US Open

US Open 2023 First-Round Leader Tips: 28/1 Xander can land a Thursday punt

American Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele is Dave's headline pick

After last week's 28/1 pick Corey Conners finished in a dead-heat for first round leader, Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to be top of the leaderboard come the end of Thursday in the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club...

  • 28/129.00 Xander Schauffele is a R1 US Open specialist

  • 40/141.00 Rickie Fowler also has strong US Open FRL history

  • 125/1126.00 Adam Hadwin is value to repeat 2022 feat


Weather forecast for Thursday

It's a cloudy start in L.A. but temperatures are still a very pleasant 65 degrees for the very early starters. The sun breaks out in the afternoon as the mercury rises to the mid-70s.

Perhaps the key then is wind. It's light at around 5mph in the morning but could be double that by mid-afternoon. With that in mind and the already firm and fast course drying out further in the afternoon, I'm going to pick three morning starters.

Xander Schauffele @ 28/129.00

In the two US Opens he's played in his native California, Xander Schauffele has ended round one in second place at Pebble Beach in 2019 and in fifth spot at Torrey Pines in 2021.

But it doesn't end there. The US Open specialist - his form figures in this event read: 5-6-5-5-7-14 - was also second after round one on debut at Erin Hills in 2017 and eighth following the opening lap at Winged Foot in 2020.

Across those four events, twice Schauffele opened with a 66 while he also carded first rounds of 68 and 69.

Wait, how about the 2020 US PGA that was played at another California venue, Harding Park? He was quick out of the blocks again there, shooting yet another 66 to sit third on the first-round leaderboard.

Obviously, fast starts in California Majors provide ideal evidence but Schauffele's habit of racking up early birdies is ingrained.

In his last 15 PGA Tour events, he's finished day one inside the top seven in over half (eight), the most recent at Wells Fargo three starts ago.

Back him to make an early impression yet again from his morning tee time of 08:24.

Back Xander Schauffele each way @ 28/129.00

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Rickie Fowler @ 40/141.00

Rickie Fowler also fits the bill when looking for a player with numerous quick starts in US Opens.

Schauffele's fellow Californian hasn't qualified for the last two editions but he shone from the off in both 2017 and 2019.

At Erin Hills, a 65 gave him a piece of the first-round lead while a 66 at Pebble put Fowler in second spot after day one.

He's ended Thursday's action inside the top seven in two other US Opens.

Fowler starts this US Open on the back of top 10s at Colonial and Memorial while he's posted top 20s in seven of his last eight PGA Tour events.

With confidence high and his irons looking sharp, the 2014 US Open runner-up can create the early headlines from his 08:02 tee time.

Back Rickie Fowler each way @ 40/141.00

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Adam Hadwin @ 125/1126.00

The last time we saw Adam Hadwin on a golf course he was being tackled to the ground by a misguided security guard after spraying champagne over compatriot Nick Taylor, who had just become the first home player to win the Canadian Open since 1954.

It's possibly the greatest thing I've ever seen and, thankfully, Hadwin showed no ill-effects for his quarterback 'sack' and even posted a picture of it later, captioning the wonderful image with 'Put in the Louvre!'

If the golf gods are listening following that spectacular 'what happened next' moment, Hadwin will generate more clicks here.

A more robust argument for a fast start is that he was the first-round leader in last year's US Open at Southern Hills thanks to a 66. He went on to finish seventh.

Two starts ago he was third after 18 holes at Memorial and before 'tackle-gate' he'd just handed in his card to record a 12th at the Canadian Open.

Also seventh after round one of the 2017 US Open, Hadwin has good credentials to make hay from his 08:24 tee time.

Back Adam Hadwin each way @ 125/1126.00

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