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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Henrik Stenson can mash his fellow Swedes

Pavon likely to face the halfway chop

It's time to back Henrik Stenson
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Henrik Stenson is a Major champion who will not fear the difficulty of Shinnecock Hills this week and the 2016 Open hero can be strongly fancied to end the US Open as the top Swedish player.

Shinnecock has been described as the closest thing America has to a true links course, which will have been music to the ears of Stenson, who conquered Royal Troon to become the first Swedish Major champion. The Iceman has three further Open top-three finishes to his name.

Stenson, who was fourth in the 2014 US Open and has finished in the top 30 in seven of his 11 US Open starts, looks a much more likely Shinnecock title contender than Alexander Noren. The top Swede market is a two-runner affair and the favourite should oblige.

Stenson has been churning out greens in regulation for fun on the US Tour over the last three months, finishing fourth at Bay Hill, sixth in Houston, fifth at Augusta and 13th at Muirfield Village, and his long-game class allows him to attack Shinnecock without fear.

Noren, in contrast, has a miserable US Open record, and has been abysmal generally in Stateside Majors. He has missed the cut in four of his five US Opens, finishing 51st in the other, while he has missed the cut on both occasions he has teed up in the Masters. USPGA form figures of 34-66-MC-49-67 are nothing to write home about either.

Noren has gained confidence on the world stage, but he has been in the upper echelons of the rankings for two years without improving his Majors performance.

He was world number ten before missing the cut in the Masters last year, world number eight before missing the cut in the US Open, and world number 14 before missing the cut in the latest Masters. Big-time bottle and long-game solidity still appear to be lacking.

The larger markets such as top American and top European are hugely competitive and wide open. Preference is for Stenson as a top-Swede banker, with punters having the option of adding Alexander Levy for top Frenchman in a double. The Stenson and Levy double is odds-against with every bookmaker, with BetBright best at a shade over 17-10.

Levy, born in California and comfortable in America, has played in five previous Stateside Majors. He won the Hassan Trophy in April. Matthieu Pavon, the only other Frenchman in attendance at Shinnecock, sneaked through the Walton Heath qualifier to earn a place in his first Stateside Major. European Tour form figures of MC-MC-MC-MC-64-MC suggest Pavon's tournament will end on Friday night.

Ambitious outright punters may want to consider a small tickle on the Justin Rose and Jon Rahm dual forecast. Rose and Rahm could duel for the title on Sunday and three firms go 200-1 about the European duo filling the first two places on the leaderboard.

H Stenson top Swede
4pts 8-11 BetBright
A Levy top Frenchman
3pts 4-7 BetBright, Sky Bet
J Rose-J Rahm dual forecast
0.5pt 200-1 Betway, Lads, Sky Bet

More US Open

Steve Palmer's tips

Jeremy Chapman's verdict

Lessons from Shinnecock Hills

Player guide part 1

Player guide part 2

Course guide

World Cup quizzes

Groups A & B

Groups C & D

Groups E & F

Groups G & H

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The larger markets such as top American and top European are hugely competitive and wide open
E.W. Terms
Sky bet