Paul Williams

Paul Williams' US Open FRL Tips 2022

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Check out our First Round Leader form stats, history stats and tee times here.

The First Round Leader (FRL) market is fascinating given there are many ways to review the data to hand.

How does the weather forecast impact conditions? Will it be softer earlier, firmer later, windier for some, warmer for others? What tee times have the recent FRL winners had? Have the recent FRL winners started well in this event in the past? Have the recent FRL winners started well in their recent events; have they even been playing well in recent events?

Lots of questions and the odd red herring along the way I’m sure, however I think there are a few factors to consider which might help point us in the right direction.

First up the weather: The latest weather forecast for Brookline is here.

Thursday looks dry all day with cloud cover increasing as the day progresses. Temperatures will peak around the high-70s Fahrenheit in the afternoon, accompanied by the strongest of the breeze at 10-15mph.from the south. Early starters should get the calmest and softest conditions looking at the forecast at this stage.

With Brookline not having hosted a US Open for 34 years, we’re going to have to rely on US Open history only this week, and going back to 2011 the morning wave has produced 10 of the 16 players who either led or co-led after day 1 in this event.

The exceptions to the rule were Rory McIlroy who shot 65 to lead on his own in 2011; Martin Kaymer who equalled that score 3 years later; Scott Piercy and Ian Poulter who tied for the lead with Dustin Johnson and Russell Henley courtesy of rounds of 69 in 2018; Justin Rose who shot 65 in 2019 from an afternoon tee time at Pebble Beach; and Louis Oosthuizen who equalled Russell Henley’s earlier round of 67 from a 1.47pm tee time at Torrey Pines 12 months ago.

As per the outright market, there’s some each-way value to be found in the FRL market too with Boylesports offering 8 places each way, 1/5 odds for this market. Details of their new customer offer can be found below:

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My selections for First Round Leader are as follows:

Cameron Young 1pt EW 55/1 (7EW, 1/5) with William Hill

  • US Open Starts: 2
  • US Open FRL Best: 41st (2021)
  • US Open FRL Top-8s: 0
  • Last 6 Event FRL Form: 50/77/1/38/38/1
  • Tee Time: 8.02am

Rookie of the year candidate Cameron Young could continue his fine 2022 form with another prominent display this week, and if that’s the case then it could quite feasibly be fuelled by another fast start from an early tee time.

The 25 year-old produced wire-to-wire wins on the Korn Ferry Tour in consecutive weeks in May last year to ultimately earn himself a stab at the PGA Tour full time, and although he’s yet to convert at the top level, there’s been enough to suggest that it’s a matter of when rather than if a breakthrough win will come.

3rd at the US PGA Championship last month was Young’s first taste of Sunday contention at a Major Championship, and although that effort was fuelled by middle rounds of 67/67 rather than a blistering opening 18 holes, there’s enough in his recent history to suggest that a fast start is possible just about any given week.

Going back to the start of this wraparound season, an opening 67 at the Sanderson Farms Championship (7th after day 1) set Cameron up for what was eventually a runner-up finish behind the prolific Sam Burns. 64 to open the American Express (3rd after day 1) and 66 at the Genesis Invitational (2nd after day 1) have been eclipsed by first round leads at The Heritage and last time out at The Memorial. That’s 4 FRLs from his last 30 starts on all Tours, and at that conversion rate he deserves support this week. RESULT: T57

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Keegan Bradley 1pt EW 75/1 (5EW, 1/4) with BetVictor

  • US Open Starts: 9
  • US Open FRL Best: 6th (2014)
  • US Open FRL Top-8s: 1
  • Last 6 Event FRL Form: 69/53/33/80/56/11
  • Tee Time: 8.02am

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes; that and Keegan Bradley finding his way onto my radar for a round 1 punt at a Major Championship, perhaps.

To be fair, I’ve not backed the 36 year-old in this column since he shot 67 to finish in a tie for 2nd behind Corey Connors at last year’s US PGA Championship, more due to a series of incompatible tee times rather than any loss of faith in his fast-starting prowess. An 8.02am tee time this week is much more attractive though and makes him a must-back for me in this market.

9 FRL wins (or ties) from a little over 300 career PGA Tour starts is a strong statistic for a player whose implied odds are more than double that rate this week, and you can back that up with a further 40 top-7 finishes after the first 18 holes have been recorded.

For a player who’s such a strong starter, his recent efforts have been a little less striking which perhaps explains the odds. 69 to open at The Memorial on his last start was closer to what we expect though on a challenging track, and he backed that up with another 3rd round 69 to give us hope that there’s another low round in the locker.

That’s not to say that he’s been playing badly; far from it in fact. 5th at The PLAYERS Championship, 8th at the Texas Open and 2nd at the Wells Fargo Championship are all commendable efforts of late, and this week’s test at Brookline should play to his long-game strengths. RESULT: T26

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Mackenzie Hughes 1pt EW 125/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

  • US Open Starts: 4
  • US Open FRL Best: 57th
  • US Open FRL Top-8s: 0
  • Last 6 Event FRL Form: 104/8/25/130/1/5
  • Tee Time: 8.24am

Given the price on offer and an early tee time, I can overlook Mackenzie Hughes’ poor first round record from the 4 US Opens that he’s played and back him to continue the fine run of fast starts that he’s found himself on of late.

66 to open at TPC Potomac, 67 at The Memorial and 66 last week on home soil in Canada means that he’s notched 3 top-8 finishes in his last 5 starts after day 1, and in the case of Memorial that was good enough for a share of the lead and the 31 year-old’s 5th FRL in a little over 150 PGA Tour starts. Add to that a further 9 top-5 positions after 18 holes and we have a player whose career FRL performance far exceeds his odds here this week.

Long game performance isn’t Mac’s strongest suit which will put many off an outright bet on a player like him on a stringent US Open setup, however he’s proven time and again that over 18 holes he can just about keep it together – and score heavily enough – to post a competitive round, and with his game in good shape – at least at the start of tournaments – he’s the type who can get off to a flying start.

After 3 missed cuts from his first 3 US Open attempts, last year’s effort at Torrey Pines was on a whole new level. Rounds of 73, 67 & 68 gave the 31 year-old a share of the lead heading into Sunday before a final round 77 saw him slide to 15th place overall, however perhaps that experience will set him in good stead as he looks to build on that in the future. Certainly 4th after day 1 on his next Major start at The Open suggests that he’s comfortable posting a low round in elite company, an assertion backed up by the fact that he co-led The PLAYERS Championship in 2017 after 18 holes. RESULT: T57

✅ Bet £10 Get £10 for new mobile customers using this qualifying link
✅ Regularly extending full-field PGA Tour events to a market-beating 10 places each-way
✅ Offered 12 places each-way 1/6 odds at the 2021 Open Championship for the first time ever

Boylesports UK New Customer Offer: 18+. UK/IRE mobile customers only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 07:00BST 15.6.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.