US Open tips: Best bets for Pinehurst

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Adrian Mills’ tips for the third major of the golf season include a two-time major champion and an in-form European.

The third Major of the season begins in Moore County, North Carolina on Thursday as the US Open takes place at Pinehurst Number Two course.

Pinehurst has staged this tournament three times – in 1999, 2005 and 2014 – with the most recent of those seeing German Martin Kaymer blow away the field to triumph by eight shots.

Generally, Pinehurst plays extremely difficult and this will present a real challenge to the world’s leading players, with Scottie Scheffler the firm 3/1 favourite to add the US Open to his two Masters wins.

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy is 10/1 to end a decade of Major disappointment, while last month’s US PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele is 12/1 to continue his fine run of form.

Selections

Collin Morikawa to win and each-way

12/1


Sungjae Im to win and each-way

66000/1000


Alex Noren to win and each-way

100/1

Morikawa in line for third Major victory

Collin Morikawa has rediscovered his best form over the last couple of months and there looks to be every chance he can add a third Major to his collection, having won the 2020 US PGA and the 2021 Open.

The 27-year-old American’s impressive run of form started at the Masters, where he was tied-third, and his results since that Augusta performance read ninth, T16, T4, fourth and second.

Precise approach play will be crucial to success this week and this is an area of Morikawa’s game that has been in good supply of late, while a hot putter is also required and this is a club that the US ace is wielding with authority.

South Korean ace to hit the jackpot

World number 30 Sungjae Im has looked like a Major champion in waiting for a few years now and his recent run of form gives the hope that he could make his breakthrough this week.

The South Korean was struggling with his game this season until successfully retaining his Woori Financial Group Championship title on the Korean Tour, and that victory has reignited his PGA Tour campaign with T4, T9 and T8 coming from three of his four starts since.

Sungjae’s iron play has been in fine fettle and he returns to a part of America that he enjoys playing in, having banked five top-10 finishes in nine outings in the Tar Heel State.

In-form Noren can contend in North Carolina

Sweden’s Alex Noren last triumphed at the 2018 Open de France, but his form on the PGA circuit this season has been impressive and he is a value each-way play to land his maiden Major.

The 41-year-old has been playing consistent golf and his last 10 starts have produced efforts of T9, T19, T11, T14, T23, third, T24, T12, MC and T22, highlighting just how well he is swinging.

Noren’s short game has been superb this year and he ranks third in scrambling and eighth in strokes gained: around-the-green, while his precise approach play has him 18th in greens in regulation.

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