Who are some players to watch at the 2015 U.S. Open?
This week, we head to Chambers Bay for the second major of the year. Regarded by some as the hardest golf course in America, Chambers Bay will likely cause a ton of bogeys, and the winning score will probably not be in the negatives. As this tournament is a links course, the European Tour players get a slight boost to those that play only on the PGA. Driving will be crucial this week, as will scrambling and putting.
Pick to Win:
Rory McIlroy (13/2): In the last four majors, McIlroy has finished fourth, first, first and 23rd. He is ranked first in total driving (eighth in driving distance), first in ball striking and is a top-notch scrambler and putter. While he hasn’t been playing so well in his last few European Tour tournaments, he is the top player in the world and knows link courses as well.
Players to Watch:
Brooks Koepka (50/1): Any course that requires distance off the tee makes Koepka an automatic contender. He has the distance that not many players on tour can claim to have, and this year has taken a step forward with his putter as well. He was playing injured for the middle of the season but is now healthy, with his T-third place finish last week being proof of that.
Ian Poulter (80/1): Poulter looks really good this year, and I don’t see him slowing down this week. Although he doesn’t have the distance of many of the players, he does have nine top-30s in 11 starts on the PGA Tour this year, which is not something many players can say. He is putting well, scrambling well and is good at total driving and ball striking. He also has good experience at links courses.
Russell Henley (125/1): Henley has two major things going for him, and one is his driving. He hits it far (ranked 37th in driving distance on tour), which is combined with great accuracy (ranked eighth in total driving). This mixed in with his outstanding putting should make him a threat to post a top-25, and perhaps more.
Byeong-Hun An (50/1): The young South Korean is now officially in the top-50 in the World Rankings, having finished top-25 in his last three tournaments, including an impressive victory at the BMW PGA Championship. He is ranked 13th in driving distance on the European Tour, as well as 30th in scrambling. As a fan who mostly watches and follows PGA tournaments, I am extremely excited to see how Byeong-Hun An does this week.
Branden Grace (125/1): By European stats, Grace is the top sleeper this week. He is ranked 19th in driving distance, 35th in scrambling, 25th in sand save percentage, and eighth in putts per GIR. He has made his last three cuts, with three of those being top-15s. There is a lot of potential in Grace this week, who is ranked 40th in the world as well.
Thomas Aiken (300/1): Aiken could be a good pick based on what you’re looking for. It is unlikely he’ll have a chance to compete for the win, but if the intention is just to find a made cut for cheap, he could be the guy to go to. He has made his last seven cuts worldwide, and is 10 for 12 making the cut in Europe this season. He is an elite driver, ranking 88th in Driving Distance and fifth in Driving Accuracy.
John Parry (500/1): I can guarantee that Parry won’t be a popular DFS play. I have a feeling not even the European Tour fans know much about this guy. However, Parry is coming into this week off of four made cuts in a row, and outside of driving distance has nice stats as well: 47th in driving accuracy, 25th in scrambling, 31st in sand save percentage and 66th in putts per GIR. Parry is only a recommended play in certain formats, where a made cut is all that is expected from him.
Robert Streb (100/1): There are only four players this week that are ranked in the top 100 in every important stat: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and…Robert Streb. This week, having a balanced skill set is highly crucial, as players will be faced with all types of situations. After the birth of his first child, Streb went through a rough patch, with five missed cuts in eight tournaments and no finishes in the top 40. He was having troubles with his putter, and personally I think he was having troubles adjusting to the balance of being a father and a professional golfer. With four straight top-30s, with the last three all top-20s, I believe he has figured out that balance. The Robert Streb that had five top-10s in eight tournaments, with no placings outside of the top 40 seems to be back, and he could be ready to add to that top-25 streak on a bigger stage.
Edited by Emily Berman.
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- Chambers Bay
- St. Andrews
- Pebble Beach