U.S. Open 2018 Preview

The 2018 US Open is one of the four majors that every golfer aims to win. Our experts the analysts, take an in depth look at the upcoming tournament with this detailed preview.

Venue Name

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course, New York, June 14-17, 2018

Course Details

Historically the U.S Open has placed a premium on driving the ball straight, with its renowned narrow fairways and thick rough. In recent years the fairways have become wider, the U.S Golf Association reflected on the U.S Open last year at Erin Hills, and have made a decision to narrow the fairways marginally. The Par 70 layout has also been lengthened by 446 yards and fairway bunkers will now be closer to the line of play. We will see a different looking layout to that of the 2004 Championship at Shinnecock Hills and I believe that the fairways are still on the generous side for a typical U.S Open, averaging 28-34 yards in landing areas, therefore the shorter straighter players may be disadvantaged.

Weather Report

Thursday – A few passing clouds. Low 53F. Winds light and variable

Friday – Partly cloudy. Low 57F. Winds W at 5 to 10mph

Last 10 Winners and Runners Up

YearWinnerRunner Up
2007Angel CabreraJ Furyk*, T Woods*
2008Tiger Woods*R Mediate
2009Lucas Glover P Mickelson*, D Duval, R Barnes
2010Graeme McDowell*G Harvet
2011Rory McllroyJ Day*
2012Webb Simpson M Thompson, G McDowell*
2013Justin Rose J Day*, P Mickelson*
2014Martin KaymerE Compton, R Fowler
2015Jordan SpiethL Oosthuizen, D Johnson*
2016Dustin Johnson* J Furyk*, S Piercy, S Lowry
2017Brooks KoepkaH Matsuyama, B Harman

Players contending more than once *

Players contending more than twice **

Top 20 World Rankings performance at the event the past 5 years

Player20172016201520142013Adjusted Scoring Average
1.        Justin Thomas 280 (T9)288 (T32)DNP148 (MC)DNP71.83
2.        Dustin Johnson**148 (MC)276 (1st)276 (T2)281 (T4)297 (55th)71.2
3.        Justin Rose 146 (MC)148 (MC)285 (T27)283 (T12)281 (1st)71.75
4.        Jon Rahm 149 (MC)287 (T23)DNPDNPDNP72.75
5.        Jordan Spieth289 (T35)289 (T37)275 (1st) 283 (T17) 153 MC)71.75
6.        Rory Mcllroy* 149 (MC)148 (MC)280 (T9)286 (T23) 294 (T41)72.45
7.        Rickie Fowler278 (T5)151 (MC)154 (MC)279 (T2)287 (T10)72.05
8.        Jason Day**154 (MC)282 (T8)280 (T9)281 (T4) 283 (T2)71.3
9.        Brooks Koepka** 272 (1st) 284 T13)283 (T18)281 (T4)DNP70
10.      Hideki Matsuyama 276 (T2)152 (MC)283 (T18)288 (T35)287 (T10)71.6
11.      Tommy Fleetwood**277 (T4)DNP 285 (T27)DNPDNP70.25
12.      Paul Casey* 286 (26th) 148 (MC)286 (T39)294 (T56)295 (T45)72.75
13.      Patrick Reed 282 (T13)148 (MC)282 (T14)288 (T35)DNP71.6
14.      Sergio Garcia**284 (T21)280 (T5)283 (T18)288 (T35)295 (T45)71.5
15.      Henrik Stenson 147 (MC)W/D285 (T27)281 (T4)291 (T21)71.87
16.      Marc Leishman*287 (T27)286 (T18)150 (MC)DNP153 (MC)73
17.      Alex Noren 150 (MC)152 (MC)148 (MC)DNP DNP74
18.      Francesco Molinari 147 (MC)DNP285 (T27)286 (T23)152 (MC)72.62
19.      Bubba Watson*148 (MC)292 (51ST) 147 (MC)146 (MC)293 (T32)73.2
20.      Phil MickelsonDNP147 (MC)293 (64th) 287 (T28)283 (T2)72.25

Note – Defending champion Brooks Koepka has very strong form at the U.S Open, the only query is, he is not long back from injury. Dustin Johnson and Jason Day also have good consistent form at the event and are both in good current form, therefore they could easily find themselves in contention again. Rory Mcllroy has struggled at this event the past couple of years, along with Justin Rose. It will be interesting to see how they both fair this year, as they are in strong form.

Poor Form* Alex Noren leads the way with the worst form at the U.S Open, Marc Leishman, Bubba Watson, John Rahm, Paul Casey and Rory Mcllroy also have a poor adjusted stroke average the past 5 years. John Rahm’s has only played twice though.

Good Form** Brooks Koepka leads the way with lowest stroke average the past 5 years, Tommy Fleetwood is not far behind on 70.25, however Tommy has only played twice. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Sergio Garcia are the other three notables with strong form at the U.S Open.

Top 20 World Rankings Current Form Review

The top 20 players and their last 5 events with placings

PlayerEvent 1Event 2Event 3Event 4Event 5Adjusted Scoring Average
1.       Justin ThomasT8T11T21MCT1770
2.       Dustin Johnson** 1st T8T17T16T1068.7
3.       Justin Rose**T61stT23 T19T1268.55
4.       Jon Rahm**T5 T63MC4TH 1st68.94
5.       Jordan SpiethMCT32T21 T41MC69.81
6.       Rory Mcllroy T82NDMCT16T569.72
7.       Rickie Fowler T8T14MCT212nd 69.5
8.       Jason DayT44T51st T34T2069.8
9.       Brooks KoepkaT30 2nd T11T42MC69.27
10.    Hideki Matsuyama*T13T16MC T761970.58
11.    Tommy FleetwoodT23T20T7MCT469.22
12.    Paul CaseyT5MCT151st T1269.72
13.    Patrick ReedT29T418th T7 1st 69.2
14.    Sergio Garcia*MC70MCMCMC72.83
15.    Henrik Stenson T26T13T23T19T569.3
16.    Marc Leishman T622nd T63MC9th 69.94
17.    Alex Noren T3T23T17MCMC70.37
18.    Francesco Molinari 1ST 2nd T17MCMC69.62
19.    Bubba Watson T44T57T28T5T6670.75
20.    Phil Mickelson T12T13MCT5T3670.61

Note –  Players in good current form averaging under 69 **

Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose are in peak form at the right time heading into a major. Dustin with his history at the U.S Open and current form review, will easily be my favorite for the tournament. John Rahm has also been in solid form winning the Spanish Open recently.

Players in poor current form averaging over 70 *  

Sergio Garcia has missed 4 of the past 5 cuts and is “way off” form. Hideki Matsuyama also continues his poor run form. Alex Noren despite a 3rd place at the BMW Championship, has been ordinary recently. Bubba Watson despite winning the Dell World Matchplay and 5th at the U.S Masters  is hard to “catch”, he is inconsistent in recent stroke play events, along with Phil Mickelson.

My adjusted Stroke Averages for the Top 20 World Ranked Players

PlayerAdjusted Stroke Average
1.       Dustin Johnson 69.56
2.       Tommy Fleetwood69.81
3.       Brooks Koepka 69.87
4.       Justin Rose 69.88
5.       Henrik Stenson 70.25
6.       Jason Day 70.28
7.       Patrick Reed 70.36
8.       Justin Thomas 70.39
9.       Jon Rahm 70.53
10.    Jordan Spieth 70.58
11.    Rickie Fowler 70.63
12.    Rory Mcllroy 70.69
13.    Paul Casey 70.76
14.    Phil Mickelson 70.92
15.    Hideki Matsuyama 71.02
16.    Marc Leishman 71.14
17.    Francesco Molinari 71.32
18.    Alex Noren 71.45
19.    Bubba Watson 71.51
20.    Sergio Garcia 71.72

Note – You can compare my rankings against the Betfair Market to find under’s and over’s

I am happy to oppose Sergio Garcia in any head to head tournament match betting, and top 10 betting for the U.S Open, as his form is not up to “scratch”. On the flip side Dustin Johnson is flying at present, and I think he will be very hard to beat. Brooks Koepka looks to be recovering well from injury and has a very impressive recent history at the U.S Open, must consider for any better along with Tommy Fleetwood, who are both “overs” in the market at $28 and $55 respectively.

In Play Trading Opportunities

Assess the scoring average of the morning players Day 1. If scoring is tough we could see an opposite market trend to what we normally see on the PGA Tour week in and week out. What I mean by this is that players could easily shorten in the market after their morning round Day 1 until they commence play in the afternoon Day 2. The reason for this is because their position on the leaderboard could get better as the afternoon players Day 1 have to play two rounds before the morning players Day 1 go out again. Therefore if the course is playing tough like it normally does at a U.S Open, you should see the morning players Day 1 move up the leaderboard as the players on the opposite side of the draw come unstuck on the course playing 2 rounds.

I will be trading the 3rd, 4th and 6th holes on the front nine. These holes are where players are most likely to make mistakes from tee shots and miss greens. They are tough Par 4’s and wind direction could be a disadvantage. I will look to be placing a lay bet and then a back bet once they have completed the hole or series of holes. On the back nine I will be trading 14 & 18. The same as mentioned previously.

Note – Any in-play “backing” and “laying” strategies should only be applied if there is ample liquidity in the market and the back & lay markets are compressed.

Tactical Hints

I generally don’t like to back a leader after day 3 that is only leading by a shot, history shows on the PGA Tour that 75% of players leading by a shot entering the final round don’t win. They average worse than the yearly tour scoring average. This is great for two ball match betting, tournament betting etc. Something to keep an eye on!

Assess the odds of players in the clubhouse, compared to those on the course. As a general rule, players on the course are favored over those in the clubhouse, however if scoring is tough, players in the clubhouse may make up ground.

Before placing any 2 ball or 3 ball match bets, download the stroke averages of players Round 1, 2, 3, & 4 stroke averages from the PGA Tour Website. Assess if they are a fast finisher, slow finisher, quick beginner or slow beginner.

Betting Strategy

As mentioned previously, I generally don’t like to place any bets pre-tournament, this is usually done after round 2, there are too many starters in a golf tournament. There is value elsewhere in my opinion.

As of Tuesday morning this week there is large liquidity in the outright betting market, however not so for any of the other markets. Stay tuned for better betting opportunities in the post-cut article after Day 2.

You can set up a back & lay book off my rankings above, betting to under’s and over’s in the market.

LAY – Sergio Garcia for top 10 – 1 unit (If you can get matched at $5)

 BACK – Tommy Fleetwood for top 10 – 1 unit (If you can get matched at $8)

 BACK –  Dustin Johnson Top 10 – 3 units

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