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Former champ Ogilvy has perfect pedigree.

Byline: Jeremy Chapman

ANY time a bookmaker gives you an edge, you should make a beeline for them and Stan James are to be congratulated in going evens each-of-two in their US Open matches.

Okay, it may only be for special occasions, but losing your money is more enjoyable when you get over the odds and betting to only 5.88 per cent profit - it's 16-1 the tie - takes some of the play away from the exchanges who rake off five per cent for themselves for setting up the facility.

The two Stan James matches to concentrate on are Geoff Ogilvy to beat the man rated Europe's best chance, Paul Casey, and Graeme McDowell to edge out Ross Fisher in an all- British affair.

Ogilvy is certainly ahead of Casey on my tissue if only because he's been there and worn the T-shirt as winner of the US Open at Winged Foot three years ago.

Having been on the go from January, they are the form men of 2009 after notching five victories between them but if the lean, mean Aussie can reproduce the golf that destroyed Casey in the Accenture Match Play final, he should win this.

Ogilvy has an ideal high-ball game for Bethpage Black, and although the Englishman is purring about the course, he has now played 25 Majors without getting punters any each-way return.

McDowell's form at St Jude sends him into the week with confidence at a greater level than Fisher, whose two efforts since chasing home Casey at Wentworth were disappointing - a missed cut in defence of his European Open crown and a modest 31st in Wales.

In the frame at Memphis after a final-day 63, McDowell has played much more golf in the States than the Englishman and was Europe's top finisher in the Masters.

Rory McIlroy reckons he can shoot under par for the week on his US Open debut. That would put him in the top ten following his 20th in the Masters, whereas two players who cannot be relied upon to get anywhere near par on current form are Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia.

Pod and Sergio were in the top eight at Bethpage seven years ago, but McIlroy will be playing with more confidence than either now. Garcia, in particular, was a far brasher and more confident beast than he is right now.

Strange things happen in Majors. How about Angel Cabrera winning the Masters after missing the cut on his two previous starts, almost a repetition of his US Open victory two years earlier after flopping in the AT& T Classic on his preceding outing? So don't rule out Harrington or Garcia, or even Henrik Stenson, entirely, though McIlroy still shouldn't be 10-11 (Betfred) to see off the anxiety-ridden Harrington, who has got lost in a maze of technique and does not seem to be able to find the way out.

The groups are as tricky as ever but on the big occasions and on very tough courses it usually pays to side with experience which is why Vijay Singh gets the vote at 7-2 in Betfred's Group B.

The Fijian is the only one of this quintet with any US Open pedigree, having made seven top-tens from 15 appearances.

It helps that there has been plenty of rain in the Big Apple which has slowed the greens up a little and made them more receptive to the sort of high-iron approaches that Vijay will be firing into them. And, after a dodgy start to the year following knee surgery, he is coming back to the sort of form which made the FedEx Cup winner so hard to beat in Tiger's absence in the second half of last year.

Sean O'Hair and Ian Poulter will see he does not have it all his own way.

Recommendations G Ogilvy to bt P Casey 5pts evens Stan James G McDowell to bt R Fisher 4pts evens Stan James R McIlroy to bt P Harrington 3pts 10-11 Betfred V Singh to win Group B 2pts 7-2 Betfred

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Geoff Ogilvy has an ideal game for Bethpage Black
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 18, 2009
Words:687
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