US Open: Round three preview including two-ball betting tips

Golf
Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka carries all the momentum into today's two-ball with Ian Poulter, and Ben Coley says that helps make him a bet.

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3pts Brooks Koepka to beat Ian Poulter at 10/11

The story so far

At the start of the week, it was clear to all that Dustin Johnson was the man to beat in the US Open. A winner at Oakmont in 2016 having missed a golden opportunity to take the title a year earlier, Johnson's game is perfect for modern-day renewals of the season's second major and, after a six-shot romp in Memphis, he arrived bang in-form.

Less clear was whether 7/1 represented value, and his four-shot lead shouldn't alter pre-tournament perceptions. This is not one that got away, should he sail off into the sunset and extend his four-shot halfway lead. It's just the inherent risk in taking on a player of his calibre: that they are at their best and able to dominate.

Johnson deserves extra credit for his astonishing performance so far, because he's been firmly on the wrong side of the draw. On Friday, that meant playing in cold, wet conditions for over an hour and it's to his credit that a player once labelled a soft-centred slugger rolled up his sleeves and emerged unscathed.

Much of this is down to one of the best short-game performances of his entire career, something impossible to forecast and, should it continue, next to impossible to beat. Chances are, however, that Johnson does not chip, putt and save as well over the weekend and therein lies the thinnest ray of hope for the chasing pack, although it's equally likely that his approach play improves.

Johnson is an 8/11 favourite at this point, precisely the sort of price he should be, precisely the sort of price which is neither unreasonable nor tempting. There's just too much danger around a course like Shinnecock to contemplate odds-on with 36 holes to navigate, but there's no way he can be odds-against.

Justin Rose remains the biggest threat despite a disappointing end to his round, albeit far less so than Ian Poulter's nightmare finish which cost us a very good day's punting. Poulter, the best bet on Friday at a generous 6/5, dropped four shots over the final two holes and deserves credit for giving an excellent interview afterwards.

As Poulter has dusted himself down, so will we, buoyed at least by convincing wins in the top Canadian and top Spaniard markets, and with Rickie Fowler hinting that he may yet produce something special this weekend.

Here is today's best bet.

Brooks Koepka to beat Ian Poulter at 10/11

The first thing to mention is that Oddschecker is displaying prices from Sport Pesa and 10Bet the wrong way round. It's probably inconsequential to just about every reader but worth noting nevertheless.

So, we're not taking the 6/5 they appear to quote about Koepka but the 10/11 displayed by BetVictor, with Betway and BoyleSports serving up 4/5 and the general 8/11 still perfectly fair.

Koepka produced a stunning performance on Friday, hitting 16 greens as he transformed his title defence. At one-over, he's now one of the last remaining threats to the leader unless Johnson somehow falls back towards the pack.

With the course set to play softer than expected again today, at least according to some of the players interviewed last night, his power is a huge weapon and while he's entitled to enter the weekend on the front foot, Poulter has to deal with a probably fatal blow to his prospects of winning.

These two are on the same score, but one got there from seven-over, one from three-under. Even for a player of Poulter's mental strength, getting back on the bike at a mentally draining course will be an enormous challenge.

Koepka is entitled to be odds-on to outscore Poulter under any circumstances. Today's give him an extra edge.

Others to consider...

Tyler Duncan outscored Jason Dufner by seven yesterday and this excellent ball-striker could represent some value at 2/1 to do so again.

Duncan's rookie season on the PGA Tour has been built on strong tee-to-green play and it's continued here, with only Tommy Fleetwood hitting more greens.

Dufner's putting - hugely improved this season - has started to look more suspect on these bumpy poa annua surfaces and, despite a hole-out birdie to end the second round, he looks a favourite to swerve.

By contrast, Phil Mickelson is a rock-solid 4/7 favourite to been Andrew Johnston. Mickelson leads the fairways hit charts and knows what he has to do to improve from six-over, a position from which a place is far from out of the question.

It's tempting to oppose the surprise names to have made the weekend - Calum Hill, Mickey DeMorat and Matt Parziale among them - but on balance none of their playing partners can be trusted to deliver.

Posted at 0920 BST on 16/06/18.

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