Steve Palmer's US Open threeballs predictions, best bets, free golf tips
Matthew Wolff can build on his US PGA Championship promise
Golf tips, best bets and threeball tips for the first round of the US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club.
Where to watch
Live on Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm on Thursday
Matthew Wolff to win threeball (6.38pm)
2pts 2-1 BoyleSports
Cameron Smith to win threeball (5.43pm)
2pts 7-4 general
Si Woo Kim to win threeball (5.43pm)
2pts 6-4 BoyleSports
Jon Rahm to win threeball (6.27pm)
2pts 11-10 Betfair
World number one Dustin Johnson will have Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau for company in round one of the US Open at Winged Foot - the American trio will tee off at 6.16pm UK and Ireland time at the famous New York venue.
That meeting of powerhouses comes after 15-times Major champion Tiger Woods joins Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa for an all-star 1.07pm group. Johnson and Morikawa would be the tentative suggestions for the marquee matches, but there is better value to be had elsewhere on the threeballs card, including rising star Matthew Wolff.
The 21-year-old seemed like he might be a flat-track bully on the PGA Tour - an attacking slugger who made merry at easy tracks but lacked the resolve for tougher tests - but fourth place in the US PGA at Harding Park last month showed that Wolff has developed some fight to marry to his flair.
PGA Tour form figures of 2-MC-22-12-49-4-44-16 illustrate a growing consistency in Wolff and he can be fancied to boss his 6.38pm group against Viktor Hovland and Rickie Fowler. Hovland's chipping weakness should be exposed around the demanding Winged Foot dancefloors, while Fowler, who missed the cut in the US PGA and is without a post-lockdown top-ten finish anywhere, has been looking increasingly unlikely to claim the Major title which has always eluded him.
Australian compatriots and close friends Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman get to tee off alongside each other for the second tournament running - a boost for both - but Leishman's game has been in such disarray that it is difficult to comprehend how he can arrest the slide at a brute like Winged Foot.
Leishman's post-lockdown form figures of MC-58-MC-40-52-MC-MC-69-28 are even worse than they look - he finished last in the 69-runner BMW Championship and outscored only one player in the Tour Championship PGA Tour season finale.
Smith, steady in the FedEx Cup playoffs and fourth in the 2015 US Open, can see off Leishman and Bernd Wiesberger in the 5.43pm contest. Wiesberger, like Hovland, is difficult to trust at this venue given how often his short game lets him down.
Si Woo Kim suffered a poor third round to drop out of contention in the Safeway Open last week, but the Korean bounced back with a Sunday 66 and appears close to the form which once made him one of the most promising youngsters on the PGA Tour. Kim (5.43pm) can outscore Ryan Palmer and Rafael Cabrera-Bello, while Jon Rahm seems a bargain at a shade of odds-against to defeat Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey.
By winning the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, then the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields, Rahm has shown that he has developed an ability to handle the most difficult venues in the schedule.
With new-found grit, expect Rahm to keep a cleaner scorecard than Mickelson, who has been ragged in his last three PGA Tour outings and may have to put his Grand Slam aspirations on hold for a while longer. Casey has never bettered tenth place in a US Open.
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