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The LIV Golf circuit rolls into New Jersey this week, with Dustin Johnson taking his regular place as tournament favourite, and the long, open Bedminster track will certainly encourage DJ to open his shoulders.
Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, who may be revived by a bright Open Championship effort, are understandably being shown plenty of respect by bookmakers. The value may lie deeper in the betting, though, with a trio of their fellow Americans.
Steve Palmer’s top tip
Patrick Reed 18-1
A corner appears to have been turned by Patrick Reed in recent weeks and the former Ryder Cup star seems the best bet for LIV Golf Bedminster.
Reed is enjoying life as a free agent again, having split from PXG, employing whatever clubs he feels suit him best, and the 31-year-old is thrilled with what he has described as a “fresh start” on the LIV circuit. He was a controversial character on the PGA Tour and has relished the chance to jump ship to LIV for mega-bucks.
Reed improved his score each day for third place on his LIV Golf debut in Portland, then carded two strong rounds from four in the Open Championship, closing with a 67 at St Andrews. The big greens at Bedminster will allow this magic putter to show off his rock-rolling class and he seems well capable of upsetting Johnson and DeChambeau.
Next best bet
Matthew Wolff 30-1
Another man who has gained impetus from a switch to LIV is Matthew Wolff, whose PGA Tour career had stalled. Wolff got an early win in 2019, then finished runner-up in the 2020 US Open, but he has struggled more recently.
The 23-year-old is clearly loaded with talent and maybe the guaranteed prize money of LIV Golf will relax him. Bedminster sets up superbly for long drivers and Wolff’s last four rounds have been encouraging. He signed off from the PGA Tour with a 66 in the Travelers Championship, then finished eighth on his LIV Golf debut in Portland.
James Piot 600-1
Last year’s US Amateur champion has been completely dismissed in the betting, but the 23-year-old has huge scope for improvement and could make a mockery of the prices against his name. That US Amateur success came on an Oakmont course renovated by Tom Fazio, and Piot gets to tackle another Fazio design this week.
Piot missed the cut in the US Open last month by just a shot, showing commendable composure in a pressure-packed threeball alongside Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa. All three players opened with a 69 on the Thursday and Piot could take enormous heart from matching the score of two of the game’s elite in a Major arena.
Piot closed with a 69 in LIV Golf Portland – only two players in the field outscored him that day – and he may have settled on the circuit in time to show how good he is in Bedminster. With only 48 runners in the field, this rising star can threaten the places.
Bedminster course guide
Course Old Course, Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, New Jersey Prize money $20m ($4m to the winner) Length 7,721 yards Par 72 – four par-fives, ten par-fours, four par-threes Field 48 (no cut) Highest-ranked players taking part (world ranking in brackets) Dustin Johnson (17), Abraham Ancer (22), Brooks Koepka (23), Louis Oosthuizen (25), Bryson DeChambeau (30)
Format 54 holes of strokeplay
When to bet By 7pm on Friday (shotgun start)
When to watch Live on YouTube or LIVGolf.com from 7pm on Friday
Time difference New Jersey is five hours behind the UK and Ireland
LIV Golf Portland 1 B Grace (30-1), 2 C Ortiz (50-1), T3 P Reed (20-1), D Johnson (7-1), 5 L Oosthuizen (10-1)
Course type Parkland
Course overview The Old Course at Bedminster hosted the 2017 US Women’s Open, which was won with an 11-under-par total. The Donald Trump-owned venue is 40 miles west of New York City. It was designed by Tom Fazio. Wide, tree-lined fairways are heavily bunkered. Water is in play on half the holes. The greens are large
Weather forecast Sunny and pleasant throughout, with light breezes
Type of player suited to the challenge This is a long track with plenty of enforced carries off the tee – and approach shots over water – so big-hitters appear at a significant advantage
Key attribute Power
Spotlight insight Both of the first two LIV Golf events have been won by a South African