Golf betting (US Open, June 15-18): Erin Hills to provide gruelling test

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Updated: June 15, 2017

The golfing spotlight shifts to the unlikely locale of Wisconsin and the dramatic glacial landscape of Erin Hills for the 117th US Open where defending champion Dustin Johnson will start a $8.50 favourite.

US Open, Erin, WI; June 15-18 (starting 9.45pm AET): The 117th edition of the U.S. Open kicks-off tonight and, for the first time, it will be played in the Badger State, Wisconsin. It’s actually the state’s fifth major championship with four editions of the PGA Championship (1933 at Blue Mound and the 2004, 2010 and 2015 events at Whistling Straits). Erin Hills will be the sixth public-access course to the host the championship, joining Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, Bethpage, Torrey Pines and Chambers Bay.

The story of this course is fascinating – on purchasing the land, local businessman Bob Lang declared it his single wish to host a U.S. Open. A decade later, he achieved that lofty goal when the USGA confirmed this would be the venue for its marquee event. At that point, the course had been open for just four years. But it was a bittersweet moment as he no longer owned the course. His compulsive borrowing and spending to build the course had driven him to the brink of insolvency. Only the 11th-hour intercession by wealthy money manager Andy Ziegler prevented the tournament being moved elsewhere.

 

About the course – Erin Hills GC; par 72 (7741 yards): No one is sure what type of player will be favoured with its almost 7700 yards of tumbling fairways and deep bunkers as hardly any of them had played it until this week. Opened in 2006, Erin Hills is built over the Kettle Moraine area left by glaciers, surrounded by wetlands and a river, with ground that consists of glacial till of varied composition. Barely 10 per cent of the property was re-shaped during construction. Fourteen of the course’s 18 holes have at least one angle that blocks a view of the flagstick.

The rough looked brutal with the fescue at waist-height in some spots so after protests from players, the USGA mowed some of it down to a more manageable level. The fairways are some of the widest in the history of the event so even if the wind howls (and it’s expected too), most should avoid the worst of the trouble. But the tight and swooping bunkers means awkward lies while the fairway traps will often require a punch-out. And the number of trees on the course? Five. Not five hundred, five, which certainly creates the illusion of a links-esque track.

 

TIW says: If this event wasn’t hard enough to handicap, forecasts for the weekend indicate a 60 per cent chance of rain tomorrow and an 80 per cent chance of rain on Saturday. There’s usually some continuity between US Open courses but the width of the fairways here means that driving distance is likely to be more telling than accuracy off the tee. The bigger hitters could be able to go for the par fives in two and drive a couple of the par fours depending on conditions.

The greens are in superb condition so even the weaker putters will make plenty but getting up-and-down when greens are missed will be telling. With numerous elevated putting surfaces and closely-mown run off areas on every hole, it’s going to be difficult to stop the ball on the putting surface –getting up-and-down with regularity is going to be pivotal. Five of the past five winners have ranked inside the top 15 of the world rankings. Every winner since 2000 (with the exception of Lucas Glover) had previously finished inside the top 30 at a US Open.

 

Confirmed betting

Jason Day WIN-E/W (one unit @ $15.00)
Rickie Fowler WIN-E/W (one unit @ $23.00)
Adam Scott WIN-E/W (one unit @ $29.00)
Branden Grace WIN-E/W (one unit @ $41.00)
Brooks Koepka top 6 (one unit @ $7.00)
Jason Dufner top 6 (one unit @ $10.00)
Kevin Chappell top 10 (one unit @ $6.00)
Shane Lowry top 10 (one unit @ $6.00)
Patrick Reed top 10 (one unit @ $6.50)
Graeme McDowell top 10 (one unit @ $9.00)

Note: E/W = top five

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT); prices with thanks to William Hill (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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