* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
A combination of a weather forecast that is predicting the lightest breezes early in the day, and the poa annua putting surfaces, which are renowned for getting tougher as the day goes on, has me focusing on the earlier starters for my two selections.
The first of these to tee off will be the unheralded Cameron Young who heads out at 7.07am local time.
Young is probably not a name too familiar to many average golf fans as he still officially ply’s his trade on the Korn Ferry Tour. It is only a matter of time before this changes though, as the 24-year-old former standout amateur is a certainty to be joining the big league next season following back-to-back victories on the Korn Ferry over recent weeks.
Following these successes Young went on to make it through qualifying for the US Open, so he will be riding a crest of a wave still when he arrives in San Diego.
Young has made a habit of starting quickly of late posting rounds of 64, 64 and 65 on three of his last four starts. While this is a huge step up of course, he has that touch of class that could see him take advantage of the best conditions of the day and make an impact in Round 1 at big each-way odds.
Alongside Young I will play a far more familiar name in this market in the shape of Jason Kokrak who heads out at 8.02am local time. Similarly to Young, Kokrak is also riding high at the moment as on his most recent start on the PGA Tour, he landed his second tour title at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Long off the teem Kokrak has the sort of all-round big hitting game that could well see him produce a bit performance in the tournament as a whole.
Ultimately though, my thoughts were he may well serve us better in this market as he is a master of the fast start this season. That’s something which is shown by his position at the top of the Round One scoring averages on tour.
Moving on and in the Top Scottish player market I am happy to take on Martin Laird to triumph over Robert MacIntyre in what is a two-horse race.
While MacIntyre’s career is no doubt on an upward trajectory, my suspicion is that he may struggle this week on a course where his often wayward driving could well be punished.
Laird conversely has been very reliable accuracy wise from tee-to-green this season and this coupled with his greater experience at Torrey Pines and on poa annua surfaces, makes him a great bet in my eyes as the outsider of two in this market.
With Branden Grace featuring in our main team, I can see a big week upcoming from the South African contingent. That’s particularly as they will be riding the wave from Garrick Higgo’s victory in South Carolina last weekend, in an event that Van Rooyen and Nienaber both figured prominently in.
Van Rooyen has been struggling of late and he did not cover himself in glory at his most recent Major Championship appearance at the PGA, when he was caught on camera smashing up a tee box after a poor drive.
Following on from this Van Rooyen appears to have knuckled down though, and after coming through qualifying for this week, he played really well last weekend to finish 10nth. A strong player in the wind the 31-year-old has performed well in his two US Open starts to date, finishing 23rd last September at Winged Foot and I anticipate another strong showing this week.
As for Nienaber, if length off the tee is key this week, the 21-year-old who actually outranks Bryson Dechambeau in the driving stakes, will be best placed to take advantage. A prodigious talent, Nienaber could in all honesty do anything. However, at the odds on offer, I am happy to take a chance that he can thrive on his big stage debut in the US.
- Shane Lowry: The US Open is the toughest test in golf but I absolutely love it
- US Open 2021: Stage set for a box office battle of Brooks v Bryson
- US Open Golf tips: Paddy trader’s 5 to thrive at Torrey Pines this week
- Golf tips: Our 5 fab punts for this week’s 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines
- US Open prize money for third golf major championship of 2021