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The US Open heads to the west coast this year, pitching up at a course that will be brand new to most of the field.
Los Angeles Country Club staged five LA Opens between 1926 and 1940 but this will be the first time it’s hosted a US Open.
And the word on the street suggests the wait will be worth it.
The par 70 which can be stretched to over 7,400 yards features an unusual mix of bermuda fairways and rough and bentgrass greens.
It’s described as a ‘thinker’s course’, a contrast to previous US Opens where brute force was a key asset.
Of course, long and straight wins on any track but this is unlikely to be fought out between bombers. Shorter players should be able to contend too.
Europeans have won the last two editions of this event via Jon Rahm (Torrey Pines) and Matt Fitzpatrick (The Country Club) although they followed on from six straight wins for home players.
This year in the Majors it’s one each for Europe (Rahm, Masters) and the US (Brooks Koepka, PGA).
That same ratio applies to the betting market too with the top six comprising three Americans (Scottie Scheffler, Koepka and Patrick Cantlay) and three Europeans (Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland).
Champion and winning score
Matt Fitzpatrick (England) -6 (The Country Club)
Jon Rahm (Spain) -6 (Torrey Pines)
Bryson DeChambeau (US) -6 (Winged Foot)
Gary Woodland (US) -13 (Pebble Beach)
Brooks Koepka (US) +1 (Shinnecock Hills)
Brooks Koepka (US) -16 (Erin Hills)
Dustin Johnson (US) -4 (Oakmont)
Jordan Spieth (US) -5 (Chambers Bay)
Martin Kaymer (Germany) -9 (Pinehurst No.2)
Justin Rose (England) +1 (Merion)
LACC is a par 70 measuring 7,423 yards from the tips
It was designed by George Thomas (Riviera)
The course has five par 3s and three par 5s
Fairways are generous but the course will play firm and fast
LACC has bermuda fairways and rough but bentgrass greens
Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa played the 2017 Walker Cup there
Scheffler has a win, two seconds, five other top 10s and a further pair of 20s in the Majors since the start of 2020. This season: 10th at The Masters and tied second at the PGA. His tee-to-green numbers are off the scale right now but the putter has gone stone cold. Should it heat, the 2022 Masters champion will be hard to stop.
Rahm won the last US Open to be staged in California, making birdie at 17 and 18 to secure a one-shot triumph at Torrey Pines. He added a second Major at April’s Masters and this could be a period when he racks up three, four and more. The Spaniard has two wins from his last three starts in California.
Koepka won four of the eight Majors he contested between 2017 and 2019, landing back-to-back US Opens at Erin Hills and Shinnecock. He reaffirmed his position as the most prolific Major winner since Tiger Woods by following a second place at The Masters with victory in last month’s PGA at Oak Hill.
Despite being Low Amateur in both the 2019 Masters and US Open, Viktor Hovland failed to make the top 10 in any of his first 11 Majors.
That’s actually quite a manipulated stat as he finished 12th and 13th in his first two cracks at the US Open and 12th in the 2021 Open Championship.
But there is no dispute now that the Norwegian has become an elite performer at this level.
In the last three Majors he’s finished tied fourth at the 2022 Open Championship, tied seventh in this year’s Masters and tied second in last month’s PGA Championship.
The groundwork has been laid; now it’s time for Hovland to get it done.
Victory two weeks ago in the Memorial Tournament highlighted his strong current form and that too was played in firm, fast conditions which bodes well for this week.
His driving, iron play and putting are all on point so Hovland looks a must bet at +1600.
I’ll focus on two former US Open winners in this week’s 72-hole match and back defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick to get the better of 2016 Oakmont winner Dustin Johnson.
Fitzpatrick, the hero at Southern Hills last year, will enjoy the firm conditions and arrives in fine form after a win (RBC Heritage) and four other top 20s in his last seven starts.
That run includes 10th at The Masters, ninth at Memorial and 20th in Canada last week.
DJ’s form is a little harder to assess but his last two starts show 54th in the PGA where he fired an opening 66 before a ragged run of three 74s.
He followed that with a modest 23rd in the LIV Golf event in DC.
Fitzpatrick gets the vote at -120 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Sepp Straka produced some stellar iron play to finish tied seventh in the PGA and looks great value at +550 with bet365 to bank a top 20 here.
The Austrian has since finished 29th at Colonial and 16th at Memorial on his latest start and in the latter he again ranked in the top four for SG: Approach.
In addition, he was 28th on his US Open debut at Pebble Beach in 2019 while he’s made the top 20 in two of his last three starts in California.
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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