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3 to take on the US Open field based on first-round evidence

| 13.06.2014

Former World number one Martin Kaymer’s storming 65 in the first round of the US Open saw the German take a three-stroke lead and 4/1 favouritism at Pinehurst, but recent history suggests he’ll struggle to convert the advantage into a tournament victory.

Only once in the last decade has the Thursday leader gone on to lift the trophy, and while Rory McIlroy’s 2011 victory also came about after he took the same first-round hold as Kaymer, Michael Thompson’s topsy-turvy tournament a year later – having held a three-stroke lead early on – saw the status quo restored.

Since Jim Furyk’s 2003 triumph at Olympia Fields, McIlroy is the only eventual winner to grind out a first-round score lower than 69, a tally that has been posted twice during said period.

71 is the most prevalent score among the last decade’s champions’ initial efforts, having been hit on four occasions, while five of the last ten eventual victors went into day two exactly four shots off the pace.

Defending champion Justin Rose fitted neatly into both of these trends on the first-round leaderboard 12 months ago, having finished Thursday tied for 16th place with a 71, four shots behind pacesetter Phil Mickelson.

With that in mind, going into day two treble-handed looks the way to play in North Carolina, especially considering Kaymer’s favourite-odds take a big chunk out of the market, with -1 Henrik Stenson next at 14/1 and 16/1 bar.

The Swede gets our nod alongside 25/1 shot Keegan Bradley from the four-shots-back brigade, but with two recent winners currently sitting on 71, this first-round trend could be the one that lands come Sunday.

The temptation to back McIlroy at 16/1 will be too great for many a punter, but 2012 champion Webb Simpson rates far better value at 66/1 and should be backed accordingly

3 against the US Open field after day one:

Henrik Stenson @ 14/1

Keegan Bradley @ 25/1

Webb Simpson @ 66/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune