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US Open: Expert Picks

Will Jason Day get his second Major Championship win at Oakmont?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

US Open
When: June 16th -€” 19th
Where: Oakmont Country Club
2015 Winner: Jordan Spieth (-5)


The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers and 1 C golfer that I think will do well as well as one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.

Oakmont Course -€” Designed in 1903 by Henry Fownes, this former farmland runs right along the Allegheny River Valley with very little water. What it lakes in water, it makes up for with an abundance of bunkers and very fast greens. It is considered one of the most challenging course in America. One of the most notable areas are the Church Pews bunkers which affect the 3rd and 4th holes. The last US Open here was in 2007 where Angel Cabrera won at 5 over par. "When I mark my ball..the coin even slides downhill." Sam Snead.


A: 
Jason Day -€” He has never won a US Open but let's run through his last ten finishes: Starting at January 31st with the Farmers Insurance Open (Cut), AT&T Pebble Beach (11th), Cadillac Championship (23rd), Arnold Palmer Invitational (1st) Dell Match Play (1st), Masters (10th), RBC Heritage (23rd), Zurich Classic (5th), Players Championship (1st) and Memorial Tournament (27th). That's 3 wins, 5 top ten finishes and 8 top 25 finishes NOT to mention, counting the pressure on the Players Championship (the little brother to the Major Championships), he has won 2 of the last 3 with a 10th place finish at the Masters being the one that got away.

B: 
Lee Westwood -€” He has been silently playing well over on the European Tour. His last 3 tournaments: Nordea Masters (8th), BMW PGA Championship (15th) and Irish Open (10th) then add in his Masters (2nd) and he's playing very well ON BIG STAGES. The devil will be in the details for Lee when he has to putt these fast greens but at the Masters he was just barely behind the field (1.71 putts per hole vs. avg field of 1.69) in putting and these greens should be somewhat commensurate.

Brandt Snedeker -€” I haven't selected Brandt since the Pebble Beach Pro Am in February for good reason, he missed some cuts. Here is the peculiar thing with Brandt though, he might miss one or two cuts but after that happens he's plays very well. Let's review the next two tournaments after the last 5 times he missed one-two consecutive cuts. Valero Texas Open (25th), Players Championship (MC), Franklin Templeton (1st), Hyundai Tournament (3rd), Deutsche Bank (44th),  BMW Championship (66th),  Bridgestone Invitational (33rd), PGA Championship (12th), Crowne Plaza Invitational (2nd), AT&T Byron Nelson (6th). Here's the cherry on top, despite the tournament moving around, here are the last 3 years at the US Open for him: 2015 (8th), 2014 (9th), 2013 (17th).

C:
Billy Horschel -€” In his last 12 tournaments he has 3 top ten finishes, 6 top 25 finishes, 8 top 40 finishes and no missed cuts. His strength is his composure and all-around game, he has no real weak point as he can drive well, get to the green and putt all within the top 75 on the tour. The last few big tournaments he's finished: Players Championship (28th), Masters (17th), PGA Championship (25th), Open Championship (30th), US Open (25th) and Players Championship (13th).

Sleeper Pick:
Jaco Van Zyl -€”
I'm going out on a big limb this week with my sleeper pick. He has one PGA Tour this season to his name and it was a 28th place finish at Dell Match Play. Meanwhile he's continued to crush the European Tour with top fifteen finishes in 5 out of 9 tournaments. Given his success as he travels all around Europe, I am speculating he can translate his game to Oakmont. His drive has power but his strength is more in his accuracy and approaches to the greens. He will likely struggle with the fast greens as putting is not his strong suit. He is currently 53rd on the OWGR (Official World Golf Rankings).

Last tournament results -€” FedEx St. Jude Tournament (156 total) -€” Picks: Mickelson Campbell, Koepka, Crane, Wesley Bryan
A: 2nd place
B: 34th place; 2nd place
C: 41st place
Dark Horse: 58th place

YTD Avg: (Average field of 131 people)
A: 34th place 
B: 37th place
C: 55th place
Dark Horse: 46th place

Fun factoid about this tournament: Francis Ouimet won the US Open back in 1913 in a three-man playoff against Vardon and Ray. It is speculated that this dramatic win sparked the widespread interest in golf in the United States.