2021 U.S. Open Strokes Gained Buys: Tyrrell Hatton, 2 Others Stood Out Last Week
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrell Hatton
It was a watered down field this week at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree, but it certainly didn’t lack drama. Chesson Hadley came into the final round with a four-shot lead, which was quickly erased after just two holes. He bounced back and got his feet under him as he grew the lead back to two shots down the closing stretch.
Unfortunately, things went awry from there as he bogeyed each of the final three holes to lose the tournament by one shot to Garrick Higgo.
Higgo captured his third win in five starts, the first two coming on the European Tour. He closed with the top round of the late tee times on Sunday as his 5-under 66 was just enough to outlast a group of six others at 10-under on the week.
Higgo earns all the perks that come with a TOUR win including status on TOUR for two years, and a trip to The Masters in 2022. He likely won’t have too much time to take it all in as he and many other contenders on Sunday will jump on a flight across the country to head to Torrey Pines for this week’s U.S. Open.
Let’s take a look at the players that will carry some good form from Congaree into the third major of the year.
3 Buys for the U.S. Open
The best player in the field tee to green at the Palmetto Championship was not the winner Garrick Higgo, but Tyrrell Hatton. The Englishman put together an impressive display leading up to the greens as he was nearly a half shot better than the second best player tee to green and he was a full shot better that ranked third on the week.
Hatton relied on strong ball striking as he gained nearly three strokes on the field per round in the category. He was 10th in the field in strokes gained off the tee, and fourth on approach. The putter was undoubtedly the club that caused Hatton to fall one shot short of the leader at the end of the week as he lost strokes on the greens in three out of four rounds. He will need his full game to truly contend this week on a tough test at the U.S. Open and he certainly had most of it in top form this week in South Carolina.
The lead up into a major has everyone keeping tab on World No. 1 Dustin Johnson. He certainly wasn’t as sharp at Congaree as we have come to expect as he had a really sloppy round on Saturday, and started a bit sluggish on Sunday. Still, he was just one shot back of the lead down the closing nine of the final round before the wheels came off with a triple bogey on his 16th hole.
DJ still gained more than seven shots on the field tee to green for the week despite losing two strokes in the category in his third round. The first two days were the impressive Dustin Johnson form we have come to expect, and he provided some very apparent signs that his game is close — very close. He has had a lot of success on the west coast in his career, and it will be no surprise if he’s a factor down the stretch at Torrey Pines.
While length is always a factor at the U.S. Open, Matt Fitzpatrick seems to always find ways to overcome his short hitting. He was a player coming into the week at Congaree looking to find his game a bit after missing the cut in two of his last three events, and having some uncharacteristically bad approach play last week at the Memorial.
Fitzpatrick seemed to find something on the weekend in South Carolina as he went bogey free over his final 27 holes. His final round 66 was one of the best rounds of the day, and while the strokes gained categories don’t stand out, he was great throughout his bag.
The Englishman missed just three fairways and four greens on the day. This is exactly what he will be looking to do this week at the U.S. Open as that consistency and his hot putter give him the best chance to compete with the best players in the world.