USPGA First Round Three-Ball Tips: Major man Matsuyama is the lead bet on Thursday at Oak Hill

Matsuyama has impressed at the big events

The USPGA Championship is the final major of the year and Dan Geraghty hasn't held back, treating himself to four picks from the opening day's three-balls and he's looking to an impressive young Japanese golfer to get the day off to a winning start

"Hideki Matsuyama is having a phenomenal season and appears to thrive on tough golf courses. He's quickly risen to world number 33 and I'm not sure he should be regarded as the outsider of the trio."

Back Hideki Matsuyama @ 3.185/40 

Hideki Matsuyama turned professional just this year and has finished in the top 10 in both Majors he's played since (the US Open and the Open Championship). Granted, he's in a big name three-ball (with Jason Dufner and Steve Stricker) but his recent form more than matches his American counterparts. The Japanese youngster is having a phenomenal season and appears to thrive on tough golf courses. He's quickly risen to world number 33 and I'm not sure he should be regarded as the outsider of the trio.

Rory McIlroy insists his A-game isn't far away, but it looks a long way off to me. McIlroy put together four steady rounds at last week's Bridgestone Invitational, however his 27th placed finish was by some distance his worst placing at Firestone since his debut in 2009. In contrast, one of his playing partners this week, Martin Kaymer, finished strongly to register a career best at Firestone (9th). Vijay Singh makes up the three-ball but is badly out of form. All three men have a USPGA Championship title to their name, but it's the German that comes into the week in form.

Jordan Spieth turned down a guaranteed payday (possibly a huge payday)at the Bridgestone Invitational last week to better prepare for his third Major Championship this week. The youngster means business and can already be classed a contender in the biggest events. Spieth made the cut at his previous two Majors and has six top 10s to his name this year already. Luke Donald impressed when registering another WGC top 10 last week, but at the prices I'm happy to get the young American onside. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano makes up the three-ball; the Spaniard's form has dipped following a great start to the year.

Kyle Stanley wasn't at the Masters but has competed at the year's other Majors. At the US Open he finished 28 over par after shooting a third round 85 and last month at the Open missed the cut after a first round 82. Stanley has a terrible record in the Majors and may struggle again this week on a tough golf course. Graham DeLaet made the cut on his Major debut at last month's Open and the up-and-coming Canadian is having an excellent season. Veteran Kirk Hanefeld completes the line-up and, for me, DeLaet should be favourite in what looks like a match. 

Recommended Bets
Back Hideki Matsuyama @ 3.185/40 
Back Martin Kaymer @ 2.56/4 
Back Jordan Spieth @ 2.757/4
Back Graham DeLaet @ 2.0521/20 

*Follow me on twitter @dangeraghty10

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