Looking to back an outsider at the US Open? Paul Krishnamurty explains how to turn a profit from outsider picks, including one at the maximum odds of 1000.00...
Shock winners of major golf championships are becoming a rare breed. We haven't seen an outsider winner of the US Open since Webb Simpson in 2012. Compare that to the previous decade, when no fewer than five champions started the week well in excess of 99/1 - Retief Goosen's first win, Michael Campbell, Angel Cabrera, Geoff Ogilvy and Lucas Glover. Despite those shocks, this wasn't the least predictable major during that era.
Win only odds are vastly inflated on the exchange
The wealth of quality among those available at 100.00 or better - for example Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson - speaks volumes about the depth of modern golf's elite. The big-guns will inevitably fill most of the top-ten places and dominate the in-play market. At the Masters, this column backed the highest placed outsider, yet Cameron Smith traded no shorter than 80.00 in-running.
However, that should not deter anyone from backing them, because there really are sometremendous win only prices available on the exchange - double or even triple their each-way odds on the High Street. Remember on the exchange, the option to cash out for profit is there if your pick makes progress. As illustrated by the following back-to-lays, that means we can set very limited targets in order to secure a profit.
Shinnecock could be Lowry's perfect course
Back Shane Lowry 2u @ 170.00 Place order to lay 25u @ 10.00
Two years ago at Oakmont, Shane Lowry traded at heavy odds-on when holding a four-shot lead, before wilting under pressure on Sunday. Nonetheless, it was the Irishman's second straight good US Open, having finished ninth at Chambers Bay a year earlier, and confirmed this former WGC-Bridgestone champion can compete for the very biggest prizes.
That Oakmont loss may well have affected Shane, who went on a long poor run, but there have been definite signs of life in recent weeks. He hasn't hit fewer than 68% of greens in regulation since March, registered a decent effort just off the pace in elite company at Wentworth and, critically, played really well in US Open qualifying. Joe Dyer's pick in the each-way column, he should absolutely love a firm, fast linksy test in the wind and note that his career best effort came at Firestone - famous for it's small, lightning fast greens.
In-form Reavie has the scrambling skills
Back Chez Reavie 2u @ 360.00 Place order to lay 10u @ 40.00 Place order to lay 25u @ 10.00
When the US Open was last staged at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, numerous short, straight hitters made the top-ten - most notably the shortest on tour, Fred Funk. The layout is now much longer and, critically, wider, leading many to assume this will be another major dominated by bombers.
While power will certainly offer a greater advantage, enabling shorter clubs going into small, firm greens, it may not be a pre-requisite to contend. By the weekend as conditions firm up, everyone will be missing lots of greens. For my money, those that can repeatedly scramble well for pars will dominate. As Jim Furyk demonstrated so many times in this major, ultra-consistent, accurate types with stellar scrambling skills should thrive.
Reavie ticks all those boxes. Over the past year, he ranks fourth for driving accuracy, 17th for greens in regulation and fourth for scrambling against this line-up. He's been runner-up twice this season - including at Pebble Beach, which Steve Rawlings convincingly argues could be the best guide among past US Open venues - and bounced right back to form with sixth over the weekend.
The 36-year-old also performed respectably in this major last year, finishing 16th at Erin Hills - a course that was evidently much longer than ideal. Conditions should be much tougher this year and that improves Reavie's chance.
Capable Aussie rates excellent trading value
Back Matt Jones 2u @ 1000.00 Place order to lay 10u @ 100.00 Place order to lay 20u @ 25.00
This final pick perfectly illustrates how one can aim to make a profit from trading golf, without getting anywhere near victory. If Matt Jones merely trades down to 100.00 at any stage in-running, we will have quadrupled our money on the trade, while retaining a risk-free position to win a further 1000 units.
Despite that dismissive quote, this trade is perfectly realistic. Jones is another who came through qualifying and it followed on from a solid 13th at links-like Trinity Forest - which may prove another useful indicator for Shinnecock Hills. Like all the top Aussies, Jones has stacks of experience on windy, firm courses and even saw off Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott on one at the 2015 Australian Open.
That same year, Jones held a significant lead during the third round of the USPGA before fading to 21st, Indeed if you ignore a grim couple of seasons (hopefully turned around in recent weeks), he has plenty of form in big US events, most notably winning the Houston Open in 2014. His forte is short game, as evidenced by 36th in strokes gained around the green - an impressive stat given how little he's achieved this term.
Naturally in a major, dozens of alternative outsiders came in for serious consideration. A case could be made for so many priced between 100.00 and 200.00 - the best bets of which for me are Emiliano Grillo at 150.00 and a couple of Steve's picks - Brandt Snedeker and Kyle Stanley.
At 230.00, Zach Johnson is very tempting. Sure his US Open record is dire but this is the closest it ever gets to the British Open, where Zach is a former champion and specialist. Thorbjorn Olesen230.00 is probably too erratic off the tee for Shinnecock but is another with top links pedigree and a superb conversion rate. Finally, the market may be again guilty of age bias in pricing Steve Stricker at 300.00 (it was 500.00 yesterday). There are very few better scramblers in the game, and he finished a solid 16th last year.