Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Well the second major of the year has arrived and it looks like it’s going to be a very tricky one and given the weather they’ve had over the last week but I think these conditions are going to suit some players here. This course measures just under the 7,000 yard mark par 70 with the fairways measuring at around 20-30 yards wide with long tricky rough which you could easily tangle an iron up in and mishit one especially if the rain continues over the week which it is forecast to do. Driving Accuracy, Strokes Gained Putting, GIR and Scrambling are going to be important here this week with Putting being of key importance in my opinion.
Graeme McDowell 22/1
I think the world and his mother knows that Gmac is playing fantastic golf at the moment and is gonna be a popular pick among us all given his stats and current form. I watched him playing in The Volvo World Matchplay at the very tricky Tharacian Cliffs in Bulgaria in which he drove and putted beautifully. Two top 5’s in both the WGC events so far this season and a superb win at The RBC Heritage back in April make up Gmac’s season so far. He is 1st in Driving Accuracy and Scrambling, 13th in Strokes Gained Putting and 7th in Scoring Average. For me Gmac is the man to watch in Merion this week.
Matt Kuchar 20/1
Kuchar is another player having a phenomenal season so far with wins at The Memorial and The WGC Accenture Matchplay not to mention 6 top 10’s coming at The Masters (T8), Sony Open (T5) and The Hyundai (T9) to name a few. His Stats read, 13th in Strokes Gained Putting, 68th in GIR, 20th in Birdie Average and 10th in Scrambling. Kuchar hasn’t missed a cut since the 2012 PGA Championship and is notoriously cool and in control of his game and is playing superb golf at the moment which is why I’m backing him here this week.
Ernie Els 70/1
The big easy usually steps up to the plate at the majors and I expect him to do the same here at Merion. Ernie won the US Open twice before, the first win came at a course not far from Merion at Oakmont in 1994 which has a very similar layout to Merion measuring just under 7,000 yards. His second US Open win came at Congressional back in 1997 shooting a total of 276 on -4. Ernie was 9th at Olympic last year and 3rd at Pebble beach in 2010, This combined with his 2 previous wins make the Big Easy a good value outsider this week considering he won the US Open last time it was played in Pennsylvania. I wouldn’t rule him out here this week.
Angel Cabrera 100/1
I have to say the big hitting Argentinian really impressed me at The Masters and was unlucky to be beaten in a playoff against Adam Scott. Both men played fabulous golf in that playoff and it could’ve gone either way. Cabrera has played 4 PGA Tour events since the Masters and has made the cut in all and even had a top 15 at the Byron Nelson a couple of weeks ago. He also won an event on the PGA Tour Latino America in Argentina recently and can carry that good form into this week. The 2007 winner at Oakmont and makes his 14th US Open appearance and has made 12 cuts. If he gets going here like he did at The Masters he could feature at a very big price.
Charl Schwartzel 33/1
Charl has had a very good season so far on The PGA Tour with 2 top 5’s both coming in The Northern Trust Open back in Feb and most recently at The Byron Nelson a couple of weeks ago. He also had a tied 8th finish in The Memorial. He is 24th in GIR, 32nd in Strokes Gained Putting, 6th in Birdie Average, 3rd in Scoring Average and 10th in the All Around. Charl is paired with fellow South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Tim Clark which should keep him pretty relaxed for the opening 2 rounds and hopefully shoot good scores.
Kevin Streelman 110/1
Regular readers of this blog will know I do like Streelman and who could blame me, he’s had a career changing season so far. Since winning his first tournament back in March in Tampa he’s recorded a further 3 top 6’s in his last 5 starts which included a tied 2nd place finish at The Players in which he got me a place a huge 80/1. His stats are quite impressive too placing 16th in Driving Accuracy, 22nd in GIR, 8th in Scoring Average, 10th in Total driving and 45th in Scrambling. All in all Streelman has the form and the stats to have a great week here at a very big price.
Graeme McDowell 22/1 2pts
Matt Kuchar 20/1 2pts
Ernie Els 70/1 1pt
Angel Cabrera 100/1 1pt
Kevin Streelman 110/1 1pt
Charl Schwartzel 33/1 2 pts
All of the above players are backed each way and All prices taken from Bet365 at 14.45 on Wednesday the 12th of June 2013.
The very best of luck and enjoy the US Open,