US Open Betting: Manassero the value to be Top European

Matteo Manassero is in excellent form at present

Rory McIlroy is favourite in the Top European market but Mike Norman believes he's a false one, and instead recommends three straight-hitters to land the money in one of Betfair's many side markets...

"Manassero's ability to keep the ball out of the rough ought to be a huge plus at a sodden Merion Golf Club. And the fact that the East Course isn't particularly long should also be up his street."

Back Matteo Manassero - Top European @ 26.025/1

It's not often you can back an in-form golfer, a rising star of the game, and someone who has just won one of the biggest tournaments on the calendar at three times the price of a player who is performing way below his best, has recorded just one top-five finish all year, and whose last two starts read MC and T57.

But take a look at the US Open's Top European market and that's exactly what you'll see.

The first player in question is Matteo Manassero, available to back at 26.025/1, the second player is Rory McIlroy, who is 8.615/2 favourite in this particular market.

I was against McIlroy before the US Masters, and he's done nothing since to convince me he's about to hit top form here, which surely he'll need to do if he's to finish ahead of every other European in this week's field.

True, consecutive top-10 finishes at the Wells Fargo and Players Championship weren't bad efforts at all, but again his game was littered with mistakes. And his two most recent performances make dreadful reading - a missed cut at the BMW PGA Championship, and a never nearer 57th at the Memorial Tournament.

My honest opinion is that McIlroy shouldn't even be favourite in this market, but the fact that he is the market leader is great news for those of us who fancy someone else.

I've already made Graeme McDowell (9.28/1) my headline selection to win the tournament outright in this preview, so I'd be folly not to back him here also, but I do have concerns that the weather conditions have gone against him, and he probably wouldn't be my outright winner selection on this Tuesday afternoon.

Which means my main selection in this market has to be young Italian Manassero.

It's incredible to think that at the age of just 20 he is already a four-time winner on the European Tour including a victory in Europe's flagship and most strongly-contested event, the BMW PGA Championship. That win came just three weeks ago, and Manassero followed it up with an excellent fourth place finish at the Nordea Masters.

But it's not just the Italian's current form that gives him a leading chance this week. Manassero's ability to keep the ball out of the rough ought to be a huge plus at a sodden Merion Golf Club. And the fact that the East Course isn't particularly long should also be up his street.

True, three of the par-3s are going to play extremely tough, but Manassero won't be the only player to perhaps drop a shot or two on those holes, but he might just be one of the few players to make hay on the many incredibly short (by US Open standards) par-4s.

If we've backed two players so far who are adept at finding fairways then we best add the player who arguably can find more of them than anyone when on song - Francesco Molinari (36.035/1).

Molinari can be as good as anyone with an iron in his hand so finding the fairways should see him set up many birdie opportunities this week. He's in decent form too having finished fifth at the Volvo World Match Play, ninth at the BMW PGA Championship, and 21st in Sweden recently.

The likes of Justin Rose (9.617/2), Lee Westwood (10.519/2), and Luke Donald (13.012/1) will be lively dangers if playing well, so if you want to back the two Italians without having the English and Irish players to worry about then consider the Top Continental European market.

Recommended Bets

Back Graeme McDowell - Top European @ 9.28/1
Back Matteo Manassero - Top European @ 26.025/1
Back Francesco Molinari - Top European @ 36.035/1

Back Matteo Manassero - Top Continental European @ 8.615/2
Back Francesco Molinari - Top Continental European @ 14.013/1

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