US Open 2017: A quintet of massive-priced wagers to challenge the first round lead

Li Haotong - Carrying the weight of a nation?
Li Haotong - Carrying the weight of a nation?

At this stage it looks like morning starters will get the best of day one so Dan Geraghty picks out five fancies for the early lead, and all but one of them can be backed at 100/1 or more...

"US Open history is littered with youngsters making a name for themselves - remember Beau Hossler leading as a 16 year old in 2012?"

My each way pick Jordan Niebrugge has been handed (what is usually) the dream first round leader tee time - first out, fresh greens and no-one in front. So it's either count the winnings while he's eating a second breakfast or re-load in-play on someone else. He's an absolute no-brainer first round dart at a huge price this week, have a read of the each way column as for why.

I've had a soft spot for Li Haotong since his remarkable performances on the PGA Tour of China as a teenager. Still only 21, the Chinese phenom has - very impressively - started making waves in Europe and qualified for this week with a fantastic effort at Walton Heath; he absolutely tore up the much tougher old course to finish tied second there and I think he has a big chance of becoming China's first Major Champion. I even give him a chance of winning this very week.

At the aforementioned qualifier, I followed Aaron Rai and David Boote round for all 36 holes. I was blown away by both, Boote broke the new course record in the morning, firing a first round 62 but unfortunately failed to qualify, eventually losing out in a playoff. Rai performed solidly all day - barely missing a shot, and took medallist honours at 14 under. The performance was remarkable for a number of reasons, I overheard that Rai had turned up that morning (flying in from playing in the Czech Republic the day before) having never seen the course. He caddied for himself, collecting his own divots, doing his own work on yardages/greens. The impressive Englishman was one of the straightest hitters I've ever seen, which will obviously serve him well at a US Open.

The US Open fell into Lucas Glover's lap in 2009 and the American is arguably striking the ball as good now as he was back then. The putter remains a huge problem but as Angel Cabrera said of US Open greens when he won in 2007, "I can't putt but nobody could putt these greens well". I've no doubt Mr Glover will be fancying his chances this week.

Despite being the World Amateur number one, Joaquin Niemann doesn't seem to have garnered that many column inches. The Chilean phenom has managed to steal that position at the head of the rankings from the remarkable Maverick McNealy - quite an achievement in itself, but to do it at just 18 years of age really is something special. Niemann seems to win nearly every time he tees it up these days and he's one to watch very closely indeed. US Open history is littered with youngsters making a name for themselves - remember Beau Hossler leading as a 16-year-old in 2012?

Recommended Bets
Back Jordan Niebrugge @ 110/1
Back Hao Tong Li @ 150/1
Back Aaron Rai @ 200/1
Back Lucas Glover @ 80/1
Back Joaquin Niemann @ 200/1

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