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Top-ranked Day pegged as betting favorite for U.S. Open

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As the world’s No. 1-ranked player it figures that Jason Day has the top odds for the U.S. Open, but Oakmont Country Club will play anything but straightforwardly.

The notoriously tough par-70 course in Plum, Pa., which is hosting the traditional second major of the PGA Tour season for a record ninth time, is often known to get into even the calmest players’ head.

Even by the standards of the U.S. Open, renowned as the toughest major to win, Oakmont is unforgiving for even the smallest bit of imprecision on a shot. Not surprisingly, the betting board is largely predicated on which players are among the Tour leaders in strong gains off the tee – iron play – and strokes gained around the green.

Day has top odds at +650 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, which reflects a belief that his game might hold up to Oakmont. The 28-year-old Australian leads the PGA in strokes gained putting, averaging 1.145 per round. However, the large, sloping greens at Oakmont could be a great equalizer between the top-ranked putters and the above-average putters who have a peak performance.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who is listed at +750, is one of the most aggressive golfers in the world. In any sport, it’s tough to win without using the strategy one knows most.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who is listed at +850, was not even born in 1989 when Curtis Strange became the last repeat champion. Spieth seems destined to win multiple majors in his career, but winning back-to-back will be daunting.

Adam Scott, who is listed at +3000, leads the PGA in strokes gained approaching the green. Both Dustin Johnson (+1200) and Justin Rose (+2800) are in the PGA’s top 12 in that statistical category. Rickie Fowler (+2800) has been inconsistent in recent tournaments, but is a past Open runner-up and is overdue for a bounce-back in his short game.

Phil Mickelson, who has been the Open runner-up six times, is listed at +2800. It’s tough to picture Mickelson winning at Oakmont, which is all about discipline.

The last seven Opens have been captured by a first-time winner. Sleeper pick Daniel Berger, the 23-year-old who won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last weekend while many players took the week off to get ready for Oakmont, is listed at +6600. Berger has three top-10 finishes in his last seven events.

Dustin Johnson betting favorite entering PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass

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Considering that he came close to winning his fourth tournament in a row last weekend, Dustin Johnson is an obvious top prop on THE PLAYERS championship futures board.

Johnson, the world’s No. 1-ranked player, is listed at +700 on the odds to win THE PLAYERS Championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. With 48 of the top 50 golfers in the PGA due to compete this weekend at famously tough TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the top of the board also includes Rory McIlroy (+1000), Jordan Spieth (+1400), and newly minted Masters champion Sergio Garcia (+1800).

Johnson has never finished higher than a tie for 28th place at TPC Sawgrass and his price might not offer a high enough payoff for bettors to take a leap of faith on him figuring out the layout. Conversely, second favorite McIlroy’s best result on the course is a tie for sixth in 2014 and he’s been 12th or higher each of the last four years. With a 70.06 scoring average at Sawgrass, he’s got a good chance of being in contention going into Sunday.

Spieth has missed the cut at this event two years running, but he was fourth in 2014 and has finished in the top 10 in six of his 11 tournaments so far. Spieth has also had his short game in sync recently. Garcia has been in the top 15 in four of his events this year.

Two past winners, Rickie Fowler (+2000) and Martin Kaymer (+5500), have quietly been among the steadiest players on the Tour this season. The sting of a missed cut in 2016 after arriving as the defending champion might factor into Fowler, who has had top-16 finishes in six consecutive events, being extra-focused this week. For his part, Kaymer has also yet to miss a cut this season.

Jon Rahm (+2000) is playing the event for the first time; only two first-timers have ever won. Hideki Matsuyama (+2000) has had an up-and-down season so far, but he was seventh at the 2016 PLAYERS.

Defending champion Jason Day (+2200) has fairly long odds. Only six golfers have ever won the event more than once, with the great Jack Nicklaus standing alone as the lone three-time winner. Englishman Lee Westwood (+10000) is a true darkhose, but he was eighth and sixth in his last two starts at TPC Sawgrass and is having a strong season on all continents.

Masters-style green jacket bought for $5 sells for $139K

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DENVILLE, N.J. (AP) An authentic green jacket from Augusta National Golf Club that was once bought for $5 at a thrift store has sold at auction for more than $139,000.

Green Jacket Auctions says the distinctive sport coat worn by members of the famed Georgia club and presented each year to the winner of the Master’s tournament was sold Saturday, a day before the final round of this year’s Masters.

The auction house says in its listing that the jacket was discovered in 1994 in a Toronto consignment shop. The tag shows it to be from the 1950s, but the original owner’s name has been cut out. The club has confirmed its authenticity.

The auction house also sold the putter Arnold Palmer used to win the 1964 Masters for more than $97,000 Sunday.