Matthew Wolff, Former 80/1 Long Shot, Leads U.S. Open Entering Final Round

Posted on: September 20, 2020, 06:35h. 

Last updated on: September 20, 2020, 08:07h.

Just 16 months ago, Matthew Wolff won the NCAA golf championship at Oklahoma State.

Matthew Wolff
Despite being erratic off the tee, Matthew Wolff will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the U.S. Open. (Image: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Now, Wolff has positioned himself to go from long-shot contender to the youngest U.S. Open champion since the legendary Bobby Jones in 1923.

On the strength of five birdies on the front nine, the 21-year-old Wolff shot a 5-under 65 on Saturday at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., to surge to the top of the leaderboard ahead of Sunday’s final round.

Bombs Away

Wolff only hit two fairways, but did everything else right, as he beat the field scoring average by a whopping 8.6 strokes on Saturday.

Wolff opens Sunday as one of only three players under par for the 120th edition of the championship. He’ll be paired with Bryson DeChambeau, who is two shots back at 3 under. They will tee off at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.

There’s a lot of holes out there, that maybe people would try to hit it in the fairway or maybe take the safe play, because it is a U.S. Open and they know that pars are a good score. But I don’t really like to think of it that way,” Wolff told reporters.

“I like to go out there and do what I feel comfortable with, rip dog, and see how it goes from there. I feel comfortable with every part of my game, so I don’t like to shy away from things when I’m feeling confident, and I’m probably going to do the same [Sunday].”

Wolff, with one career win, opened the tournament at 80/1 to win at Westgate SuperBook, and was 30/1 entering Saturday’s third round. He’s now at 7/4. DeChambeau is 9/4. They are the clear front-runners, with Xander Schauffele the distant third choice at 8/1.

Who Else?

Wolff’s lead isn’t huge, but there’s not exactly a lot of players within striking distance, either. DeChambeau is 3 under, Louis Oosthuizen is 1 under, and Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, and Harris English are tied for fourth at even.

According to SuperBook’s Jeff Sherman, there are bets of $2,400 on Schauffele at 20/1 and $1,000 on DeChambeau at 20/1. As the final round got under way, Sherman said Wolff, Oosthuizen and Matsuyama were receiving the public support.

“I bet you I’m probably going to be a little antsy,” Wolff said. “It’s the U.S. Open, and I have a lead. I’m going to try to keep my nerves as calm as they can be and not really try to think about it.”

Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas joined DeChambeau as the 9/2 favorites entering Saturday’s third round. However, Reed shot a 77 and is 3 over, and Thomas shot a 76 and is 4 over. Both enter Sunday at 100/1 at SuperBook. Tracking the right way is Rory McIlroy. He was 40/1 entering Saturday, but shot a 68 to move to 1 over and within six shots of Wolff. He enters Sunday at 12/1.

“If I go out there tomorrow and shoot another 68,” McIlroy said, “I won’t be too far away.”

Final-Round Odds

Here are the betting leaders at SuperBook, with scores in relation to par in parentheses.

  • Matthew Wolff (-5) 7/4
  • Bryson DeChambeau (-3) 9/4
  • Xander Schauffele (E) 8/1
  • Louis Oosthuizen (-1) 10/1
  • Rory McIlroy (+1) 12/1
  • Hideki Matsuyama (E) 16/1
  • Harris English (E) 25/1
  • Viktor Hovland (+2) 60/1
  • Webb Simpson (+3) 80/1
  • Justin Thomas (+4) 100/1
  • Patrick Reed (+3) 100/1
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello (+2) 150/1
  • Zach Johnson (+2) 150/1
  • Joaquin Niemann (+3) 150/1
  • Thomas Pieters (+3) 150/1
  • Dustin Johnson (+5) 200/1

Absent from that list? Phil Mickelson, who received a noteworthy bet, and Tiger Woods, who garnered the lion’s share of the bets. Both players missed the cut.

At FanDuel, the bet on the winning score is -126 for 2 under or worse and -108 for 3 under or better.