Wednesday, 16 June 2021

US Open 2021 - Torrey Pines, San Diego, California

 The US Open returns to Torrey Pines this week having last hosted the US Open in 2008 when Tiger Woods made that putt at his 72nd hole to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate the following day.

The municipal course in play this week is the South Course and will be expected to play a lot harder than when the PGA Tour visits each year for the Farmers Championship with the course likely to play hard and fast with the rough much tougher than the February date for the Farmers Insurance. Still, with any course, it does pay to have the experience and form to play well, afterall its still the same venue. That should give Tony Finau some confidence given his Torrey Pines credentials, as well as market leader Jon Rahm who so cruelly was denied a W at Jack's Place 2 weeks ago. Its the Spaniard who I was most keen on this week but having mulled over his price (10/1) since Monday have opted out regrettably. I have no doubt he'll win a  Major either this year or next and wouldn't be surprised at all to see it this week.

Rahm's price has a big influence on my selections this week. Firstly, he was my original go-to bet but as mentioned, the price has dictated more so for this one than other Majors.....yes, he is in form but he's not alone and his clear favouritism to win this week has pushed out the prices of other Major Winners who have already won this season too. Whilst "Rahmbo" has not won this season......yet, he has produced 8 T-10s from his 15 starts (stat skewed due to the wd at The Memorial).

Xander Schauffele is of interest here this week, as he has shown, like Finau a real liking for Torrey Pines. Perhaps having grown up in San Diego has something to do with it, but the local boy has some solid form this season (6 T-10s from 14 starts) as well as Major form the past 5 years: 16 starts yielding 8 T-10s of which 5 were T-5s. As for his US Open form ?  4 starts - 4 TOP-10s of which his worst result was T6th at Shinnecock in 2018. Runner up to Patrick Reed at the FIO in February this year, "X" has shown his liking for Torrey having posted further 5th -3rd -6th the 3 previous years. He arrives in form (11-mc-14-3) and is well worth a punt @ 20/1 - (note: at time of posting Xander's odds have come in and I wouldn't back him less than 20/1 with 8 places)

Patrick Reed, winner here in February holds some value @ 30/1 - 8 places given not only that win this year but his TP form in recent years. Reed is a competitor, will relish the stiff challenge ahead and his short game is perfect for the test ahead. 5th at Muirfield Village, 17th at Kiawah and 6th at Quail Hollow shows he's in decent nick and his price from the top of the market tempts me in.

I wasn't overly keen on Justin Thomas this week given his tee to green of late. But having made the decision to leave Jon Rahm out, it means I need to consider JT @ 25/1 - 8 places (note: at time of posting JT has come into 20/1 which I would still consider- I had JT priced up @ 16s) JT's major form the past couple of years is not encouraging though and perhaps teeing it up here this week with little expectation, or to say, maybe not as confident as in previous Majors, JT may just click here and the price very ,much like Rory at Quail Hollow last month, could look a gift come Sunday. JT did win at Sawgrass earlier this year when considered to find his form out of the blue and despite not really "kicking-on" since, JT is class, can use his approach play to good effect and for me, if he drives it better than he has been this week, will contend. It's now 4 years since his only Major win, a more relaxed JT these days may prove beneficial but his failure at Augusta when looming on Saturday before the weather disruption is of concern. JT's Major career to date does not befit his prowess on the game so its a key week for him this week I feel. Price only brings me in.

Gary Woodland, winner of the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach is added as one of my "outsiders" along with Sam Burns @ 80/1 & 100/1 respectively. Woodland has been in sneaky simmering form of late ; 14th at The Charles Schwab, 5th at Wells Fargo, 6th at Texas. Whilst his form is never consistent and his wins (5) have come out of the blue sort of, the 2019 champ can look forward to enjoying the week ahead and bring decent form that could see another challenge unfold. Burns is on the up on tour....the 24 year old won the recent Valspar Championship and almost followed up at the Byron Nelson. He finished 3rd at Riviera and with 2 TOP-20s at Torrey Pines to date, can be a decent interest at triple figures


1.5 pts e/w P. Reed @ 30/1 - 8 places
2 pts e/w J. Thomas @ 20/1 - 8 places
0.75 pts e/w G. Woodland @ 80/1 - 8 places
0.75 pts e/w S. Burns @ 100/1 - 8 places

*not counting for blog P&L - I have backed Xander @ 20/1

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