The 2nd Major Championship of the year is just around the corner as we visit Pinehurst where Justin Rose will attempt to defend his title. Phil Mickelson will be looking to win his first US Open and become just the sixth player to win all four majors. One of those players isthree time US Open winner Tiger Woods who is the only member of the top twenty not to feature due to injury. With Tiger out injured Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott are the front runners in the betting with Phil Mickelson and two time Masters winner Bubba Watson not too far behind.
This year the US Open visitsNorth Carolina where the Pinehurst No.2 course will host the US Open for the third time. Pinehurst No.2 was last used in 2005 where Michael Campbell won the US Open shooting level par through his four rounds. Since 2005 there have been a number of changes to the course including an increase in length of 348 yards making it a 7562 yard long par 70, the longest par 70 in US Open history. Pinehurst No.2 will test all areas of a player’s game but those who hit the ball a long way will have a slight advantage over the field this week. Scrambling will be as important as ever and 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell says a lot of imagination will be needed around the greens suggesting scrambling will be key this week. Jonas Blixt recently said Pinehurst is an iron shot golf course and I have to agree. Those that are accurate and good ball strikers from the fairway will have a good chance this week in my opinion.
Over the last ten years five of the winners havebeen ranked inside the top ten which does suggest that the top players tend to do well here however the likes of Michael Campbell, Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover and Graeme McDowell have all won the US Open whilst being ranked outside the top 30 in recent years. Last year Justin Rose became the first Englishman in over 40 years to win the US Open, he is priced at 25/1 to win for a second consecutive year, this was last achieved in 1989.
Sergio Garcia –Can Sergio win his first major championship this week? I think he has a good chance, Sergio has recorded top five finishes in each of the majors showing the quality he possesses. He has also recorded eight wins on the PGA Tour and eleven on the European Tour. Garcia has played well on the PGA Tour this year and recently finished in 3rd position at the Players Championship.Not many have played a competitive round of golf around Pinehurst No.2 however Garcia played here in 2005 and finished in 3rd position although there has been many changes to the course since.
Length off the tee will be useful this week and Garcia is ranked 56th in driving distance this year. Scrambling is another important trait and Garcia is one of the best in the world, the Spaniard is ranked 5th this year in terms of scrambling.
Sergio Garcia 2.5pts each way –Coral @ 33/1 click http://bit.ly/CoraL520
Keegan Bradley – Ryder Cup hopeful Keegan Bradley is going to need to put in some good performances if he is to get an automatic space in the USA’s Ryder Cup team, this should motivate Keegan. A couple of weeks ago in the Memorial tournament Bradley finished in 37th position due to a poor putting performance, he changed from his belly putter to a non-anchored putter, I am confident Bradley will move back to the belly putter this week. Despite a poor finishing position Bradley struck the ball well and was ranked 6th in terms of greens in regulation hit percentage. In the American’s short career he has already won a major and two other PGA tour events showing how talented he is.
Keegan’s game appears to be well suited to this course, he is long off the tee averaging over 300 yards this year on the PGA Tour. He is also a good scrambler making par or better on 62.42% of occasions when he has missed the green in regulation, this ranking him 13th on the PGA Tour for scrambling.
Keegan Bradley 2pts each way –Betfred @ 66/1 click http://bit.ly/BET10FRED
Graham DeLaet–Admittedly DeLaet is yet to win on the PGA Tour but he has come close on a few occasions. He has finished 2nd on three occasions, two of those coming this year in the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. DeLaet’s recent form has also been impressive, he finished 14th towards the end of last month around Colonial and 7th the week before in the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
The Canadian has the game to perform well around this tricky golf course, length should not be an issue, he has averaged 304.5 yards off the tee with his driver this year which leaves him ranked in 4th position on the PGA Tour for driving distance. Strong iron play and good ball striking is key around Pinehurst, Delaet is ranked 1st on the PGA Tour in terms of greens in regulation hit this year and 1st in terms of ball striking. Graham DeLaet has the game to contend around Pinehurst and will have every chance of winning if he brings his A game.
Graham DeLaet 1.5pts each way – Betfred @ 100/1 click http://bit.ly/BET10FRED
Ryan Palmer –Palmer is a three time winner on the PGA Tour and has been playing well in recent weeks, I am surprised with the odds on offer currently. He finished 22nd in the HP Byron Nelson Championship last month and built on that performance a week later around Colonial where he shot seven under which led to a fifth place finish. Last week in the St. Jude Classic he continued to strike the ball well and was ranked 12th in the field in terms of greens in regulation hit which suggests he is playing pretty well. Palmer is still in with a chance of making the USA Ryder Cup team which must be a goal of his, this will inevitably motivate the American.
Like my other selections the length of this course should not be an issue for Palmer who is ranked 23rd in terms of driving distance this year. I mentioned Blixt said this is a second shot course and Palmer is