Former US Open Champion Kaymer Fancied To Make a Fast Start at Pebble Beach.
With our main bets in place for the US Open, it is time to turn our attention to some of the speciality markets available before the action gets underway on Thursday. I’m also delighted to say that I am on site at Pebble Beach this week to watch the drama unfold and to cheer our team on in person.
So let’s start of by taking a look at the First Round Leader market and who I’ll be following around on Thursday, in the hope that we can get our week off to a great start. With light winds not forecast to vary much throughout the day on Thursday, the main factor which potentially will drive a difference in scoring over the day is the poa annua greens, which are renowned for becoming much tougher to putt on as the day progresses, and from this point I am favouring the AM wave for our first round leader picks.
On this basis, the man who jumps out at me from the morning tee times is former US Open Champion Martin Kaymer @ 66/1.
The German is winless since winning at Pinehurst in 2014, a victory, which came only a few weeks after he lifted the trophy at Sawgrass. In both of these victories Kaymer was fast out of the blocks opening with rounds of 65 and 63 respectively and his 2019 form of late gives hope that a return to those kind of former glories may not be too far away.
Third last time out at Memorial coming hot on the heels of eighth at the British Masters, Kaymer will arrive here in great spirits, a venue he was eighth at in the 2010 US Open, and I can see him getting fast out of the blocks from his 15.51 GMT tee time.
The second man I am keen to have onside from the morning wave, is Tommy Fleetwood @ 40/1. I have made my case for a big week for Tommy in my main preview, however currently ranking ninth on the PGA Tour in round one scoring averages, if he is to contend a fast on Thursday is likely, and he has in my eyes a perfect tee time going off at 16.24 GMT.
Moving on to the top nationality markets and I am happy to take my chances on Rafael Cabrera-Bello at 9-2 in the top Spaniard market.
Granted Rafa’s form of late has been steady rather than spectacular, however he is on record as saying how much he loves Pebble Beach and it really should be a course that suits his steady all-round game.
In contrast, his two Major rivals in this four runner market come in to the week with big question marks over them as John Rahm has missed his last two cuts on tour and his last two US Open cuts, while Sergio has not made a cut in a Major Championship for two years.
When on song, Putnam is known as a great iron player, which is exactly what is needed this week and last season he finished the year 12th in greens in regulation. This season after a fast start, which saw him finish second at another short coastal track in Hawaii, Putnam went off the boil, however his last two starts have seen him regain his touch with finishes of third and 17th and he looks primed to have another solid week here.
My second play for the Top 40 market is Norwegian amateur Viktor Hovland @ 7/2. Taking an amateur to finish in the top 40 of a Major championship is in theory a risky play, however Hovland, currently ranked number one in the amateur game is a huge talent who looks like being a sure-fire hit when he makes the inevitable transition to the pro ranks.
Hovland finished 32nd at the Masters in April where he took the low amateur honours and having won the 2018 US Amateur at Pebble Beach, I am confident he can perform well on his return to the California Coast this week.
*Prices correct at time of publishing