Stricker should be wary of Australian duo in USPGA

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Steve Stricker has emerged as the heavy 9/4 favourite in the USPGA Championship odds after the opening round, but it may be worth taking advantage of some better value elsewhere in the market to win the final major of the year.

Stricker shot a seven-under-par 63 over his first 18 holes at the Atlanta Athletic Club, which matched the lowest round ever in a major and handed him a two-stroke lead at the top of the leaderboard.

Pivotal to Stricker’s round was that he only needed 24 putts throughout his round and despite being regarded as perhaps the best putter on the PGA Tour, he is sure to miss more putts in his closing three rounds.

Other reasons to oppose Stricker is that no American has triumphed in any of the last six majors and that opening-round leaders of the USPGA Championship rarely finish in this position at the end of 72 holes.

Not since Hal Sutton in 1983 has the sole leader of the USPGA Championship after the opening round gone on to win the tournament, with Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia among those to have failed to build on a first-round lead since.

However, Stricker does look guaranteed to collect his 11th top-20 finish in succession this season.

Therefore, it may pay to focus on two Australians, who are sitting on the periphery of the lead and certainly have the game to take closer order over the coming days.

Adam Scott arguably entered the USPGA Championship as the most in-form player on the back of his four-shot victory in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

Scott is one of just 22 players under-par after the opening round in Georgia and 20/1 looks a big price on his chances.

The other Australian is Jason Day, who has already finished second this year at both The Masters and US Open.

Day certainly possesses the required short game to deal with the troubles of Atlanta Athletic Club and despite being +1 after the opening round, could be worth supporting at 33/1 in the USPGA Championship betting.

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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.