Going into Sunday's final round, the US Open remains wide-open with various different emerging storylines. Paul Krishnamurty assesses the state of play, updates his in-play book and recommends four outsider bets from the 2-ball coupon...
"Stenson has been very disappointing after sharing the opening day lead, and last night's comments that the greens are like 'putting on broccoli' hardly bode well. He's well worth taking on with a young, highly talented big-hitter, hungry to make his first impact in a major championship."
Back Tony Finau 3u @ 2.915/8
The betting still suggests we may end up with the same champion, but in complete contrast to the last major, nobody is writing the script just yet because there are so many potential headlines. With four very plausible winners tied for the lead and plenty of capable chasers, we have the perfect Sunday set-up.
3.1511/5 favourite Jordan Spieth just about remains on course for the Grand Slam, despite failing to maintain a superb start to Sunday. At 4.216/5, Dustin Johnson is rated only marginally behind, bidding for his first major title, just months after returning from what looks like being a career-transforming ban.
However the biggest story concerns Jason Day. When Tiger won the US Open seven years ago on what turned out to be a broken leg, we thought we'd never see the like of it again. Yet if Day can win after collapsing on the course during his second round and looking like death after yesterday's superb 68, it will be an achievement to match anything.
Lets also not forget the outsider of four, but very much the man we're cheering on at betting.betfair. Both Steve Rawlings and myself are on Branden Grace at huge odds pre-tournament and loving every minute of it. A multiple winner with proven pedigree under the final day heat, the South African hasn't looked even remotely fazed by the occasion or prestigious opposition. He can certainly win.
That quartet have a three-shot lead over another quartet sitting on +1, and others further back have a chance if hitting a great final round. If they need inspiration, Louis Oosthuizen's consecutive 66s show what can be done here. Indeed, with a hot putter the former Open champion could have shot 62 yesterday.
In my view, it will be one of seven - the four leaders or either Oosthuizen, Shane Lowry or JB Holmes, all of whom are on -1. My heart says Grace or Day, who was recommended after round one at 17.016/1. My instinct says Spieth is a machine who will step up to the plate. The value seeking part of my brain, however, says he and Dustin are no value at odds taking out over half the book in what remains a wide-open heat.
If there were no question mark about his wellbeing, Day would be at least a point shorter than 6.05/1. Though it is so hard to be confident given his health, his amazing comeback last night - from seven shots behind at one stage - had the mark of a fairytale about it. He's due a major title after several near misses and, in a perverse way, the need for a slow, deliberate approach may be helping him focus and shut out any nerves.
For that reason, the Aussie remains my number one pick and there are no plans to lay back the position opened on Friday. The only new position I'm adding is a back to lay trade on J.B. Holmes at 36.035/1. His power off the tee is a huge advantage and offers him chances to close the gap with a spate of birdies that few other chasers possess.
The plan is to place a lay order on Holmes at 7.06/1, with a view towards quadrupling the initial risk. With the earlier bets, that means the total risk of the in-play book is 20 units. If Holmes hits the lay target, or Brandt Snedeker does so from five back going into Sunday, the stakes will be covered. If any of them win the title, it will bag a tidy profit.
Back J.B. Holmes 5u @ 36.035/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 7.06/1
Back Jason Day 5u @ 16.015/1
Back Brandt Snedeker 5u @ 60.059/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 10.09/1
5u loss Jason Dufner
Back Jack Maguire 2u @ 4.03/1 (vs Casey) (Starts 19.48)
Though it didn't pay off yesterday because the wrong favourites were opposed, the strategy of backing outsiders in 2-balls remains a sound one. Above all else, this final round requires resilience, focus and determination from those chasing place money only. The lesser the player, the more that extra cash and ranking points money is required.
Jack Maguire is one of several amateurs to have caught the eye this week, doing remarkably well to hold his position after opening with what looked like being a ruinous opening 73. Having matched or bettered Casey in the last two rounds, these are big odds about an upset. Casey's last three US Open final rounds of 75, 79 and 78 suggest he may not set the most formidable target.
Back Ollie Schniederjans 2u @ 4.03/1 (vs Rose) (Starts 20.00)
The commentators have mentioned Ollie Schiederjans as potentially the next American superstar and he's played a blinder. Interestingly, he has the longest drive of the week, so this course certainly offers him chances that few enjoy. Beating a former champion like Rose, known for resilient final rounds, is a very tough call but again these are big odds over 18 holes.
Back John Senden 2u @ 3.7511/4 (vs McIlroy) (Starts 20.24)
It is no surprise to see so many Aussies on the leaderboard, given the firm, fast conditions at Chambers Bay. John Senden's trademark is storming through the field over the weekend in Aussie triple-crown events as courses dry out, and he moved up twenty odd places yesterday.
I'm slightly annoyed he's drawn with McIlroy, because there are obviously many more beatable opponents and Rory was hitting the ball beautifully yesterday. Nevertheless, Senden has stayed the course in this major before, finishing top-15 in both 2012 and 2013 and once again, these are good value odds in an 18-hole match-up.
Back Tony Finau 3u @ 2.915/8 (vs Stenson) (Starts 22.00)
Henrik Stenson has been very disappointing after sharing the opening day lead, and last night's comments that the greens are like 'putting on broccoli' hardly bode well. He's well worth taking on with a young, highly talented big-hitter, hungry to make his first impact in a major championship. Finau played well for the most part yesterday before a poor finish, and from five off the pace may not be not done yet.