would be the one.
He’s in the top five so has all that weight of US Open history in his favour.
And he has his own strong personal history in this tournament too after finishing solo fourth at Winged Foot in 2020 and solo third at Torrey Pines in 2021.
Perhaps winning seems optimistic given the strength of those around him.
But he must be an each-way bet at bet365 who pay out on the top four at a fifth the odds.
For the best two-ball bet of round three I’m going to play on the angle that short game will become much more important as the course dries out and balls fail to hold greens.
And with that in mind I like Padraig Harrington to show all his veteran smarts, craft and guile and outscore Cameron Young.
Young is the clear favorite but Harrington looks a value bet at +175 to post the lowest 18-hole score in Saturday’s third round.
Harrington ranks 14th for SG: Around The Green so far, no surprise given his short-game skills.
Young is 77th in that category this week and a lowly 140th on the season-long ATG stats.
Speaking on Friday, Harrington said: “I did play very nicely today and yesterday. Probably a couple of slack irons yesterday; they weren’t there today.”
Harrington (69) outscored Young (70) in round two and, with conditions getting harder, the Irishman, who was fourth in the 2021 PGA Championship, can do so again.
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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