Luiten set for fast start
David John is keen on in-form Dutchman Joost Luiten to win his opening threeball on Thursday at the US Open.
- Related Content
Dutchman Joost Luiten is among the early starters for the opening round of the US Open at Pinehurst and his current form suggests he can make a positive start on his debut in the event.
He got himself in position for victory last week going into the last round in Austria but never really got the motor running on the way to a closing 72 which left him one shot out of the play-off.
The general shape of his game is excellent as that was his second top-four finish in three events with a T12 at Wentworth sandwiched in between so there should be no reason why Luiten shouldn't rock up in North Carolina full of confidence with another good chance to press home his Ryder Cup claims.
The firm and fast conditions will be similar to last week while the links-style feel to the venue should also be right up his street while he has handy scrambling stats this season - which could well prove key with the greens likely to be tricky to hit consistently.
Jonas Blixt looks his obvious rival and is favourite to prevail with Sky Bet. The improving Swede has shown himself well capable of performing in major events and may well be in the mix come Sunday but I am ready to take him on at this stage.
The third member of the group is Nick Watney. He certainly seems to have lost his way in 2014 with a string of missed cuts to his name and I would be surprised if he managed to recapture his best on a tough US Open set-up.
I am going to side with another European challenger on day one - Welshman Jamie Donaldson - when he lines up against Francesco Molinari and Hunter Mahan.
One more decent week would just about cement his place in Paul McGinley's side for Gleneagles in September and like Luiten, I think this is a course that should play to his strengths.
His best effort in 2014 came Stateside at the WGC-Cadillac Championship where he chased home Patrick Reed and Donaldson is increasingly becoming another player with a big-tournament mentality following a couple of victories in Europe.
Rival Hunter Mahan is not in particularly sparkling form while these greens may well give Francesco Molinari palpitations judged on recent showings when he gets within six feet of the cup.