US Open 3-ball betting preview and selections from Ben Coley

Golf
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter

After a fine start to the US Open, Ben Coley expects Ian Poulter to again dominate his all-English three-ball on day two.

Recommended bets

3pts Poulter to beat Hatton and Willett at 13/10

1pt Fisher to beat Kisner and Hadwin at 2/1

1pt Kuchar to beat Fitzpatrick and DeChambeau at 7/4

The story of day one

Throughout this week, you'll hear players who are in contention for the US Open talk about how patience is among the key requirements, and the same goes for those resigned to trying to predict outcomes in one of the least predictable sports there is.

I find golf punting to be at its most frustrating when I'm right, but don't get rewarded; those outsiders who miss the top six by a shot or that confident selection who loses a play-off. But there is no doubt that when you are just spectacularly wrong about an event as significant as this one, patience is required. It's a long month until Carnoustie.

Shinnecock is a long golf course, that much is clear, and its fairways have been widened considerably since the 2004 renewal of this tournament. Yet that did not, as I expected, open things up for the longer hitters; rather, it made for a level playing field off the tee, where the second shot, and third, and fourth, were far more important.

Having built my staking plan around bigger hitters, this was far from ideal although there are no excuses for Phil Mickelson. A former Open champion who struggles off the tee yet hit 13 of 14 fairways here, the left-hander had an opportunity to showcase his skills from the second shot and in but failed, spectacularly, to do so.

Rickie Fowler remains around his pre-tournament price despite failing to make a single birdie in a round of 73 and he could yet emerge as a strong candidate. The American made 16 pars yesterday and ranks T4 in greens hit so far, but a series of mid-range putts went begging on greens slower than he'd like. There's hope Fowler can move forward from this point and an under-par 54 holes from here would put him right in the picture.

There was good news with Mackenzie Hughes already seven clear in the battle to be top Canadian, which will likely end today given that the other two are going to find it very hard to make the cut. That should mean Mackenzie tees off with shots in hand this evening and even a round of 80 could do it.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello leads the way in the top Spaniard market, Jon Rahm not unexpectedly failing to rise to this particular challenge and Sergio Garcia the danger at two shots back. There's much work to do for Cabrera Bello but, from an advised 4/1, he's now just a shade of odds-against and understandably so.

Unfortunately, the three-ball nap failed miserably. Again, this was a selection built on the idea that power might prove decisive yet that wasn't the case. All told, two of the four selections won, but not the one which mattered.

Lessons learned, here are today's fancies, presented in time order.

Ross Fisher to beat Kevin Kisner and Adam Hadwin

Despite having just explained why power isn't all that, the longest player in this three-ball looks worth supporting to win it for the second day in succession.

Fisher was pleased with the way he fought back from an opening double on day one and was in command of this group from a long way out, eventually taking it by a single stroke despite bogeys at his final two holes which saw Kisner close the gap with a pair of pars.

Kisner did very well to fight back from a nightmare start of his own but despite having done so, he looks short enough here with most firms giving him the edge. This two-time PGA Tour winner has struggled for a while now and has less experience than Fisher under the prevailing conditions, while his inaccuracy off the tee could again hurt him.

Fisher, who hit 13 of 14 fairways, will enjoy Friday's calmer conditions and should also be good enough to beat Hadwin, who laboured to a nightmare 83. It's a long way back for the Canadian and it's quite possible his focus slips, whereas the other two members of the group will be fully engaged as they look to earn their weekend tickets.

At 2/1 with sportingbet, Fisher is very much overpriced and 7/4 elsewhere is fine. On the strength of day one, his form in high-class company and the likelihood that he's further advantaged by today's calmer winds, he looks a bet.

Ian Poulter to beat Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett

Here's an easy one to explain. Poulter was fancied at 13/10 for this three-ball on day one. He won it by six shots. And he's still 13/10 in a place, with 6/5 offered by Sky Bet and 11/10 generally also a knocking price.

Poulter's form has been strong all spring, by far the pick of this trio, and he shares the lead after a fabulous start. A player who almost won the toughest Open Championship played this century, the firm and fast conditions of Shinnecock are no concern whatsoever and his attitude has been spot-on.

Hatton's attitude is not always his strong point and while he did well to respond to a horror start with back-to-back birdies, he ended the day six shots off the lead having been thoroughly outplayed by Poulter.

As for Willett, his 75 is another step in the right direction, but the road back to the top is a long one. For the life of me I've no idea why Poulter isn't odds-on across the board.

Matt Kuchar to beat Bryson DeChambeau and Matthew Fitzpatrick

Finally, not a confident selection per se but Kuchar should be clear favourite for this three-ball.

His experience of contending for majors, notably last year's Open Championship, puts him ahead of his younger rivals for now and there was much to like about an opening 74, which ought perhaps to have been a couple lower but for a poor run through holes 12 and 13.

Kuchar hit the ball well (28th in fairways, 15th in greens) and there was enough in his performance to suggest he can still play a part here.

Fitzpatrick edged out the American by one and looked to have played nicely, which makes him the danger over a clearly frustrated DeChambeau, but despite being one of the Sheffield man's biggest fans both he and the Golfing Scientist appear to be underpriced.

Kuchar is 7/4 virtually across the board, a price which underestimates his suitability to the course and the value of his experience ahead of what's sure to be another difficult day on the links.

Posted at 0830 BST on 15/06/18.

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