When the dust settles Sunday night, expect an elite player to be the U.S. Open champion. After the sun set Friday, four of the top seven players in the world ranking -- Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa -- were in the tournament’s top 10 headed into the weekend.
Morikawa is the co-leader at 5-under par. McIlroy and Rahm are each one stroke back, with Scheffler two behind after a second-round rally. All four are major champions, and three are recent major winners.
Rahm, last year’s U.S. Open winner at Torrey Pines in San Diego, is the new favorite (+ 420) on the Circa Sports adjusted odds board. He leads a logjam at the top and is followed by Morikawa (+ 460), McIlroy (+ 465) and Scheffler (+ 730).
Morikawa owns British Open (2021) and PGA (2020) wins in the past two years. Scheffler did not attract a lot of betting action or media hype despite being the Masters champ in April.
“Scheffler is an interesting case,” Circa golf oddsmaker Jeff Davis said. “He got hot in February and March and people were running to the window to take him. I went as high as 16-1 this week and there was zero interest in him. It’s a very ‘what have you done for me lately’ kind of betting sport.”
McIlroy, the pre-tournament favorite at 10-1, has not won a major lately and is looking to end an eight-year drought. He’ll have to fend off more than a few big names on what should be a wild weekend at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Davis said he likes Rahm’s chances the best, but he’s not counting out Sam Burns, who is three shots behind the leaders and seeking his first major title.
“The money never stopped on Burns — sharp and recreational money,” Davis said. “He’s not going to fold in the face of adversity.”
Burns was in the 30-1 range pre-tournament and is 20-1 heading into the third round. The leaderboard also shows a few longer shots — Joel Dahmen is a co-leader, and Hayden Buckley, Beau Hossler and Aaron Wise are in the five-way tie for third. Dahmen’s adjusted odds are 20-1 after he teed off Thursday in the 350-1 range.
Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman did not pick a solo favorite and posted McIlroy, Morikawa and Rahm each at + 450 after the second round.
According to The Athletic golf writer Justin Ray, 25 of the past 26 U.S. Open winners were tied for sixth or better after two rounds: If that trend continues, the winner would come from the group of Morikawa, Dahmen, McIlroy, Rahm, Buckley, Hossler and Wise.
First-round leader Adam Hadwin shot a 2-over 72 on Friday and is three strokes off the lead.
Phil Mickelson missed the + 3 cutline by eight strokes. Other popular players not seeing the weekend are Tony Finau, Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel, Shane Lowry, Cameron Smith and Cameron Young, who made a hole-in-one Friday.
I have live pre-tournament tickets on Burns and Will Zalatoris — plus Max Homa and Justin Rose to a lesser extent — so I’ll only add two plays prior to the third round.
Let’s roll with McIlroy (+ 465) and Keegan Bradley (70-1). This feels like it’s finally Rory’s time, and he has overcome some bad luck to stay one off the lead. Bradley is not a great putter, but he’s quietly playing well and deserves better than his 1-under score at this point.
Sam Burns (+ 100) over Xander Schauffele; Will Zalatoris (-122) over Brooks Koepka.