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US Open Betting Tips: Back Justin Thomas at Brookline

US Open 2022 Tips: Justin Thomas included in five selections at Brookline.
US Open 2022 Tips: Justin Thomas included in five selections at Brookline.

Nobody could’ve scripted the previous week’s golf any better. With the controversial LIV Golf Tour making it’s debut this week and grabbing all of the headlines for much of it, it was golf’s two main tours that finished the week taking all of the headlines.

Earlier on Sunday it was Swedish star in the making, Linn Grant who stole the attention of the golfing world as she waltzed to a nine-shot victory in the Scandinavian Mixed, making history by becoming the first female player to win an event on the DP World Tour and proved the merits of this new, innovate and hopefully game-growing golf tournament.

This was followed later yesterday evening, with a sensational final round of the Canadian Open. Justin Rose threatened a 57, then a 58, a 59, but settled for a 10-under 60. But he was merely the appetizer as Rory McIlroy retained the title he won three years ago, running out a two-shot winner over some of the brightest talents in the game, with Tony Finau eventually finishing 2nd but was chased by Justin Thomas and Sam Burns all day, amongst others, in a truly breath-taking final round made all the better by the atmosphere created by the Canadian fans.

Two tournaments abound with storylines and more importantly, played in the competitive spirit in which professional sport is supposed to. In the process seriously whetting the appetite for another big week this week.

US Open Tips

Just four weeks removed from the PGA Championship, which saw Justin Thomas lift the trophy at Southern Hills, we move onto our third major of the year, the US Open. This most difficult major has an average winning score of -5.6 over the last 10 renewals, in which thick rough and intended firm conditions are the order of the day.

This year we head to The Country Club at Brookline in Boston, Massachusetts. A famous old course that has hosted this event on three occasions: in 1913, 1963 and most recently in 1988. Though we have seen the course in the intervening years.

It hosted the prestigious U.S Amateur in 2013, which was won by Matthew Fitzpatrick but more famously was the host of the 1999 Ryder Cup. An event in which the U.S came out on top in a tight, fraught contest, earning that ’99 renewal the moniker of ‘The Battle of Brookline’.

The last three renewals of the U.S Open have seen three players picking up their first Major Championship. Gary Woodland won at Pebble Beach in 2019, Bryson DeChambeau was the run-away winner at Winged Foot in 2020, whilst last year it was Jon Rahm’s turn to pick up the title, winning at Torrey Pines.

Will we see another first time major winner this week in Boston?

The Course

The Country Club at Brookline is a 7264 yard par 70, designed originally by Willie Campbell in the late 1800s, making it one of the oldest courses in the U.S. Since we last saw the course, Gil Hanse, the man who also renovated last month’s PGA Championship venue, Southern Hills has been brought in to once again restore a course to something more in-line to the original.

A typical setup, with twelve par 4s, four par 3s and two par 5s. The par 4s looking particularly tough, with six measuring over 470 yards, five at 488+, in which three of them come within the first four holes.

There are a couple of less demanding ones, from a length point of view at least. The most notable is the 310-yard drivable 5th hole. A hole dominated by bunkers up the right hand side of the fairway and completely surrounding the sloped putting surface. Most players will take driver here throughout the week and it should be one of the most fun to watch.

The two par 5s, the 557-yard 8th and the 619-yard 14th would usually offer some of the better birdie opportunities, though both possess two of the smallest greens on the course and are full of danger. Certainly no gift of a birdie.

The par 3s are all interesting and will offer birdie chances, whilst being tough should you miss the surface. The standout the 131-yard 11th , downhill to a severely sloped, undulating green. It is surrounded by bunkers and rough, with any recovery shot coming from below the level of the green. 

This classic tree-lined course possesses many doglegging fairways, bordered by that typically thick US Open rough and strategically placed bunkers. Though the landing areas appear wide enough, many of them narrow the further you go up the fairways and with plenty of potential to find your approach shots blocked out by trees. It’s imperative that you drive the ball well this week.

This no new thing to a US Open, as each of the last five winners in which we have strokes gained stats ranked well off-the-tee, DeChambeau in 2020 and Brooks Koepka in 2017 both ranking 2nd, whilst Koepka again in 2018, Woodland in 2019 and Rahm last year all ranked in the top 22.

Though power may be an advantage, you won’t be able to spray it about all over the place if you want to find these predominantly small, sloped and slick poa annua/bentgrass greens. They’re going to be tough to find this week from the fairway, let alone if you’re hacking it out of this rough. 

If you do indeed find the fairways, your iron game is going to have to be on point, as mentioned, these greens are small, even if some have been enlarged during the renovations and they are abound with penalty. In the shape of more of that brutally thick rough, steep run-off areas and deep bunkers.

Quality iron-play is always a key ingredient in top-level golf and the US Open is no exception. Each of the last five winners have ranked top 6 in approach for the week. With DeChambeau in 2020 and Koepka in 2018 ranking 1st. Further to this the last seven winners have all ranked top 5 for greens-in-regulation, with none of the last ten winners ranking worse than 18th.

In addition to this, looking at those lengthy par 4s, I expect a lot of approach shots to fall within that 150-175 yard range, potentially up-to nine of the holes falling into this range for most. So feel it will be important to also look at players who excel from this distance with their irons.

Simply put, you’re going to seriously struggle if your ball-striking is off this week. There is trouble all over the course and you’re going to have to avoid it as much as you can, putting as little strain on your short-game as possible. 

Of course, greens will be missed, and everybody is going to need to scramble well when they find themselves out of position. I also think those greenside bunkers look particularly tricky this week and expect good sand players to have an advantage.

The Weather

Wind is forecast to be about throughout the week making a tricky course even trickier. We also have some rain in the forecast beforehand, though nothing too serious currently and temperatures are set to be relatively warm during the first three rounds, though cooling off on Sunday. 

US Open Trends

As iterated at the start, the last three winners of this event have all picked up their first major championship in doing so. If we go back a little further to Dustin Johnson in 2016, it’s actually five of the last six US Open winners picking up their first major, with Brooks Koepka going back-to-back in 2018 the only one already a major winner.

Though being a major winner is not a necessity, quality performances previously in majors is. Each of the last nine US Open winners had a finish of 6th or better in a major prior to winning, whilst the seven most recent winners had recorded a major top 10 in at least one of their two most recent major appearances before winning. 

Not just important to be in form and have previous major form but actually current major form, i.e, players who have played well in one or both of the first two majors of the year so far should be seriously considered.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be US Open form, as DeChambeau and Woodland both had modest records in the event when winning. Go a little further back to Martin Kaymer in 2014, who had a solid but forgettable US Open record, whilst Justin Rose had recorded three MCs in his four most recent US Open appearances before winning in 2013.

Correlating Courses 

I often find the US Open to be the most obvious major to correlate. Not least because there are many events on the PGA Tour that use courses that are on the major rota but also essentially, any course set up with tough, championship conditions could provide a clue. Though none of the courses play quite as tough as I’d expect TCC to play this week.

We don’t have to go back too far to find one such course and that’s the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, which took place just two weeks ago. Thick rough and firm conditions were on show there, where Billy Horschel produced an excellent display to pick up the title. Each of the last two winners of the US Open, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau, are past winners of the Memorial Tournament, as is 2013 winner, Justin Rose.

The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines makes sense as a US Open venue, hosting as recently as last year. Though the course setup for the Farmers Insurance isn’t as penal as when it hosts the US Open, it’s still a typically tough championship like test that suits the stronger ball-striking types. Jon Rahm and Justin Rose appear again as past champions of both the Farmers and US Open.

Quail Hollow, typically the host of the Wells Fargo Championship, is another course with major pedigree, having hosted the 2017 PGA Championship. A course with plenty of doglegs and thick rough. 2011 US Open champ, Rory McIlroy is a three time winner there, with other past winners of the US Open, such as Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson finishing runner-up.

The Riviera Country Club, host of the Genesis Invitational is a three-time major hosting venue. Having hosted one US Open and two PGA Championships. Typically set up to play firm and fast, with some testing rough. Also bearing similarities with this week’s venue with a drivable par 4 and tricky greenside bunkers. Dustin Johnson won there in 2017, the year after winning the US Open. With the likes of McIlroy, Spieth and Rahm all possessing strong performances there.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill has often provided a tough test but has stepped that up in the last few years and I expect it to be a real strong US Open pointer going forward. Conditions have been much firmer and the rough more penal over recent years, with leaderboards dominated by stronger ball-striking types. Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau are past champions. Whilst Spieth, Rose and Woodland have all recorded top 5s at the venue.

I also like the Honda Classic at PGA National as the other course that usually provides that tough all-round championship test. More in terms of the skillset that usually goes well there. We find McIlroy as a past champion, with Koepka and Woodland finishing runner-up there. Shane Lowry also finishing 2nd there this year and a runner-up in the US Open. 

Two more to consider, from a purely course similarities point of view to TCC are the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial and St Jude Classic/Invitational at TPC Southwind. Both courses are heavily tree-lined, doglegging and usually have the rough thick.

The Field

The main talking point about the field is undoubtedly the appearances of the LIV Golf players. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau et al are all expected to tee it up and with some of the back and fourths over the last week, there may well be a frosty atmosphere between some of the players in the locker room.

Aside from that it’s as you’d expect, a major championship field. Though Tiger Woods does skip this with the intention to get himself in a better state for the Open at St Andrews in a few weeks’ time.

Selections

I’m going to waste no time getting involved at the top of the market this week, as I’m backing Justin Thomas to emulate Brooks Koepka in 2018 by winning the PGA Championship and US Open in the same year. You can make very strong cases for everyone up there, Rory is in fine form, Scheffler is the form player of the year and Rahm has finally got the short-game firing, but it was Thomas that comfortably stood out for me.

US Open Odds
Justin Thomas each-way (9 places)
12/1
Odds correct as of 2022-06-13 16:20 Odds subject to change.

Thomas’ dramatic come-from-behind victory in the PGA Championship four weeks ago was a deserved reward for a player who’s been at the top of his game all year but hadn’t been able to get one over the line before picking up that title.

He’s teed it up thirteen times this year, with seven top 10 finishes and just the one missed cut, more than forgivable seems it came the week directly following his PGA Championship success, and he followed that by finishing 3rd in Canada last week on his next start.

The game is in fantastic shape across the board, continuing where he left off last season tee-to-green, where he ranked 3rd and ranks in the same position this year but has massively turned around his putting. Which sees him rank as the 40th best putter on tour so far this season, after ranking outside the top 100 last year.

The ball-striking is the standout area, ranking 6th in approach and 14th off-the-tee. In addition to this he ranks 2nd in the approaches from 150-175 yards stat mentioned earlier and 3rd out of the bunkers shows the all-encompassing quality he possesses to handle this week’s test.

That win in the PGA Championship was following an 8th place finish in The Masters earlier in the year, meaning he’s finished top 10 in both majors played so far in 2022 and represented his 2nd major success after winning the PGA Championship in 2017 at Quail Hollow. His US Open record is solid, with two top 10s in seven starts and I particularly like the 8th at Winged Foot in 2020 as a guide to this year’s iteration.

That win at Quail Hollow in 2017 not the only victory from the correlating courses mentioned. He’s also won the Honda Classic at PGA National and the St Jude at TPC Southwind. In addition to this are runner-up finishes at Muirfield Village and Riviera, highlighting his suitability further to a US Open like test.

Such is the talent of JT that two majors at this point leaves you feeling a little short-changed. I think that PGA success will act as a springboard to him having a serious time in the majors over the coming years and he can follow it by winning back-to-back majors this week in Boston.

Jordan Spieth each-way (9 places)
28/1
Odds correct as of 2022-06-13 16:20 Odds subject to change.

What has been a frustrating year for Spieth so far is one which many players would be mightily pleased with. He’s won once and probably should’ve won twice more, though all of this has been tempered with a hugely disappointing run of performances on the greens for a man once regarded as the best putter in the game.

Though there’s been some improvements in recent weeks, which culminated in him ranking 5th on the greens in his 18th place finish in the Memorial on his last start, producing his best putting performance of the year and if he can carry that into this week, marrying with a tee-to-green game that has been excellent pretty much all year and sees him ranked as the 10th best player on tour, he’ll be a serious contender to pick up his first major since 2017.

Spieth’s only victory came at the RBC Heritage, a week where he won thanks to a sublime T2G performance, 0.63 strokes a round better than anyone else, and one achieved in spite of a poor putting performance.

This win has brought about a strong consistent run of form for Spieth subsequently. Following that with a 2nd place finish in the Byron Nelson on his next start, 34th in the PGA Championship, 7th in the Charles Schwab Challenge and 18th at Memorial. More importantly he’s gained strokes on the greens in three of those four starts.

Spieth would’ve gone better in the Memorial if it wasn’t for an unusually poor week with the irons, in which he ranks 28th for the season. Combining that with 24th off-the-tee we find with the long game in excellent shape. He too ranks well in the 150-175 approach stat, in 19th.

He’s underperformed in the majors so far this year, missing the cut in The Masters, though that was following a poor run of form in general and was 34th in the PGA Championship, again looking good tee-to-green but struggling with the flat stick. We know his major prowess though. He’s a three-time major winner, winning The Masters and US Open in 2015, adding to that with the Open Championship in 2017. Though he hasn’t won one since then, he’s recorded seven top 4s in majors, including 2nd in last year’s Open and 3rd in The Masters.

Spieth has rediscovered his game in the last two-years, following a tough spell from 2018-2020 where he went without a victory. He’s won twice in the last two years, with the only thing missing another major, something he can pick up this week if able to maintain the recent revival seen with the putter.

Shane Lowry each-way (8 places)
30/1
Odds correct as of 2022-06-13 16:20 Odds subject to change.

One of the most in-form players in the world this year, Lowry really ought to have made it pay already by picking up a trophy. Though he continues to play well, finishing 10th last week in Canada thanks to continued excellence T2G, in which he ranked 3rd, let down by a disappointing week with the putter and looks set for another crack at a 2nd major this week.

Lowry’s quality this year has seen him finish outside the top 25 just twice in twelve starts, both of those finishes in the 30s and hasn’t missed a cut. Of those top 25s he’s had four top 10s, his best effort a 2nd in the Honda Classic, along with two third place finishes in The Masters and the RBC Heritage.

Lowry is simply doing everything well, ranking 17th on tour T2G and 24th in putting. A combination that well explains his strong run of results. However it’s with the irons in which he excels most, ranking 9th. The driver is solid, ranking 43rd, where he’s able to combine decent distance with accuracy. Added to an always strong short game, seeing him rank 2nd in scrambling and 6th in sand saves, we find a player who looks ideal for TCC at Brookline.

Lowry is a major champion, winning The Open in 2019. He’s also recorded top 5s in each of the other three, the most recent of those when 3rd in The Masters this year. His US Open record is good, possessing two top 10s, including finishing 2nd behind Dustin Johnson in 2016. Though in recent years he’s been solid if unspectacular, something he’ll be hoping to rectify this week with the form he’s in. 

He has some attractive bits of form at correlating venues. His unlucky 2nd in the Honda Classic this year the most recent example, with top 7s at the Memorial Tournament, St Jude and Farmers Insurance Open adding further encouragement. 

Lowry continues to knock on the door. If he can rectify the poor week with the putter he had last week he’s sure to make his name heard near the top of the leaderboard again this week.

Golf betting tips
Daniel Berger each-way (8 places)
50/1
Odds correct as of 2022-06-13 16:25 Odds subject to change.

Daniel Berger is a gritty competitor who excels in challenging conditions. Arriving here off the back of a good showing at Memorial last time out and at the major in which he’s performed best at in the past, he looks primed for another good showing this week.

His effort at Muirfield Village resulted in a 5th place finish, his second best performance of the year after finishing 4th in the Honda Classic, though also finished 5th in the Tournament of Champions. Outside of that he’s been consistent, with four other top 25s but has failed to threaten.

This primarily down to a player who is liable for the odd stinker on the greens but by and large he does everything well and when the putter fires, he usually goes well, such is the consistency and quality of his game tee-to-green. 

This consistent, steady profile sees Berger rank 16th on tour tee-to-green, owing to particular quality in approach, where he ranks 14th and is 10th in approach from 150-175 yards. He combines this with quality off-the-tee, more accuracy than power now and an excellent short game, ranking 9th out of the bunkers and 13th in scrambling.

It’s this that has engineered Berger’s good US Open record in which he’s recorded two top 10s and just the one missed cut in seven appearances. He’s also recorded top 10s in the Masters and Open Championship, with a best of 13th in the PGA Championship.

Berger’s a two-time winner at TPC Southwind in the St Jude, which should bode well and also has a victory at Colonial. In addition to this he has three top 5s in the Honda Classic and a career best 5th place finish in the Memorial Tournament last time out.

He’s a player who lacks the explosiveness of some of those at the top of the game, though I think his steady, does-everything-well profile will see him go well this week and produce the best major finish of his career.

Victor Perez each-way (11 places)
175/1
Odds correct as of 2022-06-13 16:25 Odds subject to change.

There are plenty of places on offer this week, so happy to take a flyer on someone at a huge price. Luke List appealed, possessing that strong ball-striking profile I like around here, whilst Seamus Power has the all-round quality to repeat his good performance at the PGA Championship. Though I’m going to take a chance on France’s Victor Perez. He won for us recently on the DPWT in the Dutch Open, producing a really strong performance tee-to-green, something he reproduced next time out at the Porsche European Open two weeks ago in Germany where he finished 3rd and can carry that hot form over to a third bash at the US Open. 

Perez had shown signs of life when finishing 8th in the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain. He followed that with a missed cut but bounced back with a 21st place finish in the British Masters and 33rd in the Soudal Open in Belgium before his win in the Dutch Open. 

The upturn in form has undoubtedly come from the quality of his ball-striking, in which he ranks 8th in approach and 36th off-the-tee on the DPWT this season. This on show in those two recent starts, where he ranked 6th in approach and 9th off-the-tee in the Porsche European Open and was 2nd off-the-tee and 21st in approach in the Dutch Open.

The short-game can misfire, and he’d have to be at his ball-striking best to go well this week, though he’s been good around-the-greens on those two most recent starts and holed some incredible putts when winning the Dutch Open. 

He’s played seven majors, missing the cut five times, with a best of 22nd in the 2020 PGA Championship. Though four of those missed cuts came last year when Perez was very much out of sorts.

He has shown plenty of form in other elite field events, the best of those a 4th in the WGC - HSBC Champions, finishing behind Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele, whilst last year he got to the semi-finals of the WGC – Matchplay. A 2nd place finish in a star-studded Abu Dhabi Championship field in 2020 adds further encouragement as to his ability to perform in such company.

After Perez secured his breakthrough victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2019, he just looked like a DPWT player with that bit of extra class, the type of which could take him to a higher level in the game. Those 4th place finishes in the WGC’s intimated to that further and with the strength of his ball-striking recently he can give a good account of himself this week in Boston.

Golf odds

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