2023 U.S. Open PrizePicks: Scottie Scheffler, Rickie Fowler Among Third-Round Plays
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Rickie Fowler
Round 2 of the 2023 U.S. Open is now in the books, as the course played significantly tougher on Friday.
Currently, Rickie Fowler holds a one-stroke lead over the rest of the field at 10-under.
With the cut behind us, the field is narrowed down and the tournament is still wide open considering how difficult LACC is likely to play over the weekend.
Below, I give out my four Round 3 PrizePicks plays for the 2023 U.S. Open.
U.S. Open Round 3 PrizePicks Plays
Scottie Scheffler: Round 3 Less Than 69.5 Strokes
Scottie Scheffler has shot a 68 or lower in each of the first two rounds, and there's little reason to expect anything different over the weekend.
Scheffler is playing some terrific golf, ranking fourth among the field in strokes gained on the approach, 14th in greens in regulation percentage and fourth in strokes gained tee to green.
Once again, his putter is likely the only reason he's not further up the leaderboard, as he ranks 47th in strokes gained putting.
However, this is the same story told over and over again this year with the world's No. 1 golfer, so I'm not too concerned about his putter drastically cutting his score over the weekend.
Not only has Scheffler made each of his past 15 cuts, but he's also finished inside the top 12 in all 15 of those events.
Additionally, he's finished inside the top 10 in seven of his past nine major appearances.
Scheffler has now shot a 69 or lower in 16 of his past 22 rounds.
Rickie Fowler: Round 3 Less Than 71 Strokes
The books are predicting some decent regression from the tournament's current clubhouse leader, but I'm not buying it.
Fowler has shot a 68 or lower in each of the first two rounds, and while we could see some slight regression on Saturday, I think three strokes is an over-adjustment.
Fowler is playing as good of golf as he was when he finished in the top 5 in all four majors in 2014.
In fact, the entire 2022-23 campaign has been a sort-of renaissance for the 34-year-old.
Fowler has made 15 of his 17 cuts this season and has a whopping 12 top-25 finishes. It's safe to say that the decision to go back to his old swing coach has paid dividends for the fan-favorite.
There's good reason to believe that Fowler will keep it going over the weekend, primarily because there's currently not a flaw in his game. His driver is staying accurate while his ball striking has been strong, ranking eighth among the field in strokes gained on the approach and second in strokes gained tee to green.
However, the most dominant part of this game has been his putter, which has been nearly lights out this week.
With how well Fowler has been playing in all facets of the game, I don't buy a three-stroke regression on Saturday.
Sam Bennett: Round 3 Less Than 72.5 Strokes
In a similar fashion to Fowler, I could see some slight regression from Sam Bennett on Saturday. But 72.5 feels like an over-adjustment.
He shot a 68 or lower in each of the first two rounds, and the confident Texas A&M product even talked about how he felt he left a lot of putts out there following Friday's performance.
There's no doubt that Bennett will have his PGA TOUR card soon, given that he continues to thrive among the best in the world when given the opportunity.
Not only did he finish T16 at the Masters Tournament as an amateur this year, but he also finished T20 at last week's RBC Canadian Open.
Now Bennett enters the third round of the U.S. Open tied for sixth with Scheffler at 8-under. Not too bad for a 23-year-old who was still in college just a few months ago.
Bennett's ball striking suggests that this much regression is unlikely, as he ranks seventh among the field in strokes gained on the approach, eighth in strokes gained tee to green and eighth in greens in regulation percentage.
His driver has also been one of the most accurate all week (second) and his putting has been good enough (38th).
Dustin Johnson: Round 3 More Than 71 Strokes
One guy to fade on Saturday is Dustin Johnson, who's T6 alongside the aforementioned Scheffler and Bennett. While Johnson has shot a 70 or lower in each of the first two rounds, now might be the time to sell on the former U.S. Open Champion.
Round 2 was quite an adventure for DJ, who started the round four-over through the first two holes thanks to his snowman on No. 2.
However, he settled in after that as he shot four-under the rest of the round to finish Friday with an even-par.
Now we're onto the weekend, which has given him some trouble this year. After making the cut, he finished 48th at the Masters Tournament and 55th at the PGA Championship.
Most importantly, I don't think his 12 birdies through the first two rounds are sustainable.