From one countries National Open to another as the players shift their focus from the RBC Canadian Open to the 119th U.S. Open. The third Major of the season takes the Tour and the best players in the world to the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links for the sixth time as the host of the United States Open. As with every Major, the field is absolutely loaded and is led by World #1 Brooks Koepka and World #2 Dustin Johnson who have combined to win the last three U.S. Opens and could have been four(DJ choke at Chambers Bay). The field of 156 players will be cut down to the Top 60 and ties(no MDF) after round two.
While we are very familiar with the course with the Annual PGA Tour stop for the Pebble Beach Pro Am, it is going to be much different for the U.S. Open. First of all, the Pro-Am event is played with a three-course rotation and only players making the cut get two cracks at Pebble. The course will also be playing much different this week as well as the USGA and grounds team at Pebble have grown out the rough and narrowed the fairways which is going to put a ton of emphasis on hitting fairways to have any chance at hitting the green in regulation and having a birdie chance. The greens are also very small at Pebble which also puts a ton of emphasis on approach shots that will come from many different distances as there are four Par 4’s list under 400 yards, four between 400 and 450 yards, one between 450 and 500 yards, and two over 500 yards. That includes the monster 2nd hole(516 yards) that was converted from a Par 5 making the course a Par 71 for this event. With the small, undulating greens and emphasis on hitting fairways which could lead to some irons off the tee, not even the top players will hit every green. This has me also weighing in some Scrambling/Stroke Gained: Around the Green stats into my model along with putting performance on Poa greens.
Overall, this course will be testing every facet of a players game this week so narrowing down key stats is very tough. What I have found to work best is run a few different models and find the players who pop up in all or the majority of those.
From a lineup construction standpoint, we can go a ton of different ways as the pricing is once again fairly soft for a major championship. With just 60 players(plus ties) making the cut out of 156 total, getting 6 out of 6 through the cut will be harder than normal. With that, I will be building a more balanced cash lineup this week and it is much easier doing this as so many players come in underpriced with the soft pricing.
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Let’s take a look at some of the course info, previous winners, and then jump into the picks.
Previous Five Winners
2018(Shinnecock Hills) - Brooks Koepka (+1)
2017(Erin Hills) - Brooks Koepka (-16)
2016(Oakmont) - Dustin Johnson (-4)
2015(Chambers Bay) - Jordan Spieth (-5)
2014(Pinehurst) - Martin Kaymer (-9)
2010 U.S. Open(Pebble Beach) - Graeme McDowell (E)
Approach Shot Distribution
*Stats from my sheet and Fantasy National*
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Par 4 Scoring
Par 5 Birdie or Better %
Putting Performance on Poa
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