Chambers Bay is one of the least known golf courses in the history of major tournaments but one member of the US Open field knows the track like the back of his hand and so does his experienced caddy, who happens to be his big brother.
Michael Putnam is the golfer to whom one is referring and, while it would be folly to back the 32-year-old Washington resident to win the US Open given that he is ranked 300th in the world and he boasts two PGA Tour top 10s from 112 starts – and one of them was way back in 2005 – he is interesting in some of the micro markets that bookmakers are offering.
Putnam grew up in a house less than one mile from Chambers Bay, which opened during his first full season on the PGA Tour. Putnam’s knowledge of Chambers Bay, which has hosted only one significant event and that was the 2010 US Amateur Championship from which most of the golfers have not gone on to bigger and better things, is so deep that he has profiled the holes for numerous media organisations, including the official PGA Tour website. Luckily, not every bookmaker has caught on to Putman’s specialist subject being Chambers Bay and, therefore, there are some attractive odds out there.
According to Putnam, he was the first golfer to play the Chambers Bay track, joking that he briefly held the course record after shooting 70. Putnam estimates that he has gone around Chambers Bay about 40 times, which is about 40 times more than most of the US Open line-up. Another factor in the local golfer’s favour is that his big brother, Joel, who was a Chambers Bay caddy before deciding to carry his sibling’s bag for a living, will be by his side during the US Open.
Surely it is more than coincidental that US Open organisers have placed Putnam in the first group that will tee off on the first hole of Chambers Bay on Thursday. Putman will go around his local track in company with Marcus Fraser and Steve Marino, neither of whom has competed on the course previously. Never has Fraser made the top 10 of a PGA Tour event so one is keen to oppose him with Putnam. Marino has been performing quite well on the Web.com Tour – he is 12th on its money list this season – and he has contested on the PGA Tour, posting four runner-up finishes in his 172 starts, plus his driving distance and scrambling statistics are of a standard that suggests he will handle Chambers Bay. One is a little bit concerned about Marino but Putnam is available at odds of +150 with PaddyPower to do better than both his US Open first-round three-ball partners and that will do one.
More speculatively, William Hill is offering odds of +1000 that Putnam puts his Chambers Bay knowledge to use and makes the US Open top 20. Those odds look about right considering that Putnam boasts 15 top 25s from his 112 PGA Tour starts, although one would prefer to back him to make the US Open cut, which will cover the top 60 and ties. Putnam has made the cut 71 times in his 112 PGA Tour starts so odds above +100 would stand out a decent exotic US Open investment.
One wrote this article two days before the US Open is scheduled to start so be sure to keep an eye out for odds about Putnam making the cut in the lead up to the event. One is confident that at least one bookmaker will quote make-the-cut odds about every single US Open competitor and one think that odds of +100 are likely.
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