Look to player who shoots 69 or better in US Open first round as winner

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Although it may be stating the obvious slightly, the saying “you can’t win a tournament in the first round, but you can certainly lose it” is true over 90 per cent of the time.

In the 13 renewals of the US Open to have already taken place this century, Webb Simpson’s opening-round 72 12 months ago was the worst start made by an eventual winner, matching the start of Tiger Woods on his last major victory in 2008.

To find a winner to have gotten off to a worse start, Lee Janzen started with a 73 in 1998, while Steve Jones recovered from a 74 to win his only career major at the US Open in 1996.

Those to have opened with a level-par 70 this year like Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler will be largely pleased with their first-round efforts, while Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson are among a group of players that will feel they are in contention after 71s.

However, based on the results of the last seven US Opens, an under-par score is required at Merion to triumph.

This is because a sequence has been formed in this period in that winners have alternated between opening with a low round in the 70s to one in the 60s, starting with Geoff Ogilvy’s 71 in 2006.

If this sequence is to continue, the 2013 US Open winner will have broken par with an opening round below 70 this year.

Numerous players were unable to finish their first rounds in the scheduled time because of the weather, meaning that the complete first-round leaderboard is yet to be finalised.

A couple of players that will be hoping to improve their rounds to get under-par are Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, who are currently +2 and level-par respectively.

As previously mentioned, Woods opened with this score in 2008 and is 10/1 to triumph from a similar position again, with McIlroy 16/1.

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.