At 5/4 favourite and sharing the lead, the talk heading into today’s third round of the US Open inevitably centres around golf’s biggest name, Tiger Woods.
So far it is Woods’ most impressive display at a major since his high-profile media downfall, and given his imperious display at the Memorial earlier this month, the signs are that he can end a four-year drought for a major – his last coming at this very tournament in 2008.
Woods is tied at one under with fellow Americans Jim Furyk (5/1 second fav) and David Toms (10/1) but there is real value in the man just two shots behind – Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell at 14/1.
The man who reigned in this tournament at Pebble Beach in 2010 registered a one-over-par 141 at the halfway point at the Olympic Club in California, with three bogeys on his last four holes undoing some of the good work earlier in the day when he hit four birdies on a course many of the game’s best players are finding tough going.
One such player is McDowell’s compatriot and fellow US Open winner, Rory McIlroy, who won’t be joining him on day three as he once again underwhelmed, with rounds of 77 and 73 meaning he missed the cut for the fourth time out of his last five.
World number one Luke Donald also struggled, missing the cut after failing to recover from an opening round horror show when he carded 79.
However the third man in their group, Lee Westwood, remains poised at five over, and at 25/1 might tempt those looking for an outside punt as he chases his maiden major.
With the course expected to get even tougher as the green firms up, the conditions should favour a grinder like McDowell, who described the course as a “brutal test of golf”.
Should he produce the sort of relentless golf he showed at Pebble Beach to claim the title two years ago, 14/1 looks a good price to ensure that the winner of the US Open is a Northern Irishman for the third consecutive year.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing