The 66-1 Longshot Worth a Look in U.S. Open Round 2

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Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Xander Schauffele (left), Dustin Johnson (right)

Scoring conditions were brutal in the opening round of the U.S. Open, but the names at the top of the leaderboard are basically who we’d expect.

Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose were among the two most popular picks heading into the week, and they’re the top two in the betting odds after the first 18 holes.

Johnson is the favorite at +250 after shooting one of just four under-par rounds. Rose is just two shots back after a stellar 71 and is +550 to claim his second U.S Open.

Henrik Stenson is next in line at +1200 after matching Rose with a 71.

With three major champions topping the betting odds, it’s tough to think that one of them won’t find a way to get things done by Sunday. But it’s still early, and with so much strength at the top of the board, there is value on the guys lurking right behind.

 

I’ve targeted Xander Schauffele at +6600 on Bovada as an addition to my card. With proven golfers in front, I want someone who is capable of beating the best in the game. Xander has shown that in the past by taking down the Tour Championship last year.

This U.S Open is playing completely differently than last year when he tied for fifth, but Schauffele appears to have the game necessary to take whatever the USGA can dish out. He’s only three shots back after an opening round 72.

Matchups

I’m playing three matchups for Friday’s second round. I’ll be looking for a couple of hot putters to regress and a cold one to heat up.

The first is Tommy Fleetwood at -115 over Alex Noren. Fleetwood gained nearly four strokes on the field from tee-to-green on Thursday but lost nearly 2.5 with the putter.

With the windy conditions at Shinnecock, ball striking is the key, and Fleetwood had that in check for the opening round. Noren gained most of his ground with his short game but lost a shot with his approach. He’s a guy who could slide a bit if the putter cools to field average.

Next is Patrick Rodgers over Shubhankar Sharma at -135. Sharma relied solely on the putter Thursday, gaining 4.4 strokes, but he lost 1.8 shots from tee-to-green. These greens are too tough to expect that kind of putting performance to carry over. Meanwhile, Rodgers gained 3.6 strokes with his ball striking, while only picking up a half a stroke with the putter.

The last matchup is pretty far down the board. I’m going with Tyler Duncan over Eric Axley at -105. Axley gained 4.7 strokes with the putter, but lost ground to the field with both the driver and the irons. Duncan didn’t really play that well, but was right around the field average in ball striking and putting.

This is much more of a fade on Axley than an endorsement of Duncan, but I expect Axley to fall off the map; he could be looking at a score close to 80 if the putter isn’t on fire and we get similar weather conditions.