As expected, the U.S. Open leader after Round 1 is a golfer who was born in Moose Jaw, Canada, and got into the field as an alternate after another player withdrew with a bad back. Adam Hadwin was far from a popular pick this week.
Jeff Davis, golf oddsmaker for Circa Sports, said he got “very few tickets” on Hadwin, who closed at 475-1 odds.
Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said he took only one bet on Hadwin for $10 at 250-1.
Hadwin, a 34-year-old with one career PGA Tour win, shot a 4-under 66 and holds a one-stroke lead at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. But there’s obviously a long way to go, and Hadwin never has finished in the top 20 in a major. Hadwin is now getting 25-1 odds.
Not everything about the first round was a surprise. Pre-tournament favorite Rory McIlroy went off at 10-1 and remains the favorite on the adjusted odds board -- + 450 at the SuperBook and + 485 at Circa. McIlroy is in a five-way tie for second with long shots Joel Dahmen, David Lingmerth, Callum Tarren and MJ Daffue.
Seven players are two shots back, including Dustin Johnson, Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose. Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland and Will Zalatoris are part of a big group at 1-under par.
There are always overreactions after the first round of a tournament and it’s seldom wise to add many outright wagers, especially on players at short odds. I typically sit back after the first day and wait to reassess futures after Friday’s second round. I bet on six players pre-tournament and hope at least three will be in good position going into the weekend. I’m still in the hunt with Rose, Homa, Zalatoris, Sam Burns and Corey Conners, with Burns and Conners each at 1-over par.
I’ll recommend keeping an eye on Xander Schauffele (29-1) and Shane Lowry (70-1), a couple players capable of rallying. Schauffele shot even par and Lowry is 2-over.
A major is never won on Thursday, but it can be lost early. Phil Mickelson is nearly finished following a round that was as embarrassing as the Boston Celtics’ performance in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Circa posted Mickelson at -350 to miss the cut, and the face of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series shot an 8-over 78 to tie for 144th.
Here are two second-round matchup plays at the SuperBook I like:
Tyrell Hatton (-115) over Sergio Garcia
It’s tough to bank on either of these loose cannons, but only Hatton (2 over) remains in contention and should approach Friday with a better attitude. Garcia (4 over) is tied for 102nd and seems more likely to pack his bags and head back to the Saudi league.
Justin Rose (-140) over Louis Oosthuizen
Rose’s odds have improved from around 90-1 to 20-1 and he came into the tournament with a hot hand. Oosthuizen opened with a 7-over 77 and is out of it.