Article written

  • on 14.06.2011
  • at 02:25 PM
  • by KT

US Open 2011 – Preview

The US Open gets underway in Maryland on Thursday and is without doubt the toughest of all the majors.

It’s the 111th running of this historic event and will be hosted at Congressional Country Club for just the third time, with Ernie Els taking the honours the last time it was played there in 1997.

The Blue Course at Congressional has been developed over the last 14 years and now measures over 7,500 yards for the Pros, meaning that straight driving is a must if players want to take home a big share of the $7,500,000 purse.

When Els lifted the trophy the 18th played as a Par 3, but the USGA ruled that it was not fitting for the 72nd and final hole of a Major. As part of the facelift the old 18th now plays as the 10th, and what was the 523 yard par 4 17th now brings the round to a close.

It takes patience, mental toughness and most of all – a great short game to make it to the top of the US Open leaderboard.

A strong field is set to line up for the US Open with Tiger Woods the only noticeable absentee.

The Europeans are flying high at the moment, boasting the top 3 players in the world in Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. The trio have been grouped together and any one of three could be world number one come Sunday evening.

They will also be joined by another 32 European counterparts in Maryland, including defending champion Graeme McDowell who won in style at Pebble Beach last year. After his practice round at Congressional he has already commented that anyone who can break par will lift the trophy!

The Ulsterman will be playing his first 2 rounds with 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and US amateur champion Peter Uihlein.

From a betting point of view it’s worth noting that six of the last eight winners of the US Open have done so for the first time, with only Retief Goosen (2004) and Tiger Woods (2008) bucking that trend. With that in mind it seems likely that we may once again be looking at a first time Major winner.

Player Watch:

Lee Westwood boast an amazing long game and this should give him an advantage over many other players this week. He has performed well in recent Majors (top 15 finish in last eight) and if his putting holds up he could be in contention to finally win his first (deserved!) Major.

K.J. Choi will be looking to follow up his victory in The Players Championship and possesses the right type of game for US Open success. He may not quite have the same quality as the McIlroys of this world but he is cool calm and most of all, a grinder! Having already won the AT&T at Congressional in 2007 he sure knows his way round here and may well be the value bet.

Luke Donald has had top 10 finishes in each of his last eight events so comes here in great form. The big question over his game here  is his driving, which can sometimes let him down when accuracy is key.

Steve Stricker is one of the most consistent players on the tour, topping the 2011 PGA Tour in “bogey avoidance.” He recently won at The Memorial (his tenth victory on the US Tour) and he is the best placed American in the World Rankings.

Hunter Mahan missed the cut last year, but in the three years previous he made the top 10. It’s worth noting that he holds the course record on the Blue Course at Congressional after scoring a final round 62 at the AT&T National in 2009. He is in good form, finishing top 10 in seven of his 15 starts this season.

K.J. Choi could finally grind his way to a Major title at 33/1

Latest Betting (from bet365):

Lee Westwood 12/1
Luke Donald 12/1
Phil Mickelson 14/1
Rory McIlroy 18/1
Hunter Mahan 22/1
Matt Kucher 22/1
Steve Stricker 25/1
Dustin Johnson 25/1
Martin Kaymer 25/1
Nick Watney 28/1
KJ Choi 33/1
Jason Day 45/1
Bubba Watson 45/1
Greame McDowell 45/1
Jim Furyk 50/1
—Selected Others—
Adam Scott 50/1
Retief Goosen 60/1
Ian Poulter 60/1
Sergio Garcia 60/1
Paul Casey 60/1
Matteo Manassero 70/1
Justin Rose 70/1
Padraig Harrington 70/1
Ernie Els 75/1
Francesco Molinari 80/1
Eduardo Molinari 150/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez 175/1
Peter Uihlein 500/1

REMEMBER – When placing your bets look for online bookmakers paying 1/4 odds for 6 places (bet365, Skybet, Sporting Bet and Paddy Power).

Selections:

Outright
KJ Choi each-way (33/1 with bet365)
Hunter Mahan each-way (33/1 with bet365)

Top European
Lee Westwood (4/1 with Paddy Power)

Top American
Steve Stricker (12/1 with Sporting Bet)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 16 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 3pm
Friday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 3pm
Saturday 18  – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 7pm
Sunday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6.30pm

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