Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith

Golf betting tips: US Open round two three-ball preview and best bets

Cameron Smith can demonstrate how comfortable he is at a demanding Pinehurst by winning his day two three-ball as the US Open continues.

Golf betting tips: US Open round two

1.5pts double Cameron Smith and Seamus Power to win their three-balls at 5/1 (bet365)

0.5pt four-fold Smith, Power, Eckroat & Meissner to win their three-balls at 30/1 (Sky Bet, bet365)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Pinehurst delivered the first part of its promise on Thursday as players battled to maintain a form of control at a golf course which wrests it from them in ways so few can now do. Nothing came cheap and not even good shots always meant for birdie chances. Players are still unsure what to do when, and for what it's worth I still have very little idea as to what score will be required to win this thing. Three-under?

Two players demonstrated the controlled chaos quite nicely: Patrick Cantlay and Robert Rock.

Cantlay is an elite player who is great with a wedge around the greens from tight lies, so why wouldn't he be in the mix? Well, maybe because he seldom has been in majors, but more to the point he's been sort of dreadful lately. Last week he missed the cut in a small field at his favourite golf course and before that he was an insignificant 53rd at the US PGA. Make sense of that.

Rock meanwhile is a semi-retired, mid-40s teaching professional who has a former Coventry City midfielder carrying the bag. Like Michael Campbell in 2005, he qualified via Walton Heath, though I'm not sure Campbell turned up to his qualifier, borrowed some golf balls and only used one of them for 36 holes.

Rock, complete with bad back, was two pints in when he got word that his score was enough, that he wouldn't have to go to a play-off before coming back to polish off his third. In round one of the US Open he shot an unfussy level-par, two birdies, two bogeys, on a day where Sahith Theegala, Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland were all beaten by the turn. Make sense of that, too.

It all makes you wonder, doesn't it, what professional golf would look like if the people in charge of it just happened to make different decisions. Without casting judgement upon the state of the game and where it takes place, there seems no doubt that were Pinehurst the rule rather than the exception, dominance of the kind demonstrated by Scottie Scheffler just would not be possible. The bounce wouldn't allow for it.

Scheffler remains in the conversation at the time of writing but it'll be his most impressive win yet should he manage it here, for my money at least. But after another chastening first day of a major championship I won't waste your time trying to decipher the outright market just yet. That can wait and so can any level of confidence or certainty when it comes to assessing the revised three-ball prices for day two.

My favourite selection is CAMERON SMITH, who spoke before the tournament of how much he relished this challenge. You can be sure that come the end of the second round there will be some who are desperate to get away from the place, but not the Australian.

Smith got the better of Sam Burns and Lucas Glover on Thursday and at the prices, backing him to do the same thing on Friday makes about as much sense as anything at this point. He'd be the only selection I considered putting up as a decent single and is the recommendation for those seeking one.

I had been pretty keen on Smith in the run-up to the US Open based on his perceived suitability to the course. There's no regret there yet after an opening 71 but it was nice to see him put Sunday's 80 behind him and generally look on good terms with himself, despite being one of the weakest drivers in the field.

That club can always cause him problems but Smith's iron play and putting were both very good, and his short-game can only improve. If he gets away with the odd miss, which is clearly possible around this course, he can safely advance to the weekend and may yet have a say in the outcome of the tournament.

Burns' approach play was good again but nothing else was in a three-over 73, while Glover was one worse and could've suffered a horrendous day had his short-game been worse than average, which ordinarily it is. Glover, a noted ball-striker who won his US Open on a rain-softened course with thick rough, just isn't cut out for a firm, fiery, almost diametrically opposed renewal of this fine championship.

Sky Bet Euros offer B10G40 -

Brooks Koepka to beat Collin Morikawa and Thomas was tempting after Morikawa out-putted him by almost two shots, the pair inseparable in the end. Koepka will still be annoyed to have let slip what looked set to be a handy start but that's no bad thing where he's concerned and it's reasonable to expect him to climb the leaderboard.

Still, I'd rather avoid three-balls involving three elite players (yes, Thomas still sort of counts) where possible and I can't quite muster the enthusiasm for Rickie Fowler to beat Adam Hadwin and Phil Mickelson, even if the latter's performances of late make that a two-ball in effect.

The other three who appeal to some degree are, in order of preference, SEAMUS POWER, AUSTIN ECKROAT and MAC MEISSNER, and where you bet may determine which among these you elect to side with. Personally, with dead-heats representing a bit of a safety net, I'd be inclined to keep stakes small and perm them in some way rather than back singles knowing two of the four will make for only a very small profit.

Power is another day-one winner who is fancied to double-up. He plays with Dean Burmester and Rikuya Hoshino and the latter was outside the top 140 in driving, iron play and putting on day one, which may reflect the fact that he's been absent from competitive golf for almost three months now, skipping an event back home and several others. You'd think there might be a fitness-related reason for that.

We're left then with Power and Burmester and on another day, Burmester would be cracking value at just a hair shorter. Here, however, his brawny game lacks the subtlety of Power's, whose approach play and short-game are excellent when he's comfortable and firing. After several hints of promise over the past two months, that looks to be the case and he's simply far better suited to the assignment.

Eckroat next and he's with Cam Davis and Adrian Meronk. Davis's form has been abysmal bar qualifying for this a couple of weeks ago and although it was largely his short-game which hurt him on Thursday, his long-game was nowhere near as impressive as Eckroat's.

This year's Cognizant Classic winner had a poor day on the greens but still beat the overall field average and he's better equipped for these conditions than Meronk, whose short-game let him down and has never been a strength. The more precise Eckroat can do the business again.

Finally, Meissner is about as good a player as Takumi Kanaya at the moment and has been playing well. He beat Kanaya by four despite making little and Kanaya continues to struggle to make his mark in majors, while amateur Stewart Hagestad was seven-over for his final 10 holes and will likely be outclassed once more.

All four selections have at least one very weak-looking opponent. Take them to get the better of the more dangerous one.

Posted at 2245 BST on 13/06/24

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