US Open 2021: Koepka’s major record speaks for itself

After picking Garrick Higgo to win the Palmetto Championship last week, David Kristiansen turns his attentions to Torrey Pines as Bryson DeChambeau looks to retain the title he won back in September...

David Kristiansen

The U.S. Open returns to its regular spot on the PGA Tour schedule and will finish up at Torrey Pines South on Father’s Day.

Bryson DeChambeau, who took this title at Winged Foot last September, will bring his power game to the West Coast as Torrey Pines hosts the tournament for the first time since Tiger Woods’ victory in 2008.

Brooks Koepka was the last golfer to defend his U.S. Open title in 2018, while Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, and Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama will aim for their second major title at the weekend.

Course/Field

Bryson DeChambeau

Course: Torrey Pines South
Length: 7700 yards (Par 71)
Greens: Poa Annua
Opened: 1957
Architect: William F. Bell, re-designed by Rees Jones in 2001

Under a month since Phil Mickelson`s historic PGA Championship at Kiawah Island major golf is back and this time it is the US Open that is on the menu this week. The historic championship is this year taking place at Torrey Pines outside of San Diego California.

Besides late nights for us Europeans this means that we go to a venue we see each year at The Farmers Insurance Open but do not expect to see a course that plays anything like what we see each January.

Not only will the rough be up as it always is at USGA events, but it will also play firm and fast with no rain at all in the forecast. So, I would look more to US Open form than Farmers Insurance form.

Dustin Johnson Golf

Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:

Strokes gained approach With six par 4s over 450 yards, three of the four par 3s being over 195 yards and two of the three par 5s clocking in at 600+ yards the long irons will need to be sharp and the same can be said for the around the green and scrambling game as everybody will miss greens on the though layout.

The greens are lightning-fast small poa annua and is protected by thick rough, bunkers and some shaved off run-off areas.

There is a couple of different routes to being victorious this week, but it cannot be overlooked that the last five US open champions are DJ, Koepka x2, Woodland and Dechambeau all of them bombers and I would be surprised if that trend does not continue this year.

The other if less likely road to success is a killer short game combined with either hitting “all” the fairways or being crazy hot with your irons, players that would fall into this category would be the inform 2015 US Open champ Jordan Spieth and the Farmers winner here from earlier in the year Patrick Reed.

  • Long irons
  • Driving distance
  • Poa putting
  • Around the green
  • Strokes gained off the tee

Betting history

Justin Thomas Golf

2019-20 season

Wagered: +35.61 units
ROI:
121%

2020-21 season

Wagered: 261 units
Won: 524.92 units
Result: 263.92 units

Outright winners

Waste Management: Brooks Koepka 41-1, Genesis Invitational: Max Homa 56-1, The Players Championship: Justin Thomas 19-1, Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth 11-1, Palmetto Championship: Garrick Higgo 36-1

Picks

Brooks Koepka golf

Brooks Koepka @ 17.00
5pts to WIN

To start off with the one slight negative I can find on the four-time major champion; he has looked a little rattled on Sundays the past couple of times he has been in contention in a major most recently at the PGA Championship where Mickelson didn’t really have to perform at an elite level coming down the stretch as Brooks simply made to many simple mistakes.

So, to the positives: Koepka loves the majors and even admitted last week to struggling to keep focus in regular PGA events which in turn led to a missed cut but the same thing happened before the PGA and that did not stop him from going out in the last group on Sunday there.

When it comes to the US Open in particular his record speaks for itself having clinched two tiles and a runner up the last three starts in the championship.

Stats-wise, everything also checks out clocking in at 3rd in my model with top 20 rankings in approaches from over 200 yards, driving distance, general approaches, putting and strokes gained off the tee all while actually missing a couple of cuts in lesser tournaments.

Tyrell Hatton Golf

Tyrrell Hatton @ 51.00
2.5pts EW (1/5 the odds 7 places)

After being a little out of sorts for a few months it seemed that getting married revitalised the world number 11 as he came runner up last week losing over 3 strokes on the green, usually a good putter this should flip back and the rest of his game was immaculate – gaining 3 strokes around the green, over 4 off the tee and a whopping 7.4 strokes with his approaches.

Even though he is not the longest off the tee he has a T6 and a T21 to go along with a missed cut over the past three US Opens.

Add to that that he ranks 3rd in the field from over 200 yards and that poa is his preferred putting surface and its pretty clear in my mind that we get some value on Hatton getting his first major title this week.

Golf

Garrick Higgo @ 51.00
2.5pts EW (1/5 the odds 7 places)

Higgo got the job done for us last week and while this is a drastic step up in terms of event and field strength it cannot be overlooked that he has now won three of his last five starts worldwide.

The course should set up perfectly for the up-and-coming South African who gained in all facets last week. And while his fellow countryman Nienaber gets all the attention for being extremely long Higgo is no slouch having had the 4th longest drive of the week and ranking 32nd in total driving distance while clubbing down on a lot of holes last week.

Like last week this is a bet on the upside and my analysis that the 22-year-old will be a top 10 to 20 player in the world soon.

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