US Open Golf 2024 First Round Leader Tips: Tommy and JT to lead the way

 | Wednesday 12th June 2024, 15:48pm

Wednesday 12th June 2024, 15:48pm

jamie worsley pga tour

Jamie Worsley has already given us his US Open Golf Betting Tips but he's also picked out four players who he expects to go low on Thursday. Here are his US Open First Round Leader Tips. 

US Open First Round Leader Tips

  • 1 pt Tommy Fleetwood each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 45/1
  • 1 pt Justin Thomas each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 45/1
  • 0.75 pts Byeong Hun An each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 55/1
  • 0.5 pts Justin Lower each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 175/1

*Click on the linked odds to add the selections directly to your betslip on betfred.com (or app)

One of the most anticipated US Opens in several years begins tomorrow at Pinehurst No. 2 and in this preview, I look at which players can get their week off to the best possible start.

Conditions are already looking firm and fast in North Carolina and with hot, dry and sunny weather forecast for tomorrow, there should be nothing to hinder that setup.

Fortunately for the players, wind doesn’t look like being much of a factor in round one, with gusts of around 12mph for the afternoon starters about as severe as it gets. This shouldn’t be enough to disadvantage those later starters too much in itself, though with this initially firm course firming up further as the day goes on, you have to feel that a slight advantage lies with the morning tee-times, for all I wouldn’t completely rule out the later starters. My picks will reflect this, with one player from the later tee-times but three from the morning wave.

1 pt Tommy Fleetwood each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 45/1

Start time: 13:14

I begin with Tommy Fleetwood, who comes into this after his best first-round performance of the season last week at Muirfield Village, and as a player with some fast major starts to his name, he knows how to go well in the opening rounds of these events.

Fleetwood started the season with a win in Dubai on the DP World Tour and has been ultra-consistent since heading over to the US, making 10 of 11 cuts and recording three top-10s, including a 3rd-place finish in The Masters.

He ranks 20th in this field in strokes-gained total over his last 20 rounds, looking strong in all areas and though he’s not been an especially fast starter throughout much of the season, this has changed over recent starts.

Tommy opened with a 3-under 67 two starts ago in the Canadian Open to sit 12th after the opening round, tying his best first-round position of the season and went even better last week, opening with a 3-under 69 to sit 7th after 18 holes of the Memorial Tournament.

He made his best US Open start in 2017, shooting a 5-under 67 to sit 4th at Erin Hills; whilst other strong first-round major performances include him being 1st in the 2023 Open Championship, 3rd in the 2019 Open and 3rd in the 2019 PGA Championship. Enough to suggest he has it in him to start positively at the type of firm course that can bring the best out of his game.

1 pt Justin Thomas each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 45/1

Start time: 07:40

Justin Thomas’ combination of superb approach play and a sharp short game should make him a good fit for Pinehurst. When added to his likely advantageous early tee-time and tidy first-round scoring average this season, he looks a lively contender to be first-round leader.

Thomas is having a good year so far, recording seven top-25 finishes in 12 starts, four of them top-10s. With the latest coming when 8th in the PGA Championship two starts ago.

He’s been close to his best with his irons and short game, ranking 5th in approach and 12th around-the-greens this season, whilst he has been scoring considerably better in round one than any other round, ranking 12th in round one scoring; with his next-best being a ranking of 58th in round four.

Thomas is no stranger to first-round leads in this event, firing a 5-under 65 to hit the top after the opening round in this event at Winged Foot in 2020. Quick major starts aren’t an isolated incident, as he sat 4th after 18 holes in both the 2022 PGA Championship and the 2020 Masters. Experiences I’m hoping he can draw on to put himself among the leaders tomorrow.

0.75 pts Byeong Hun An each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 55/1

Start time: 08:24

Byeong Hun An has been a consistently positive starter in 2024 so far and with his high-class approach play showing little sign of slowing down, he can rely on that to hit the top of the leaderboard tomorrow.

Byeong An has been having a great season, missing just a couple of cuts in 15 starts and recording four top-5 finishes, the most recent of which came when 3rd at Quail Hollow three starts ago.

His tee-to-green game has been typically strong, ranking 20th on tour and over the last 20 rounds he ranks 14th in this field in approach. Ranking 15th in round one scoring, he plays better in the opening round than any other and has sat inside the top-25 at the end of the first day in five of his last six starts

An had a great start at The Masters, finishing the opening day in 8th spot, which rates as one of his best major starts. It is surpassed by him sitting 6th after day one of this event in 2018, at a similarly firm and fast Shinnecock Hills, and playing the best golf of his life this year, he can better that in comparable conditions tomorrow.

0.5 pts Justin Lower each-way (1/4 - 5 places) @ 175/1

Start time: 07:07

One of the best stories of this week has to be 35-year-old journeyman, Justin Lower making his major championship debut at Pinehurst. Whilst there is of course a chance that the occasion gets the better of him, he’s been hitting his irons well all season and having sat 2nd after the first round in three of his last 10 starts, he knows what it takes to begin smartly.

He has missed his last three cuts in a row but prior to that he’d been pretty consistent on tour this season, and has recorded two top-5 finishes, coming at the Corales Puntacana Championship and Mexico Open.

As mentioned, Lower has been striking his irons well this season, ranking 17th in greens-in-regulation and 28th in approach, whilst he’s also been solid on the greens. He’s done most of his best work in round one, ranking 34th in round one scoring and another positive can be found in terms of him being much better when teeing off early, ranking 22nd for early scoring as opposed to 118th for late.

His top-5 finish at Corales was helped by him opening with a 6-under 66 to sit 2nd after round one. This was following on from opening with the exact same score and sitting in the exact same position in the Texas Open the week previous. Though perhaps the most impressive and encouraging first-round performance came when he opened with a 67 to sit 2nd after the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, against an elite field at a firm and fast Bay Hill.

Hopefully that experience will serve Lower well and at a huge price, he looks an interesting candidate to be a surprise name near the top of the leaderboard at the end of play tomorrow.

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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