Tony Finau Among Best Mid-Tier Values at Shinnecock
Jason Vinlove – USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tony Finau
Patrick Reed’s win at the Masters continued a run we’ve seen recently in majors. Players from outside the group of elite favorites have been breaking through to claim golf’s most prestigious titles.
Reed’s victory meant that six of the last seven major winners entered the week at +3000 or higher. Jordan Spieth’s win at the 2017 Open Championship was the lone exception over that span.
After a stretch of three U.S. Open winners in four years being shorter than +2500 with Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson claiming victories, Brooks Koepka brought it back to the mid-tier range by claiming the title last year at +4000.
During the majors, this range is a spot I like to target because you can find golfers who have the talent to win in a stacked field.
Paul Casey +5500
Casey finally broke a four-year winless drought by holding off Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship. He’s a tee-to-green dynamo, and that rates him highly in most statistical models and makes him a popular DFS play pretty much every week.
He was +2500 to win at Augusta just a couple months ago, and even though he’s been battling a back problem, he’s not half as likely to win the U.S. Open as he is the Masters.
His history at the tournament probably plays a role in the higher number. He has only one top-10 finish in a U.S Open. But every Open is different; there is no course history and no guarantee that any previous result has any impact on how a guy will set up at a different venue. Right now, Casey is trending in the right direction and could easily be a factor on Sunday. He’s someone I’ll add a Top 5 bet on as well at +1000.
Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Tony Finau +8000
I’m going to ride the distance narrative this week at Shinnecock, and few golfers are longer off the tee than Tony Finau.
Finau is among the best in the world off the tee, and his approach game is well above the tour average, ranking 22nd this season. It’s usually the putter that will hold him back, but his struggles on the green tend to be on Bermuda surfaces. When playing on Bentgrass or Poa Annua, like we’ll see this week, he actually gains strokes on the field.
The problem with Finau is he never seems to win. He’s got only one career PGA Tour victory. But that was part of the narrative with Koepka last year, and it didn’t hold him back. Finau has been close this year with two runner-up finishes this season. The set up should fit him, and he’s a guy who can contend. I’ll add a top 10 as well on him at +600.
Tommy Fleetwood +4500
Fleetwood was a betting favorite of mine throughout the spring but never found a way to come out on top.
I added him to my U.S. Open card in January at +6600 and still think he’s worth a look at his current price.
He’s started to slide back under the radar again even though he’s still playing pretty well. He finished T-7 at the Players in his last start in the United States. Since then he’s had a couple top-25 finishes in Europe.
Fleetwood’s strength comes in his tee-to-green game, but during his recent dip in form, he’s lost strokes either off the tee or with the approach in four straight events. The approach game was the primary culprit, but he gained four strokes with the irons at the Players. If he can carry that over to the U.S. Open this week, he’ll have a good chance to be in contention.
Louis Oosthuizen +6500
Oosthuizen is a guy who just has another gear at major championships. He’s won the Open Championship and completed the “silver slam” at the PGA Championship last year, giving him a runner-up finish in four majors.
He’s in the same price range with other guys I’d like to bet such as Patrick Cantlay, but at this point in their careers, I just trust Oosthuizen more to win when in contention.
The stats aren’t always going to point to Louis, because it’s clear his heart isn’t in random PGA tournaments at all times. But when all the stars are out, he has the ability to shine with the best of them. I like him as a top 5 bet in that +1000 range as well.