Players starting from first tee may be better US Open bets

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Tee times are often valued as being important for any golf tournament, but for the US Open this year, whether a player begins their round on the first or tenth tee could have an even greater impact on them winning the major.

An early tee time is often considered an advantage in a tournament as players tend to enjoy the better of conditions on a green, while any wind is usually at its most breezy for those with late tee times.

However, given the difficulty of the tenth and 11th holes in particular at the Congressional Golf Club, beginning on these two holes rather than the first tee could be the ultimate obstacle to overcome at the US Open this year.

The worst nightmare for any player is to drop shots on the early holes of a major, but this may be tough to avoid for players beginning at the tenth.

Not only will they be nervous stood on the first tee ahead of playing their first US Open shot of the year, but not hitting their ball perfectly could mean big trouble on the par-three.

The green slopes from back to front towards a lake, while players that fly their balls too long will have to escape some challenging bunkers.

Things get no easier at the 11th with water running down the right-hand side of the fairway and there will not be too many players unhappy with a par when walking from the green.

Therefore, there is every chance that numerous shots will be dropped on these two holes and players beginning here will do well not to be too negatively impacted mentally if things do not go to plan.

A number of the leading fancies and all of the top six players in the US Open odds begin at the tenth tee, including Luke Donald (12/1), Phil Mickelson (12/1) and Nick Watney (33/1).

Defending champion Graeme McDowell (33/1), Matt Kuchar (25/1) and Hunter Mahan (25/1) are among the players to start at the proper first hole and will have the opportunity to settle into their rounds before encountering the tougher holes.

They at least have the best opportunity to ensure a good leaderboard position after the first round of the US Open.

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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.