Each year I tend have a few standout US Open value fancies from the European Tour contingent but time after time, for whatever reason, they find it hard to challenge for the prestigious title on American soil. Whether it be the poor preparation with many players taking the long flight across the pond too late, whether they're not used to American course set-ups, or just feel plain uncomfortable away from familiar territory, they annually tend to under achieve despite everything pointing towards a strong performance. Backing players to be top performer in their respective country market is the perfect way around this.
Despite Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy triumphing in the last two US Opens, leaderboards through the years are generally dominated by Americans, and I look at these markets as a kind of tournament within a tournament. You could find a nice big pay cheque without your selection ever challenging for the major title and what's more, nerves will not come into play on the final day if this is the case and your pick is going well.
Paying particular attention towards the set-up of US Open courses and The Olympic Club especially, there are a few players I really like the look of this week. By all accounts, the course is going to be a brute. Dog-legged narrow fairways and small, bunker protected greens, with thick rough along both will make for a serious test of golf.
Carl Pettersson in still a runner in the Top Swedish market despite becoming an American citizen earlier this year. Carl has been on my radar for this event since I saw him tame the tremendously tricky Harbour Town Links course a few weeks back en-route to victory there. The Lakes Course shares similar characteristics with Harbour Town and Pettersson seems to perform extremely well on these type of tracks. Carl can be backed at 4.0 for top Swede.
Soren Kjeldsen is a player I thought of as soon as I started researching this year's US Open venue. The diminutive Dane is back to form this season with a host of top 20 finishes including three top fives. At the peak of his powers, Kjedsen's all round game is as consistent as they come, averaging just under 70% of fairways hit, 70% of greens in regulation and 29 putts per round. Soren is one of only three in this market and priced at 3.50 to be top Danish player.
Now to the battle of the Spanish contenders and sandwiched in the middle of the five runners is Miguel angel Jimenez at a tasty looking 7.0. Again, it's horses for courses and not many know how to plot there way around venues like this than the amiable Spaniard. He was right in contention at The Masters earlier this year after two rounds and if he has sorted out his chipping problems, 7.0 could fill the pockets come Sunday night.