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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Punters scrambling to back world number one Dustin Johnson for US Open

Pleasant weather is forecast in New York

Dustin Johnson could be key if America are to succeed
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Dustin Johnson signed off from a glorious St Jude Classic on Sunday with a spectacular eagle-two at the final hole, cementing his position as firm favourite for the US Open, which starts in New York on Thursday.

Johnson cruised to a six-shot St Jude Classic triumph, firing his ball into the cup with a nine-iron from 171 yards at the 18th, reclaiming the world number one spot at the same time.

The ominous performance left punters scrambling to back the giant Carolinian for US Open success and bookmakers frantically cutting his price.

The 7-1 winner at the TPC Southwind in Memphis last week, Johnson is moving towards similar odds for the US Open at Shinnecock Hills, settling at a general 8-1 after any remaining double-figure quotes were snapped up during his St Jude masterclass.

He emphatically won the US Open in 2016, having narrowly failed in 2015, when he three-putted the final green to gift Jordan Spieth victory. This year's clear favourite missed the US Open cut last year, but his second son arrived on the Monday of tournament week, so it was difficult for him to find full focus.

Johnson finished 12th for strokes-gained putting in Memphis, finding some flat-stick form at the perfect time for a wonderful summer, and he said: “Playing the way I did all week gives me a lot of confidence. I think it was a big win – it was a big statement.”

Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose come next in the US Open betting, all available at double the price of Johnson, while Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are also 20-1 or shorter in a hugely competitive betting heat for the second Major of the season.

Pleasant weather is forecast for the event, with sunshine all four days, and moderate breezes. A score of four under par was enough to win the last US Open staged at Shinnecock – the 2004 edition in which Retief Goosen prevailed – but scoring should be better this time.

Betway make Johnson 1-2 to finish the year as world number one. Thomas and Rose are both available at 7-2.

Betway – to finish 2018 as world number one: 1-2 D Johnson, 7-2 J Thomas, J Rose, 10 R McIlroy, 20 J Spieth, J Rahm, 33 bar.

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Johnson emphatically won the US Open in 2016, having narrowly failed in 2015, when he three-putted the final green to gift Jordan Spieth victory
E.W. Terms
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