Weather forecast for Thursday: It looks like we have a draw bias. Temperatures are pleasant enough, creeping up from 70 to 80 as the golfing day goes on. But wind speeds rise notably in the afternoon and that will be an extra challenge for the p.m. wave as the course, already firm and fast, dries out further. Therefore, I'll pick a trio of morning starters.
Wise to rise early
If the morning wave is the subject of our attention, I'm certainly going to check out the Early Round 1 Scoring Average standings.
Rory McIlroy is 5th on that list and it would be no surprise if last week's Canadian Open winner flew out of the blocks from his 7.40am tee-time. He's 22/1 for FRL.
But at three times the price, I'm going to plump for the player sat one place below McIlroy in 6th - Aaron Wise.
Wise, who goes off at 8.02am, was a player I looked at on the outright market due to some strong recent form.
He was runner-up at the Memorial Tournament last time out, sixth in the Mexico Open and also banked a top 25 in the US PGA.
Wise has only played in a couple of majors since 2020, a pair of US PGAs, but in those he was second after round one in 2021 and 16th after 18 holes last month.
And the last time he played the US Open, the American was second after the opening lap at Pebble Beach in 2019.
There's plenty there to like so let's play him at 66/1.
Local angle could inspire Stallings
Scott Stallings was thrilled to book his place in this event.
He explained after coming through a Monday qualifier: "That was a huge goal, probably the biggest goal I had of the year, is to play the Open up there.
"Probably the only time in my career I'll have an opportunity to play a major championship in New England where at least half my family lives, my sister lives just down the road.
"That [The Country Club] was like the New England form of Augusta growing up as a kid."
Stallings arrived there early and a fourth place at Colonial two starts ago suggests he has the form to give the fairytale a run.
Importantly, he's a fast starter too. Here are some of his R1 positions so far this season: 2nd (RSM Classic), 4th (Fortinet), 5th (Valspar), 6th (Phoenix), 7th (Pebble Beach), 7th (Texas Open), 9th (Charles Schwab).
Stallings, priced at 125/1, hits his first shot at 7.29am.
Frenchman can flourish
Victor Perez is one of the in-form Europeans heading to Massachusetts and looks to be underrated at 125/1 for FRL.
The Frenchman produced some amazing putting to win a playoff at the Dutch Open at the end of May and followed that with third place at the European Open two weeks ago.
In both those events Perez was fourth after round one so he's been quick out of the gates too.
A few have said The Country Club has nods to Scotland due to its rugged look so maybe that bodes well too for Perez, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews before revealing to those who didn't know that he'd been living with his girlfriend in Dundee so was more familiar with conditions than most would have imagined.
On American soil, he's finished ninth in the 2021 Players Championship and also made the semi-finals of the WGC-Match Play in Texas that same year so he's flourished in some big events Stateside.