down cross

Plucky patient Troy Merritt to come unstuck on brave but foolhardy mission

Schniederjans can lead day-one attack

Ross Fisher can get off to a solid start at Bellerive
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The first round of the US PGA Championship tees off at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri and the threeballs card is full of attractive betting opportunities.

Four players – three who are fractionally odds-on and one who is a shade of odds-against – can be used by low-stake punters in lots of multiples, or high-rollers may be tempted by some chunky singles. The safest bet of all is arguably Ollie Schniederjans to win the 2.51pm (UK and Ireland time) contest against Troy Merritt and David Muttitt.

Schniederjans, powerful enough to handle a soft par-70 of 7,300-plus yards, has found some form, finishing fifth in the Barracuda Championship last week, but it is the huge negatives against the name of Merritt which make the bet.

US PGA Championship

Steve Palmer's tournament preview

Jeremy Chapman's tips


Merritt needed emergency surgery last week to remove a blood clot which ran from his chest to biceps, his left arm having swollen to double its normal size. He has been struggling to get mobility back in his arm and may soon need to remove a rib to prevent further clotting.

Merritt should probably not bother trying to compete at Bellerive – and first reserve Kevin Streelman will be cheesed off if he does – but the wounded soldier will surely be vulnerable if he goes into battle.

Muttitt is a humble club pro who has played in three previous PGAs and missed the cut in all of them. Early-birds have caught the juiciest of the Schniederjans worms, but the market move has not gone far enough.

Ross Fisher (2.56), Beau Hossler (6.31) and Jamie Lovemark (12.55) are the other threeball options to consider.

Fisher, a strong driver who played nicely at Firestone last week, can overpower Alexander Levy and Patton Kizzire on a long, soft track. Levy has missed the cut in his last seven Majors, while Kizzire has missed the cut in three of his four Stateside Majors.

Hossler was in great nick going into his Open debut, finishing second in the Travelers Championship and sixth in the Quicken Loans National, and 75th place was not a bad Open effort considering he played from the worst side of the draw in bad weather over the first two days.

Hossler is a hugely promising youngster who could be a title contender at 150-1 this week, but he can certainly be expected to outscore Matt Wallace and Matt Dobyns in round one.

Wallace has missed the cut in all three of his previous Majors, as well as in his last four European Tour events, while Dobyns is a club pro who has played in five Majors and missed the cut in all of them.

Lovemark, who has made six cuts in a row and is blessed with effortless power, can see off Rich Berberian and Shugo Imahiri.

O Schniederjans
5pts 9-10 188Bet
R Fisher
2pts 13-8 Betfair, Paddy Power
B Hossler
2pts 10-11 bet365
J Lovemark
1pt 4-5 Betfair, Paddy Power

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Merritt needed emergency surgery last week to remove a blood clot which ran from his chest to biceps
E.W. Terms
Sky bet