Thursday sees the start of the 112th U.S. Open at San Francisco’s Olympic Club, with all eyes on Rory McIlroy as he attempts to emulate what only Curtis Stragnge has done in the past 61 years and retain the title.
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McIlroy has been one of the world’s top three golfers for the last year is paired with world number 3 Lee Westwood and World number 1 Luke Donald. McIlroy has told reporters that he is feeling good about retaining the title after returning to form at the St Judes Classic. Prior to this he had missed three cuts but says “everyone goes through periods where they don’t play as well as they would like to” but went on to add “I’m playing some good golf again and I’m excited to get going on Thursday – I can’t wait.”
The 2010 winner Graham McDowell is looking for his first tournament win since winning in 2010 but will have to lift his game if he is to be in contention on Sunday. G-Mac is optimistic having spent time at the Olympic Club this week. California has been good to him having won there twice before and he feels the omens are good for this week as well “The air is heavy and the ball doesn’t fly so far in the mornings here and you’ve really got to give the wind a lot of respect here” Mc Dowell is paired with American Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia for the first round later on today.
Paul Lawrie is competing in his first U.S. open this year having made it through the qualifications for the first time after failing to qualify on 2 previous attempts. Lawrie emerged from a five-man play-off for four U.S. Open berths alongside Italian Matteo Manassero, England’s Matthew Baldwin and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin. The 38 year old Dubliners only other appearance in a major was in the British open in 2005 and could hardly contain his excitement at the prospect of competing in San Francisco. Lawrie will be a rank outsider but the experience will stand to him for future tournaments.
Padraig Harrington competing in his 15th U.S. Open this year used last week’s St Judes Competition as a warm up and good indicator of how his form will be going into tomorrow’s opening round. Harrington finished tied for 13th and commented on how judging of distances and routines let him down. He commented on his website” I hit 50 wedges into greens during the week and I was only two under par for them – this is a very disappointing week considering that I putted well and that I am leading proximity to the hole with a wedge on tour” he went onto say “Having seen my stats I know that I have to do a bit of work on my wedges and also spend some time on working on my routines.”. Harrington may not be one of the favourites but cannot be written off as a potential winner.
Padraig Harrington each way in the outright market @ 80/1 and also each way in the top European market @ 20/1