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US Open Tips & Predictions: Back Bryson to go back-to-back

US Open tips and predictions: DeChambeau features
US Open tips and predictions: DeChambeau features

It's US Open week and golf tipster Jamie Worsley has picked out four golf tips for the third major of the season teeing off on Thursday at Torrey Pines.

Young South African, Garrick Higgo’s career continues to rise at a ridiculous pace, as he capitalised on Chesson Hadley’s struggles yesterday at Congaree to lift his first PGA title, just a matter of weeks after bagging his first European Tour title. If only Tyrrell Hatton could’ve putted a fraction better, he’d have been the one but he had to settle for 2nd in the end and a place. 

We now head off to San Diego, California for the third major championship of the year, the US Open at Torrey Pines.

US Open Tips

Golf odds

The South Course at Torrey Pines will this week play as a par 71 and up to 7652 yards. Originally designed and completed by William Bell in the 1950s, it has undergone a couple of renovations in the last 20 years, both at the hands of Rees Jones, most recently in 2019. The course is made up of four demanding par 3s, eleven par 4s (most difficult, some brutally so) and three par 5s. Most famously the 18th hole which will be the scene of much drama this week, with the sloping green protected almost entirely by water at the front and incredibly thick rough at the back. 

It is a regular stop on tour, with the course hosting the Farmers Insurance Open. Though the players only play the South Course three times during the week, with the first two rounds alternating between this course and the easier North Course. It typically offers a demanding test of golf and though the course will be setup a little different and more difficult this week, I still think there is some merit in form in the event.

Speaking of that different setup, the main difference between this tournament and the Farmers in January will simply be the speed of the course, both on the fairways and on the difficult, undulating poa annua greens. Added to the that, the rough will be thicker and some fairways narrowed to create a traditionally more demanding US Open test.

The course has held the US Open on one previous occasion, back in 2008 when Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff. The score required to get into the playoff that week being -1, underlining how the difficulty of the course can be ramped up for the US Open.

Looking at potential correlating courses, particularly from recent events, I came up with three from 2021. The Genesis Invitational at Riviera, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. All long courses with thick rough and played under firm and fast conditions this year, with Riviera the standout comparison due to the brutally fast poa annua greens.

With no rain in the forecast, there should be little to stop the USGA getting those firm conditions. There is also little in the way of wind, with a mild breeze on the forecast currently, though as the course is on the pacific coast, that could all change.

The field is obviously strong, with all the best players in the world showing up, as well as a great mix of qualifiers looking to make a name for themselves on one of the biggest stages of the year.

Bryson DeChambeau each-way (9 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-06-14 17:00 Odds subject to change.

As with most elite events, I expect it to be won by an elite player. Someone from the top 15 or so in the betting and all things considered, I think last year’s US Open champion, Bryson DeChambeau has a great chance to make it back to back wins in the championship.

It’s easy to forget just how easy a winner he was last year, as a final round 67 helped him on his way to a facile six shot victory over Matthew Wolff. The course that week, Winged Foot, has many similarities to this year’s test at Torrey Pines. Long, firm, thick rough and tough poa annua greens. They said he couldn’t bomb his way around there and hack it out of the rough, he proved them wrong emphatically.

He’s the best driver in the game at the minute, ranking 1st off-the-tee and that has continued to be the story of his success this year, along with a quality putter and a more solid short game than he’s given credit for. He hasn’t missed a cut since the Genesis, recording a victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which as mentioned could be a good comp this week and also finished 9th four starts ago in the Wells Fargo, another of those three events I mentioned.

His win last year really shouldn’t have been a surprise, as he had a rock solid US Open record since turning pro, with finishes of 15th, 25th, 35th and just the one missed cut before taking the title last year.

No doubt there will be plenty of attention paid to his current “spat” with Brooks Koepka but I expect him to put that to one side here in his home state and could well replicate Koepka as the most recent back-to-back winner of the event.

Viktor Hovland each-way (10 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-06-14 17:10 Odds subject to change.

Coming in off the back of a couple of underwhelming performances, I’m willing to overlook them as Hovland looks an ideal fit for the challenge that awaits this week.

He’s a terrific ball-striker and particularly excellent off-the-tee, where he ranks 5th this season, possessing that combination of power and accuracy that most don’t. The main issue with Hovland would be with the short game but he continues to make strides in that respect, where he’s improved from being 168th around-the-greens last year, to moving inside the top 100 this. A generally solid putter and has shown an ability to handle poa annua greens.

Beyond this he has a really excellent book of form this season which suggests this test will suit him as much as anyone. An excellent 5th in the Genesis, 49th in the Arnold Palmer and 3rd in the Wells Fargo. Top 5 finishes in two of the three events I singled out, as well as a 2nd place finish at this course this year, when he was runner-up to Patrick Reed in the Farmers Insurance Open.

His US Open record is excellent, where he finished 12th on debut at Pebble Beach in 2019 and followed that with a 13th place finish at Winged Foot last year.

He’s shown an ability to win golf tournaments, with two PGA Tour victories so far and though those weren’t in strong events, he does very much look like a major champion in waiting. I see no reason why his excellent record in US Opens won’t continue and hopefully progress this week.

US Open Odds
Scottie Scheffler each-way (10 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-06-14 17:10 Odds subject to change.

It may be a bit of a stretch to expect the talented Texan to pick up his first win above Korn Ferry Tour level in a major championship but everything about this week’s course points to a potentially big week for Scheffler. 

He’s currently in excellent form, finishing 8th in the PGA Championship three starts ago. He followed that with a MC at Colonial the week after but bounced back with a 3rd place finish in the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago on his latest start.

Another superb ball-striker, he has the combination of being an excellent, long driver, where he ranks 12th off-the-tee and also possesses a superb short game, where he’s currently the 27th best player on tour around the greens. I think this combination of good, long driving and being good around the greens are the vital ingredients to success this week. 

He also went well in the previously mentioned Genesis Invitational earlier in the year where he finished 20th. Three US Open starts to his name, with two missed cuts and a 27th place finish, though two of those were when he was still an amateur.

He’s already showing great major credentials, with top 20s in each of his last four. 19th and 18th at The Masters and 4th and 8th in the PGA Championship the last two years. He looks set to add a quality performance in the US Open to that resume this week.

Max Homa each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-06-14 17:15 Odds subject to change.

California’s own Max Homa is the final selection and I think he’s got the perfect chance to finally make his presence felt in major company. I say this because as mentioned, he’s playing in his home state but also at a course he feels comfortable. Recording 18th and 9th place finishes in his last two visits here.

This year’s Genesis Invitational winner is developing a really good book of form at tough, long courses. As well as that win at Riviera, he’s also finished 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and 6th at the Memorial Tournament in his last start, as well as being a past champion at the Wells Fargo, where he had his breakthrough victory in 2019. 

He’s a good ball-striker, longer off-the-tee than accurate and a good putter, particularly putting up some good numbers on poa annua greens, which could really make him a standout this week.

His major record doesn’t make for great reading. He’s only made one cut, in the 2019 PGA Championship but he’s a constantly improving player and hit the ball really well last time out at Muirfield Village. This week looks like a great opportunity for him to transfer some of that excellent PGA Tour form to the major stage.

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