The 121st U.S. Open will take place Thursday-Sunday from Torrey Pines Golf Course in California.
Will Brooks Koepka win another major this week? Can Jon Rahm win his first major?
Our golf handicapper Brady Kannon is here to recap every round and give his best bets for the next day.
My senses have been stripped. My hands can't feel to grip. My toes too numb to step. Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin'. I'm ready to go anywhere. I'm ready for a fade, into my own parade -- Bob Dylan
The final round of the 121st United States Open Championship is upon us. Louis Oosthuizen, Russell Henley, and MacKenzie Hughes are all tied atop the leaderboard at 5-under par. It will no doubt be nerve-wracking for each of them but Ooshthuizen has the most experience in this position by far -- and he is your new betting favorite at 3-1. Henley is the fourth betting choice at 6-1 and Hughes even deeper, as high as 9-1.
Sitting at around 5-1 are former U.S. Open winners Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau, both two shots back at 3-under par for the Championship. DeChambeau looks poised for a possible regression, scoring lower each day through his first three rounds, but only hitting 36% of the fairways off the tee on Saturday and gaining nearly two strokes putting. Plus, history is not on his side to defend a title.
Conversely, Jon Rahm, has shot progressively worse rounds each day. Rahm was the favorite both pre-tournament and headed into subsequent round, is now back to his original number of 10-1 to win heading into Sunday. Rahm played a very solid 1-over par round and despite only hitting 43% of fairways off the tee, he gained strokes off the tee, on approach and in the short game (but lost nearly two strokes putting). If the putter gets hot for Rahm on Sunday, he should be in the mix. Rory seems to make a charge on Sundays when he's not in contention, but hasn't been able to close the deal in the final round when he is.
Scottie Scheffler’s price is appetizing, as I mentioned in Friday night's column at 33-1. He is now 20-1 but I'm not sure I want to bank on a guy at this price on making the US Open his first Tour win as it has not happened since Orville Moody did so in 1969.
Once again, courtesy of our friend and frequent Long Shots guest, Justin Ray: 58 of the last 60 US Open winners were within four shots of the lead heading into the final round. This leaves anyone at 1-under par or better in the fray.
I started out on burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Everybody said they'd stand behind me when the game got rough. But the joke was on me, there was nobody even there to bluff. I'm going back to New York City, I do believe I've had enough.
Yes, it's been a stressful grind for all involved and that is what major championships are - maybe the US Open most of all -- but whether it's Russell Henley heading back to Georgia or Louis Oosthuizen heading back to South Africa or MacKenzie Hughes heading back to Canada, we'll have to wait and see who leaves disheartened.
Personally, I believe it will be Jon Rahm heading back to the winners circle, right here in La Jolla, at Torrey Pines, the site of his first ever PGA Tour victory. And he’ll be able to celebrate with his family, who is here with him for the first time in over a year, his new bride, and their first child, fresh off of a forced withdraw two weeks ago, on Father's Day 2021.
Call it A Simple Twist of Fate.
The only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping on, like a bird that flew. (As the United States Open champ), Tangled up in (Red, White, and) blue.
Round 3 best bets
Oh, my name - it ain't nothin. My age - it means less. -- Bob Dylan
The 48-year-old Englishman Richard Bland shot a 4-under par 67 on Friday at Torrey Pines Golf Course to become the co-leader after 36 holes at the 121st US Open Championship at 5-under par. He just won the British Masters last month for his first ever win on the European Tour. It was Bland's 478th start on the European circuit and he entered that tournament as the 218th-ranked player in the world.
First-round leader Russell Henley shot a 1-under par 70 and is tied with Bland at 5-under heading into the weekend. After Round 1, Henley was 28-1 to win the championship. He is now 11-1.
Louis Oosthuizen and Matthew Wolfe are one shot back at 4-under par, followed by Jon Rahm (-3) and Bubba Watson (-3). Both Rahm and Watson are former Farmers Insurance Open winners at Torrey Pines. Rahm is the favorite to win the US Open in the adjusted odds market at 4-1. Oosthuizen won the British Open at St. Andrews in 2010 and has finished runner-up in all four majors. Matthew Wolfe just finished runner-up at the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot last September; Louis Oosthuizen was third.
Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen, and keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again. And don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin and there's no tellin' who that it's namin'. For the loser now will be later to win. For the times they are a changin'.
From our friend and frequent Long Shots guest, Justin Ray: 23 of the last 25 US Open winners were at or within two shots of the lead after 36-holes, and 24 of the last 25 winners were inside the top six on the leaderboard at the midway point. Xander Schauffele missed an opportunity to qualify for both of these trends when he settled for a par on the 18th hole, missing his 12-foot birdie putt on the easiest hole on the golf course. But as I said here on Thursday, I still think both Rahm and Schauffele have great chances to win this championship and I think odds of 4-1 and 8-1 respectively are fair.
If I had to go deeper on the board, I would look at Scottie Scheffler at 33-1 or Kevin Streelman at 40-1. Both of those players have all the tools to win this type of golf tournament and with 36 holes left to play, they certainly have a shot.
The weather for Saturday and Sunday looks to be similar to Friday: very calm, overcast in the morning, and sunny by 10:00 a.m. The golf course was harder today than it was on Thursday and I believe it will only continue to get dryer, firmer and become an increasingly more challenging puzzle to solve.
Like a needle in a haystack, I'm gonna find you yet. One more weekend, one more weekend with you. One more weekend, one more weekend will do.
Round 2 best bets
How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. -- Bob Dylan
The morning wave of start times got underway at the 121st United States Open at 8:15 a.m. Pacific Time after a 90-minute fog delay on Thursday. The sun-splashed bluffs along the coast of Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California, came alive for the rest of the first round of the championship, but with it came more wind than was expected.
Russell Henley (a 200-1 long shot) was the man who emerged from all of it at the top of the leaderboard, firing a 4-under par 67 to get his week started, despite battling a very benign front nine that turned into a blustery back nine with a steady breeze around 15 miles per hour. Henley is currently tied with former British Open winner, Louis Oosthuizen -- but Oosthuizen still has two holes left to play as the first round was suspended due to darkness. Another former Open champ, Francesco Molinari, is one shot back at 3-under. Lurking immediately behind are many familiar names like Brooks Koepka (-2), Jon Rahm (-2), Xander Schauffele (-2) and 2021 Masters Champion, Hideki Matsuyama. Rahm was the pre-tournament favorite at 10-1 and is now the adjusted favorite, down to 5-1 at DraftKings. Henley is roughly the sixth choice down the board at 28-1.
A change in the weather is known to be extreme but what's the sense of changing horses in midstream?
I played Jon Rahm at 13-1 before his withdraw from The Memorial and I am also on Xander Schauffele at 20-1. I think these two look really good going forward and l like the way they played very clean first rounds. Rahm is second on Tour in Total Driving and he hit 71% of fairways off the tee on Thursday. He didn't do anything crazy in one direction or the other that would have you thinking a regression to the mean is coming; same for Schauffele -- but he actually lost almost half a stroke putting -- so it is very possible that aspect of his game could improve, especially since he ranks fifth on Tour for Putts Inside of 10 feet. I also believe the future is bright for Patrick Cantlay, who is now listed at 16-1 at DraftKings and I have pre-tournament at 26-1. He gained more than two strokes putting but lost about a stroke and a half on approach.
The forecast for Friday appears to be calmer than Thursday with very little wind at all but those greens will have had another 12 hours or so to firm up even more so when they resume play in the morning. The greens won't be getting any softer and the fairways will only get faster. Today was probably the best day we will see to score because the golf course conditions were likely at their most supple of the four days.
If you are looking for an in-tournament long shot, take a look at Charley Hoffman. I bet him early at 150-1 but he closed in the neighborhood of 80-1. He is still listed at 80-1 on the adjusted board and is only five shots back with three holes, including a Par 5, left to play in his opening round. Plus, if you look at his Strokes Gained numbers through his first 15 holes on Thursday, he didn't even play that well.
You know something is happening but you don't know what it is do you, Mr. Jones?