Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed share the joint-lead at the half-way point in the US Open as Chambers Bay separates the Major-contenders from Tiger Woods and the rest of the golfing chaff.
Young-gun Spieth is looking to go back-to-back in the Majors after his US Masters win in Augusta, while Reed, apart from desperately trying not to be the most disliked player on Tour after Bubba Watson, is chasing his first Major title.
At this point your pre-tournament pick is either driving down the coast with a front-seat model girlfriend having second thoughts (yes Rickie Fowler we’re looking at you) or gearing up for two days of squeaky-bum bunker play with a chance to lift one of the most converted trophies in golf.
It’s still all to play for and if you’re eyeing up an in-running punt for the weekend after that – hey ‘Martin Kaymer could retain his title’ punt went south – the Paddy Power Blog have knuckled down to bring you 15 years of in-running US Open insight to help you make your choice.
The headline is that you don’t want to be backing someone to come off the pace at the US Open.
In the last 15 years, 53 per cent of leaders at the half-way stage have gone on to win the US Open, including three of the last five. Martin Kaymer shot two astonishing rounds of 65 last year – becoming the first player ever to open a Major competition with two rounds of 65 or lower and establishing a six shot lead over the chasing pack. Nobody got close to the German who eventually carded the second-lowest score in US Open history and won by a comfortable eight shots.
Do you want to go on top?
Most notably however when you dig a little deeper into the numbers, only one person – Webb Simpson – has come from more than two shots behind at the half-way stage to win. To put it simply, 93 per cent of US Open winners since the year 2000 were no more than two shots off the pace when everybody hit the hay on Friday night. So if you’re having an in-running punt, the trends strongly suggest you stay at the top of the field.
Webb Simpson appears to be the exception that proves this particular rule. He was six shots behind the leaders at half-way and was still way off the pace on the fifth hole of the final day. Four birdies through holes six-10, combined with a meltdown from Jim Furyk gave Webb Simpson his first Major win.
These US Open trends leave you with a couple of clear pointers going into the weekend of this year’s competition.
The stats suggest that Spieth and Reed shouldn’t have to look much further back than Ben Martin & Co who are two shoots off in tied fifth as likely challengers to their US Open dreams. Although nobody has told Chambers Bay that yet.