U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Long Island, New York
It is time for the second golf Major of the year, the 118th U.S. Open to be played at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Long Island, New York. This golf course will be hosting the U.S. Open for the 5th time. Interestingly, Shinnecock has hosted the U.S. Open across three centuries now.
Considered as the toughest test of Golf that players will face each year, the U.S. Open is characterised by low scoring tournaments where making par is an achievement. Shinnecock last hosted the tournament in 2004, a year which is considered one of the toughest in U.S. Open history as only two players finished under Par.
Shinnecock Golf Course is a links-style course with barely a tree on the course. There is absolutely no protection from the wind and it will be a huge factor this week. The Course will be playing almost 400 yards longer than when it last hosted the U.S. Open at just over 7400 yards for a Par 70 layout.
The fairways are expected to be about 40 yards wide on average and be pretty firm. The fairways tend to play a lot narrower if the conditions become dry and there is plenty of carry so expect players to club down. If, however, there is some rain around then the drivers will be out for sure.
The rough is long and thick so hitting the fairways is going to be a pre-requisite. The greens are fast, undulating, and will feature some pretty dramatic run-offs this year. The Wolf advises all the punters to keep an eye on the weather and tee times since that is definitely going to be a factor. Very little rain is predicted this weekend.
Since the U.S. Open is played on different courses each year being the defending champion does not offer much edge. The tournament was won by Brooks Koepka in 2017, Dustin Johnson in 2016, Jordan Spieth in 2015, Martin Kaymer in 2014, and Justin Rose in 2013.
160 players will form the field for this tournament and the top-60 plus ties will make the cut.
Being in-form is a very important thing as the U.S. Open will test every aspect of a players game. It is very rare for someone inexperienced to come and dominate or for someone to turn around their poor run at this tournament.
Winning this tournament will require accuracy off the tee, a fantastic iron game to put yourself in position to attack the greens, and the ability to scramble from difficult positions. Putting, particularly in the 6-10 ft range, is going to be very important as well.
Stats That Matter
The Wolf is looking at the following stats for this week:
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Par 4 Scoring
There are two Par-5’s on this course but both are going to be difficult to reach in 2 shots. Eagles and Birdies are always hard to come by at a U.S. Open so the making the Par 4’s count is going to be key.
Brooks Koepka won with a score of -16 last year, Dustin Johnson had -4 in 2016, Jordon Spieth had -5 in 2015, Martin Kaymer has -9 in 2014, and Justin Rose had +1 in 2013.
The favorite for the Wolf this week has to be Dustin Johnson at $9.00. When it comes to U.S. Open’s, Dustin Johnson is almost always in contention over the last few years. He had a bad year in 2017 but won in 2016, came 2nd in 2015, and 4th in 2014. He also just won the FedEx St.Jude Classic a week back. This course will force Dustin Johnson to club down for accuracy but he will still be one of the longest hitters in the field. His iron game is in good condition and he is making his putts with ease. He is a well-deserved favorite and the Wolf has no problem in going with the bookmakers on this one.
Dustin Johnson is 1st for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 1st for Par 4 Scoring, and 8th for Scrambling.
The Wolf’s value pick for this week is Henrik Stenson at $29.00. Stenson is a Major winner and is easily one of the most accurate golfers on Tour right now. That is a quality that will help him immensely this week. He also plays well when the wind is strong, another key attribute to have on this course. Stenson comes into this tournament on the back of some solid performances as well. He had three consecutive top-5 finishes a few weeks back and has not dropped below T26 in his last seven golf tournaments.
The stats also hold up very well for Henrik Stenson. He is 3rd for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, tied 1st with Dustin Johnson for Par 4 Scoring, and 6th for Scrambling.
At the price being offered, Stenson is the Wolf’s favorite bet this week.
For the long shot, the Wolf has chosen another supremely in-form player, Bryson DeChambeau at $36. There are several things going against DeChambeau. He may be a little short on experience when it comes to playing this course and his tendency to focus on the technical aspects of Golf can sometimes take a bit away from the creative side needed at Shinnecock.
He does, however, play well at tough courses and has been playing excellent golf over the last few weeks. Dechambeau won the Memorial a couple of weeks back, finished 4th at the Wells Fargo Championship, and was T3 at the RBC Heritage. He also finished 2nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks before that.
DeChambeau’s stats are not that bad either. He is 14th for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 19th for Par 4 Scoring, and 53rd for Scrambling.
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