World No 1 Dustin Johnson tees off at 6.16pm UK and Ireland time in the first round of the US Open, seeking a long-overdue second major title, with Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau as his playing partners for the opening skirmishes.
The spotlight will fall on Johnson in the second half of the first day at Winged Foot, but the early focus will be on a mouthwatering 1.07pm three-ball comprising 15-time major champion Tiger Woods, 2017 FedEx Cup victor Justin Thomas and last month’s US PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa.
For those new to three-balls betting, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to pick the player who cards the best score among the three-strong group in which they are drawn.
US Open 2020 1st-round three-balls predictions and betting tips
Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.
Already got a bet365 account? Take a look at more of the best betting offers and free bets for new customers.
Hungry Wolff provides value
Matthew Wolff was developing a reputation as a bit of a flat-track bully on the PGA Tour – an attacking slugger who lacked the finesse for more difficult layouts. But his performance in the US PGA Championship changed that and he may further impress in the US Open.
Wolff finished fourth in the US PGA at Harding Park, closing with a 65 to finish only three shots behind a triumphant Morikawa, and PGA Tour form figures of 2-MC-T22-T12-T49-T4-T44-T16 highlight how the Florida-based Californian is becoming more consistent.
The former amateur star looks the value option for the 6.38pm three-ball (UK time). It should be a relaxed match among good pals – Wolff has his former Oklahoma State college teammate Viktor Hovland alongside him, as well as Rickie Fowler, whom he partnered in a high-profile charity match against Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy in May.
There should be plenty of smiles and banter, but expect Wolff to handle the Winged Foot test best. Hovland’s main weakness is his chipping, which will be severely examined around the notorious Winged Foot greens. With Fowler’s career drifting along and him seemingly unable to take the step up to major champion – he missed the cut in the US PGA – Wolff can be fancied to boss this group.
Tip: Matthew Wolff to win 6.38pm three-ball @ 9/5 with bet365
Jaunty Jon to make fast start
Jon Rahm has impressed on difficult courses post-lockdown, winning the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village and the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields. That ability to dig deep during adversity and keep a relatively clean scorecard should stand the Spaniard in great stead for beastly Winged Foot.
Rahm, who got married just before Christmas, appears to handle setbacks in a better frame of mind these days. Nowhere has that been evidenced more than when he was handed a one-shot penalty for picking up his ball without marking it on a green during the BMW. It would have been easy to mentally implode after that terrible blunder, but the 25-year-old shrugged off the disappointment and went on to beat Dustin Johnson in a play-off for the title.
Expect Rahm to be the leading light of his 6.27pm three-ball with his pal Phil Mickelson and English raider Paul Casey. Mickelson, unimpressive amid the smoky atmosphere of the Safeway Open in California last week, seems highly unlikely to get the US Open title he so craves. Casey has never bettered 10th place in a US Open – and that effort was 13 years ago.
Tip: Jon Rahm to win 6.27pm three-ball @ Evens with bet365
Smith to win Aussie battle
Best buddies Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman are doubtless thrilled to be in the same three-ball, but Leishman’s miserable recent form suggests he will fail to turn the relaxed vibe into birdies. The Virginia-based Aussie has post-lockdown form figures of MC-T58-MC-T40-T52-MC-MC-69-28, finishing last in the BMW Championship and outscoring only one player in the Tour Championship.
Smith, much more steady in the FedEx Cup playoffs and able to draw on memories of his fourth-place finish in the 2015 US Open, seems the Australian to respect most in this group. The third member of the party – Bernd Wiesberger – has always had a suspect short game and is difficult to trust around the notorious Winged Foot greens.
Tip: Cameron Smith to win 5.43pm three-ball @ 7/4 with bet365
Looking for some US Open outright winner tips?
Expert tipster Warren Ashurst has picked out five value US Open betting tips at odds of between 28/1 and 80/1.
All odds within this article correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.