U.S. Open: Looking Beyond Dustin Johnson for Third-Round Betting Value
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports, Pictured: Dustin Johnson
The U.S. Open isn’t over, but it’s starting to feel like it is.
Dustin Johnson is losing ground to the field with the irons. He got the bad end of the weather draw and played in the more difficult wave. And he leads by four shots.
DJ heads into the weekend as the odds-on favorite at -150. If he does slip up, there are a bunch of high-profile players in range. Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler and Tommy Fleetwood are all five or six back and check in with odds under +2000.
I don’t really see much value with any of them, though. This is Johnson’s tournament to lose. It’s tough to make a charge at the U.S Open. There just aren’t enough birdie chances to play catch-up. When a player gets a big lead in this tournament, they need to make mistakes and allow the field to get back into contention. Johnson doesn’t appear to have many mistakes in him.
Instead, I’ve turned my attention to the matchup plays for the rest of the week.
I’m going to back a couple guys struggling with the flat stick over players riding a hot putter.
First up is Francesco Molinari (-120) over Webb Simpson. Molinari has gained nearly 4.5 strokes from tee to green over the last two days. Meanwhile, Simpson has been off with both the driver and the irons, losing a combined 4.7 shots. We know Simpson can ride a hot putter for a while. We saw it at the Players Championship. But on this course, the greens don’t roll as well as they do at Sawgrass. The poa is bumpy and unpredictable, making the putter even more dicey than normal.
I’m also backing Dean Burmester (-150) over Luis Gagne. Burmester leads the field in strokes gained off the tee and is right near the field average in approach. Gagne, on the other hand, is second in putting and has lost 5.6 strokes in the ball-striking categories. Burmester is a proven winner in South Africa as well. Making the cut isn’t going to be a big deal for him. But for the amateur Gagne, his goal for the week has been accomplished. He has a tee time on Saturday, and there may be a little let up because of that.