Lots of things point to Horschel leading US Open after round one

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Finding an underdog winner in the US Open odds is one way to potentially secure some large profits at the second major of the year, but history suggests that attempting to uncover the first-round leader at Merion could result in even greater earnings.

We were successful in finding a first-round leader at the Masters earlier this year when tipping Sergio Garcia at 50/1 and we are hoping to push the boat out further here with Billy Horschel at 66/1.

Leaving out Rory McIlroy in 2011 and perhaps Colin Montgomerie in 2006, first-round leaders at the US Open in recent years have been largely unfancied players.

Michael Thompson added his name last year to a list that includes Olin Browne, Justin Hicks and Shaun Micheel and what’s more, this entire quartet are American.

Therefore, it may pay to side with a US outsider to lead after the opening 18 holes at Merion and to help narrow down the search further, a player that is starting mid-way round the course could be ideal.

Of the last eight players to be leading the US Open after the opening round across the last five years, only Thompson 12 months ago began his round from the first tee.

Because of the layout of the Merion course, players not starting at the first this year will begin at the 11th hole, rather than the 10th as would normally be the case.

Taking everything into consideration, Horschel looks the one to back to lead the US Open after the first round this year at 66/1.

Horschel may be making his major debut as a professional in the US Open, but this should not be counted against him as Thompson was doing the same last year.

Furthermore, his form throughout 2013 has been more than respectable so far, as he has accrued six top-10 finishes, including in his most recent start at the St Jude Classic.

What is arguably most significant though are his performances in rounds before the cut on the PGA Tour this season.

Only 17 players on tour can boast an average score in the opening two rounds of tournaments below 70 and Horschel ranks sixth in this particular list, with the five players above him all involved in fewer total rounds.

Given that in five of the last seven years there has been a sole US Open leader, there is a chance that profits will be even greater as more than one leader will result in a reduced payout.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.