John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
- Jason Day (18-1) has the length and short game to thrive around Shinnecock’s tricky U.S. Open setup.
- Brooks Koepka (45-1) finally looks healthy and is coming off a final-round 63 at The Players.
- The tee-to-green prowess of Bryson DeChambeau (80-1) will serve him well at Shinnecock.
With Webb Simpson’s lights-out Players Championship victory in the rearview mirror, the golf world will now shift its focus to the second major of the season: the U.S. Open.
Next month, Shinnecock Hills will host the tournament for the fifth time. Historically, Shinnecock has been a shorter course where distance off the tee was nice, but not a requirement. That may change this year with nearly 500 yards added to the course since the last U.S. Open in 2004, stretching the overall length to 7,446 yards.
Here’s a look at a three guys who could benefit from the changes:
Day has already picked up two wins this year and is available at 18-1 on Bovada. The Australian has really driven the ball well this year and made up for some shoddy iron play with an elite short game. He ranked fourth in strokes gained-around the green and first in strokes gained-putting entering his fifth-place finish at The Players.
With a brutal set up likely on tap for the best players in the game, Day’s ability to scramble is going to be key for minimizing the bogeys.
And take a look at where he’s been playing his best golf: Day’s two victories came at Torrey Pines and Quail Hollow, both of which have held major championships before. He also finished tied for second at Pebble Beach, a former U.S. Open venue.
And despite all his success this year, there is still some room for his game to improve. He ranks outside of the top 150 in strokes gained-approach, but if he gets those irons clicking in the next month, he’ll be even more dangerous at Shinnecock.
The defending U.S. Open champion fell off the radar for four or five months because of a wrist injury, but if Sunday’s 63 at The Players is any indication of where Koepka’s game is at, then he’s definitely a threat to go back-to-back.
The U.S. Open is one of the toughest tournaments to defend, but Koepka has the length and the short game, similar to Day, that should fit Shinnecock well. And at 45-1 on Sportsbook.ag, he’s got some value.
DeChambeau has been on the cusp of victory a few times this year. He has three top-four finishes and is one of the best tee-to-green specialists in the game, ranking 14th in strokes gained-tee to green before The Players. He’s also gained strokes with the putter this season, which had been a struggle for DeChambeau in his first couple of seasons on Tour.
The 24-year old is available at 80-1 on Sportsbook.ag. Considering he was 50-1 at The Players, that’s some pretty good value for a player on the cusp of victory.
We already saw at the first major, Patrick Reed strung together a bunch of solid finishes before everything clicked at Augusta. DeChambeau may be in that same mold.