GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the US Open.
US Open | 17th-20th June 2021 | Sky Sports
We head to Torrey Pines for the third major of the year, the 121st US Open.
Unlike the Farmers Insurance Open, which is regularly held across its two tracks, only the South Course will be in use as the world's elite tee it up in California.
It should play very long but the rough is expected to be penal, so a mix of brute strength and accuracy will be required. And whilst it's no bomb and gouge type course, it's going to help to be a lot closer to the green when the fairway is missed.
This will be a fascinating event, in which you can make a case for any name at the front of the market, but we'll begin the staking plan a little further back.
It's hard for me to ignore the big-game hunter, Xander Schauffele (20/1 William Hill)
. His US Open form is trending towards a win, undoubtedly he's a major winner in the making. 5-6-3-5 is outstanding and his chances are bolstered by the fact he was the one man to chase Hideki Matsuyama down at the Masters.
I expected him to do better at the USPGA but he has since responded with a T11 at the Memorial, where he topped the Greens in Regulation charts. Furthermore, the American finished second here earlier in the year to Patrick Reed and ranked top for scrambling.
That needs nicely into Patrick Reed (25/1 SkyBet)
, who has a big chance to clinch his second-ever major trophy. He's simmering nicely right now, with a 5th at the Memorial last time out, as well as T17 at the USPGA, T6 at the Wells Fargo, and T8 at Augusta. A lot of his wins have come in big events, including at this very course. A Masters, two WGCs and a FedEx playoff even cannot be disputed.
Some of his best performances have come on these fast POA greens too. He just like Xander can thrive in these huge moments, as dislikable as he is, he has all the skills to bring home the win here. Long and straight, sublime around the greens. You've got to rate his chances.
Boy, would it be some week if it were to happen but maybe it's Tony Finau
‘s (28/1 William Hill)
time. We've been here time and time again and the big-hitting American has let us down but it's so hard to avoid. In truth, he's a measure of consistency, having bagged nine top-10s in his last 13 major appearances, of which four are inside the top-5. He too was a runner-up here this year and has two 6th place and one 4th place finishes, only bolstering his claims.
Coming in slightly under the radar is Marc Leishman (66/1 Betfair)
, who looks an interesting price this week. He's a previous winner at Torrey Pines and has a further four top-10 finishes. He's also got bags of experience in the majors, including a T5 at the Masters earlier in the year. The Aussie bomber is yet another player who fits this course immensely. A combination of power and a touch of class around the greens, I'm willing to chance him to give us at least some profit with Betfair
paying ten places.
The final outright goes in the way of Max Homa (80/1 each-way, Betfair)
. The very man to defeat our Finau at Riviera in a playoff this year. He's got little experience in these big events but this week's major arrives near his home town in Los Angeles.
Homa has form in this area, on POA surfaces, where he regularly delivers – for example, he has finished top-20 across Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and Riveria this year alone. He was 6th on his last appearance, so perhaps it's a surprise to see him this far back in the betting. He's another who could sneak us a place at the very minimum.
I do have one small punt in the specials market, where I am backing Christiaan Bezuidenhout
to be the Top South African (6/1 BetVictor)
. Whenever we arrive at a supremely long and tough course, the three-time European Tour winner springs to mind.
Indeed, the 27-year-old has won at Valderrama, by quite some margin, which makes it all that more impressive. He's up against a major winner in Louis Oosthuizen, which I feel is his only major challenger.
That's not to write off last week's winner Garrick Higgo because he certainly has the skillet to thrive here but it's only his second-ever major appearance, with his last finish being a T64. And that came after a win. I prefer him in this market but as a real long-shot, I wouldn't put you off at his three-figure odds for the outright either.
US Open – Xander Schauffele (20/1 each-way William Hill)
US Open – Patrick Reed (25/1 each-way SkyBet)
US Open – Tony Finau's (28/1 each-way William Hill)
US Open – Max Homa (80/1 each-way Betfair)
US Open – Marc Leishman (66/1 each-way Betfair)
US Open – Christiaan Bezuidenhout to be the Top South African (6/1 BetVictor)