Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's US Open Tips 2021

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Congratulations if you were on-board Garrick Higgo last week at prices up to 50/1. His rise through European Tour to PGA Tour winner has been astronomic. Now with a 2 year PGA Tour exemption, Higgo, who sits inside the OWGR top 40, has guaranteed top-level golf for the foreseeable future. Watching the likes of Hadley, English and Van Pelt collapse when staring at a victory highlights what a rare closer Higgo seems to be.

The 121st United States Open Championship from Torrey Pines South Course, La Jolla, Southern California, should be an absolute feast of golf. A typically long, gnarly and hopefully firm/fast test awaits on one of the most recognised, classical golf courses in the United States.

As per usual there are plenty of sub-plots for us golf punters to wade through. Can betting favourite Jon Rahm overcome his recent Memorial Tournament disappointment and enforced Covid isolation to take his first Major title? World Number 1 Dustin Johnson has been relatively quiet in 2021, but Torrey Pines is likely to suit as he looks to capture his 3rd Major title. And what about big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau, who defends the title he won at Winged Foot last September?

Before we talk the 2021 U.S. Open, the number of new visitors to Golf Betting System this week will be considerable. Welcome to you all and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, 5,900 strong+, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Maximise your U.S. Open research by listening to our in-depth preview podcast, U.S. Open Preview Podcast.

2021 U.S. Open Key Bookmaker Promotions

The 2021 U.S. Open looks to be the most competitive Major in recent history with a whole host of top players looking more than capable of winning at Torrey Pines. The third Major Championship of 2021, it’s great to see that a number of bookmakers have risen to the challenge with a fantastic range of additional each-way place promotions, giving you ever more opportunity to make a profit.

For those of you looking for independent analysis as to who are the best golf betting bookmakers offering the most each-way places in 2021, read our analysis available here.

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Course Guide: Since the first round of golf was played at Torrey Pines, South Course in 1957, the William F Bell-designed course has only hosted a single Major Championship. However the 2008 U.S. Open is remembered in almost mythical status as Tiger Woods captured his 14th Major title on virtually one leg, beating Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole Monday play-off.

The South Course at Torrey Pines, like Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course which hosted the recent PGA Championship, is a beast of a golf course. Take January’s Farmers Insurance Open when the course was extended to its tips, playing as a 7,765 yard, Par 72. The United States Golf Association, as is their want, have changed that for their 2021 U.S. Open Championship, with the course being set up as a stretching (to say the least) 7,685 yard, Par 71.

Torrey Pines South Course, San Diego, South California: Designer: Bell 1957, Rees Jones re-design 2001 and 2019; Course Type: Coastal, Classical; Par: 71; Length: 7,685 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 1; Fairways: Bermudagrass overseeded with Ryegrass; Rough: Kikuyugrass with Ryegrass 3-5″; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average featuring Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 11.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 72.36 (+0.36), Difficulty Rank 21 of 49 courses. 2013: 72.66 (+0.66), Difficulty Rank 16 of 43 courses. 2014: 73.80 (+1.80), Rank 6 of 52 courses. 2015: 73.52 (+1.52), Rank 6 of 52 courses, 2016: 74.50 (+2.50), Rank 2 of 50 courses. 2017: 72.77 (+0.77), Rank 14 of 50 courses. 2018: 72.81 (+0.81), Rank 8 of 51 courses. 2019: 71.73 (-0.27), Rank 18 of 49 courses. 2020: 72.53 (+0.53), Rank 7 of 41 courses. 2021: 73.34 (+1.34).

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Torrey Pines South, and how they compare to recent courses on Tour:

  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • Colonial: 250 yards from tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:27; 325:26; 350:23.
  • Ocean Course – Kiawah Island: Up to 50 yards wide.
  • Quail Hollow: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:32; 300:31; 325:30; 350:29.
  • Copperhead: 250 yards from the tee: 24 yards wide; 275:20; 300:21; 325:23 350:19.
  • Harbour Town: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:22; 325:26; 350:22.
  • Oaks Course: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:34; 300:29; 325:27; 350:26.
  • PGA National: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:27 350:25.
  • TPC Sawgrass: 250 yards from the tee: 31 yards wide; 275:32; 300:30; 325:28 350:20.
  • Bay Hill: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:33; 300:33; 325:39 350:29.
  • Riviera: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26 350:28.
  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • TPC Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes, other Rees Jones designs (including re-designs/renovations) include:

  • Aronimink GC – 2010,2011 A&T National + 2018 BMW Championship
  • Baltusrol – 2016 PGA Championship
  • Bellerive CC – 2018 PGA Championship
  • Bethpage Black – 2009 U.S Open, 2019 PGA Championship + 2012/2016 The Barclays
  • Blue Course, Congressional CC – 2011 U.S. Open + 2012-2014 & 2016 National
  • Blue Course, Royal Montreal GC – 2014 RBC Canadian Open
  • Dubsdread, Cog Hill GCC – 2009,2010,2011 BMW Championship
  • East Lake GC – Tour Championship
  • GC of Houston – Houston Open
  • Hazeltine – 2009 PGA Championship
  • Highlands Course, Atlanta Athletic Club – 2011 PGA Championship
  • Medinah Number 3 – 2019 BMW Championship

Course Overview: In 2019, Torrey Pines South Course received an ‘Open Doctor’ Rees Jones $14 million renovation, with this U.S. Open in mind. Jones and assistant Greg Muirhead added some tees and shifted around bunkers to help the course defend itself even more than standard. The most noticeable changes are at the par-5 9th and the par-4 10th, 15th and 17th holes. A new cross-hole bunker 50 yards short of the 9th green will make players have to think more when going for the green in 2 shots.

The 10th was always a relatively easy drive and wedge start to the back 9, but with a new back tee box the visual of the hole has changed dramatically with the left side of the fairway split with a bunker, while a right fairway bunker pinches the landing zone. The 15th has again been lengthened to now play at 480 yards. The 17th also features a new back tee box and a pinched fairway landing area. So the longest course on the PGA Tour schedule now plays even longer.

Torrey Pines South features 6, 450+ yard par-4s, whilst all 2 of the par-5s are over 600 yards in length. The famous par-5 18th will still play at a very attackable 565 yards, but with water front and the nastiest Kikuyugrass rough you have ever seen over the back of the green, it will be the perfect risk and reward closer.

The course features Poa Annua greens. The course also features gnarly Kikuyugrass rough, the likes of which is only seen here, at Riviera Country Club plus Chapultepec, which used to host the World Golf Championship event in February. Longer rough for the U.S. Open is guaranteed and will add significantly to the difficulty of the task. Longer and thicker Kikuyugrass rough means that the South Course will be extremely difficult in terms of proximity to the hole from the rough, or simply hitting a green in regulation.

It’s also imperative to note that the South Course’s Poa Annua greens are notoriously difficult to putt on, so look for those who have done well here previously or at Pebble, Riviera, Bethpage Black plus the recent U.S. Opens hosted at Oakmont (2016), Shinnecock Hills (2018) and Winged Foot (2020).

us open tips 2021

Winners: 2020: Bryson DeChambeau (-6); 2019: Gary Woodland (-13); Brooks Koepka (-8); 2018: Brooks Koepka (+1); 2017: Brooks Koepka (-16); 2016: Dustin Johnson (-4); 2015: Jordan Spieth (-5); 2014: Martin Kaymer (-9); 2013: Justin Rose (+1); 2012: Webb Simpson (+1); 2011: Rory McIlroy (-16); 2010: Graeme McDowell (E); 2009: Lucas Glover (-4).

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Stats | Farmers Insurance Open Stats | Recent Majors Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Shane Lowry and Paul Casey.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open, which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Driving Accuracy: 1) Brendon Todd; 2) Brian Stuard; 3) Chez Reavie; 4) Abraham Ancer / Brian Harman; 6) Corey Conners / Francesco Molinari; 8) Richard Bland / Bernd Wiesberger; 10) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 11) John Huh; 12) J.J. Spaun; 13) Collin Morikawa / Victor Perez; 15) Kevin Streelman; 16) Bo Hoag; 17) Kevin Na; 18) Akshay Bhatia; 19) Matthew Southgate; 20) Paul Casey / Sungjae Im; 22) Hideki Matsuyama; 23) Tom Hoge / Martin Laird; 25) Cameron Smith.
  • Greens in Regulation: 1) Francesco Molinari; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Paul Casey; 4) Cham Kim; 5) Daniel Berger; 6) Garrick Higgo; 7) Louis Oosthuizen / Jon Rahm; 9) Rory McIlroy; 10) Viktor Hovland; 11) Shane Lowry; 12) Charley Hoffman; 13) Brooks Koepka / Justin Rose; 15) Patrick Cantlay / Jason Kokrak; 17) Christiaan Bezuidenhout / Kevin Streelman; 19) Bo Hoag; 20) Charl Schwartzel / Webb Simpson / Jordan Spieth; 23) Richard Bland / Robert MacIntyre / Matt Wallace.
  • Scrambling: 1) Brian Harman; 2) Tyrrell Hatton; 3) Jordan Spieth; 4) Louis Oosthuizen; 5) Richard Bland; 6) Will Zalatoris; 7) Patrick Cantlay / Lanto Griffin; 9) Sam Burns; 10) K.H. Lee; 11) Viktor Hovland / Jason Kokrak; 13) Shane Lowry; 14) Chan Kim; 15) Abraham Ancer; 16) Bryson DeChambeau / Ian Poulter / Bernd Wiesberger; 19) Marcus Armitage; 20) Robert MacIntyre / Patrick Reed / Webb Simpson; 23) Tommy Fleetwood / Matt Kuchar; 25) Thomas Detry / Garrick Higgo.
  • Putting Average (Putts per GIR): 1) Akshay Bhatia; 2) Justin Suh; 3) Tyrrell Hatton; 4) Phil Mickelson; 5) Collin Morikawa; 6) Adam Scott; 7) Garrick Higgo; 8) Sam Burns; 9) Joaquin Niemann / Ian Poulter; 11) Billy Horschel; 12) Richard Bland / Scottie Scheffler; 14) Troy Merritt / Gary Woodland; 16) Harris English / Webb Simpson / Jimmy Walker; 19) Daniel Berger; 20) Cameron Smith; 21) Patrick Reed; 22) Dave Coupland / Adrian Meronk / Jon Rahm; 25) Charley Hoffman / Dustin Johnson / Shane Lowry / Rory McIlroy.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open, which includes both PGA Tour and European Tour events. Players’ rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Bryson DeChambeau; 2) Jhonattan Vegas; 3) Jon Rahm / Jordan Smith; 5) Abraham Ancer / Paul Casey; 7) Hideki Matsuyama; 8) Adrian Meronk; 9) Patrick Cantlay; 10) Scottie Scheffler; 11) Corey Conners / Bubba Watson; 13) Dustin Johnson; 14) Collin Morikawa; 15) Akshay Bhatia / Sergio Garcia; 17) Brooks Koepka; 18) Viktor Hovland / Robert MacIntyre; 20) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 21) Charley Hoffman; 22) Francesco Molinari; 23) Tony Finau / Charl Schwartzel / Kevin Streelman.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Collin Morikawa; 2) Paul Casey / Charley Hoffman; 4) Sam Burns; 5) Rory McIlroy; 6) Tyrrell Hatton; 7) Stewart Cink / Viktor Hovland; 9) Chan Kim; 10) Louis Oosthuizen; 11) Daniel Berger / Hideki Matsuyama; 13) Richard Bland; 14) Patrick Cantlay / Corey Conners / Kevin Streelman; 17) Matthew Southgate; 18) Shane Lowry / Justin Thomas; 20) Jordan Spieth; 21) Marcus Armitage; 22) Jason Kokrak; 23) Xander Schauffele; 24) Christiaan Bezuidenhout; 25) Max Homa / Charl Schwartzel / Victor Perez.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Kevin Na; 2) Tommy Fleetwood / Webb Simpson; 4) Fabian Gomez; 5) Tony Finau; 6) Bernd Wiesberger; 7) Tyrrell Hatton; 8) Patrick Reed / Jordan Spieth; 10) Ian Poulter; 11) Robert MacIntyre; 12) K.H. Lee; 13) Harris English; 14) Richard Bland / Matt Kuchar; 16) Wyndham Clark / Zach Johnson / Martin Kaymer; 19) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Garrick Higgo; 21) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Branden Grace; 23) Matt Jones / Troy Merritt / Patrick Rodgers.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Viktor Hovland / Jordan Spieth; 5) Charley Hoffman; 6) Richard Bland / Patrick Cantlay / Tyrrell Hatton / Chan Kim; 10) Jhonattan Vegas; 11) Sam Burns / Rory McIlroy; 13) Jordan Smith; 14) Louis Oosthuizen; 15) Tony Finau / Shane Lowry / Hideki Matsuyama / Shane Lowry; 19) Corey Conners / Brooks Koepka / Bernd Wiesberger / Will Zalatoris; 23) Scottie Scheffler / Kevin Streelman / Justin Thomas.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Garrick Higgo; 2) Christiaan Bezuidenhout / Jason Kokrak; 4) Webb Simpson; 5) Troy Merritt; 6) Zach Johnson / Louis Oosthuizen / Brendon Todd; 9) Adam Scott; 10) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 11) Billy Horschel; 12) Stewart Cink; 13) Abraham Ancer / Marc Leishman; 15) Sam Burns / Joaquin Niemann / Xander Schauffele; 18) Sahith Theegala; 19) Viktor Hovland / Kevin Kisner / Sebastian Munoz; 22) Harris English / Branden Grace; 24) Thomas Detry; 25) Dave Coupland.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Collin Morikawa; 2) Richard Bland / Paul Casey / Louis Oosthuizen; 5) Jordan Spieth; 6) Sam Burns / Garrick Higgo; 8) Tyrrell Hatton; 9) Viktor Hovland / Jason Kokrak; 11) Abraham Ancer / Chan Kim / Rory McIlroy; 14) Jordan Smith; 15) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Adrian Meronk / Troy Merritt; 18) Patrick Cantlay; 19) Charley Hoffman; 20) Bryson DeChambeau / Brian Harman / Patrick Reed / Xander Schauffele / Webb Simpson; 25) Robert MacIntyre / Jon Rahm.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open, and only PGA Tour events. Players’ rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Bryson DeChambeau; 2) Jhonattan Vegas; 3) Jon Rahm; 4) Abraham Ancer; 5) Hideki Matsuyama; 6) Patrick Cantlay; 7) Paul Casey; 8) Scottie Scheffler; 9) Corey Conners / Bubba Watson; 11) Dustin Johnson; 12) Collin Morikawa; 13) Akshay Bhatia / Sergio Garcia; 15) Brooks Koepka; 16) Viktor Hovland; 17) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 18) Charley Hoffman; 19) Francesco Molinari; 20) Tony Finau / Charl Schwartzel / Kevin Streelman; 23) Jordan Spieth; 24) Will Zalatoris; 25) Matt Jones / Justin Thomas.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Charley Hoffman; 4) Sam Burns; 5) Rory McIlroy; 6) Tyrrell Hatton; 7) Stewart Cink / Viktor Hovland; 9) Chan Kim; 10) Louis Oosthuizen; 11) Daniel Berger / Hideki Matsuyama; 13) Robert MacIntyre; 14) Patrick Cantlay / Corey Conners / Kevin Streelman; 17) Shane Lowry / Justin Thomas; 19) Jordan Spieth; 20) Jason Kokrak; 21) Xander Schauffele; 22) Christiaan Bezuidenhout; 23) Max Homa / Victor Perez / Charl Schwartzel.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Kevin Na; 2) Tommy Fleetwood / Webb Simpson; 4) Fabian Gomez; 5) Tony Finau; 6) Tyrrell Hatton; 7) Patrick Reed / Jordan Spieth; 9) Ian Poulter; 10) K.H. Lee; 11) Harris English; 12) Matt Kuchar; 13) Wyndham Clark / Zach Johnson; 15) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Brendan Grace; 17) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Matt Jones / Troy Merritt / Patrick Rodgers; 20) Sung Kang; 21) Si Woo Kim; 22) Sam Burns / Phil Mickelson / Brian Stuard; 25) Brian Harman / Justin Thomas.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Viktor Hovland / Jordan Spieth; 5) Charley Hoffman; 6) Patrick Cantlay / Tyrrell Hatton / Chan Kim; 9) Jhonattan Vegas; 10) Sam Burns / Rory McIlroy; 12) Abraham Ancer; 13) Robert MacIntyre / Louis Oosthuizen; 15) Tony Finau / Shane Lowry / Hideki Matsuyama; 18) Corey Conners / Brooks Koepka / Will Zalatoris; 21) Scottie Scheffler / Kevin Streelman / Justin Thomas; 24) Bryson DeChambeau; 25) Jon Rahm.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Christiaan Bezuidenhout / Jason Kokrak; 3) Abraham Ancer/ Webb Simpson; 5) Troy Merritt; 6) Zach Johnson / Louis Oosthuizen / Brendon Todd; 9) Adam Scott; 10) Garrick Higgo; 11) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 12) Billy Horschel; 13) Stewart Cink; 14) Marc Leishman; 15) Sam Burns / Joaquin Niemann / Xander Schauffele; 17) Sahith Theegala; 18) Viktor Hovland / Kevin Kisner / Sebastian Munoz; 21) Harris English / Branden Grace; 23) Adam Hadwin; 24) Rory McIlroy / Jordan Spieth / Matt Wallace.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Abraham Ancer; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Louis Oosthuizen; 4) Paul Casey; 5) Jordan Spieth; 6) Sam Burns; 7) Tyrrell Hatton; 8) Viktor Hovland / Jason Kokrak; 10) Chan Kim / Rory McIlroy; 12) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Troy Merritt; 14) Patrick Cantlay; 15) Charley Hoffman; 16) Bryson DeChambeau / Brian Harman / Patrick Reed / Xander Schauffele / Webb Simpson; 21) Jon Rahm; 22) Ian Poulter / Kevin Streelman; 24) Corey Conners / Scottie Scheffler.

Winners & Prices: 2020: DeChambeau 25/1; 2019: Woodland 80/1; 2018: Koepka 25/1; 2017: Koepka 45/1; : 2016: Dustin Johnson 16/1; 2015: Spieth 9/1; 2014: Kaymer 40/1; 2013: Rose 28/1; 2012: Simpson 80/1; 2011: McIlroy 22/1; 2010: McDowell 80/1. Average: 41/1.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for La Jolla, South California, is here.

There’s been no rain in the area for weeks, so the course condition will be completely man-made. Personally I’d expect conditions very similar to what we saw at Winged Foot last September. Watered greens on Thursday so players can build an under par score, then a continually firming course.

Unlike the PGA Championship, wind will not be a factor here at Torrey Pines, with a soft sub-10mph sea breeze throughout. Temperatures will also be very northern European summer, with nothing hotter  than 24 degrees Celsius throughout.

Let’s take a view from Tiger Woods as to how Torrey Pines set-up in 2008 and what skill sets the course favours:

Tiger Woods (2008 U.S. Open): “The golf course is in perfect shape. It’s totally different than what we play here in January. The greens are rolling. You’re finding the slopes are pretty significant out here, and we’re not used to seeing the ball roll this much hitting between 9 iron and 6 iron into the greens. So it doesn’t really change a whole lot by hitting driver except for bringing more trouble into play. Even though the golf course was renovated and changed, I still liked the sight lines, didn’t have a problem with reading the greens, even though they changed. For some reason I felt very comfortable here.

It’s a little quicker, but not much. The fairways, even though it’s summertime here, the fairways really aren’t running out that much. I think the interesting thing is you have 6 as a par-4. They’re looking at moving 3 up a couple of days. 14 is going to be up. 13 is way back.

We’re playing different distances in the tee boxes than what we normally do for the Buick. So getting a feel for that over the practice rounds I think is pretty important to develop a feel, but also develop a game plan on how to play them.

That’s the tricky part. We can get lies in that Kikuyugrass first cut that sit up where literally you can hit driver off of it. Bubba hit driver off 9 in the rough. Normally it’s an automatic wedge. But just happened to get one lie in that one kikuyu patch that it was sitting up. But there are some patches where you’re looking more sideways trying to get the ball back to the fairway.

That’s just going to be the tricky thing this week is trying to judge that. Marginal lies, can I carry the ball on the green, do I need to run it, do I even take a chance? All these things that we don’t normally have to worry about in an Open come into play. I think that’s one of the great things how it’s set up is that we have a chance of getting to the green and actually catching flyers and hitting the ball over the green, which is different. Most Opens that’s never entered into the equation.

The greens are actually interesting, the first bounce is a little bit springy. It takes a pretty good hop, but then it starts stopping. Speed has picked up over the last two days, noticeably. I don’t know if they’re going to pick up another six inches or a foot come Thursday. But they’re starting to get that little sheen to them today. But it’s just a matter of,  they could get a little bit firmer, but I don’t think they really want to. If they play all the tees back for a couple of days I hope they don’t get them too firm.

The lines on the greens are much higher here now. I’m used to seeing lines a little bit straighter, a little lower, and with a lot less pace. Some of the putts have a lot more swing at the end. They’re rolling out a little bit more. Up and over ridges. Like the putt I made this year on 11 you couldn’t make that putt right now. It’s just too fast. A good putt would be almost to the front of the green. So you can’t get away with approach shots like you did during the Buick.”

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 11 winners of the U.S. pen:

  • 2020 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 14th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2019 – Gary Woodland: Round 1: 8th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 46th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 4th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2016 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2015 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: 7th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2014 – Martin Kaymer: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2013 – Justin Rose: Round 1: 16th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 5th.
  • 2012 – Webb Simpson: Round 1: 23rd, Round 2: 29th, Round 3: 8th.
  • 2011 – Rory McIlroy: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2010 – Graeme McDowell: Round 1: 10th, Round 2 1st, Round 3: 2nd.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the winners of the U.S. Open and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2020 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2019 – Gary Woodland: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 1 ahead.
  • 2018 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 6 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2017 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2016 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2015 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: level.
  • 2014 – Martin Kaymer: Round 1: 3 ahead, Round 2: 6 ahead, Round 3: 5 ahead.
  • 2013 – Justin Rose: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2012 – Webb Simpson: Round 1: 6 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2011 – Rory McIlroy: Round 1: 3 ahead, Round 2: 6 ahead, Round 3: 8 ahead.
  • 2010 – Graeme McDowell: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 3 back.

Incoming form of winners since 2010:

  • Bryson DeChambeau: 25th Tour Champ/50th BMW Champ/MC Northern Trust/4th PGA.
  • Gary Woodland: 52nd Memorial/8th PGA/MC Quail Hollow/32nd Augusta.
  • Brooks Koepka: 30th TPC Southwind/2nd Colonial/11th TPC Sawgrass/42nd Quail.
  • Brooks Koepka: 37th TPC Southwind/31st Memorial/50th TPC4S/16th TPC Sawgrass.
  • Dustin Johnson: 5th TPC Southwind/3rd Memorial/12th TPC4S/28th TPC Sawgrass.
  • Jordan Spieth: 3rd Memorial/30th TPC4S/2nd Colonial/MC TPC Sawgrass.
  • Martin Kaymer: 12th Wentworth/29th TPC4S/1st TPC Sawgrass/18th Quail.
  • Justin Rose: 8th Memorial/50th Wentworth/MC TPC Sawgrass/15th TPC Louisiana.
  • Webb Simpson: MC Memorial/MC TPC Sawgrass/ 4th Quail/13th New Orleans.
  • Rory McIlroy: 5th Memorial/24th Wentworth/MC Quail/3rd Kuala Lumpur.
  • Graeme McDowell: 1st Celtic Manor/4th Madrid/28th Wentworth/26th TPC Sawgrass.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2020 – Thomas – AM -5/65 – 25/1.
  • 2019 – Rose – PM -6/65 – 40/1.
  • 2018 – Henley/D Johnson/Piercy/Poulter – 2AM/2PM -1/69 – 125/1, 16/1, 200/1 & 100/1.
  • 2017 – Fowler – AM -7/65 – 40/1.
  • 2016 – Landry – AM -4/66.
  • 2015 – D Johnson/Stenson – Both AM -5/65.
  • 2014 – Kaymer – PM -5/65.
  • 2013 – Mickelson – AM -3/67.
  • 2012 – M Thompson – AM -4/66.
  • 2011 – McIlroy – PM -6/65.
  • 2010 – Casey/de Jonge/Micheel – All PM -2/69.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 11 – Dustin Johnson.
  • 6 – Bubba Watson.
  • 5 – Phil Mickelson.
  • 4 – Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy.
  • 3 – Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jordon Spieth, Jimmy Walker.
  • 2 – Brooks Koepka,  Brendan Steele, Gary Woodland.
  • 1 – Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Champ, Stewart Cink, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Marc Leishman, Shane Lowry, Hideki Matsuyama, Chez Reavie, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas.

Let’s start with a list of players in the field this week who have experience of Torrey Pines in U.S. Open conditions. 2008 saw Tiger Woods win at -1/283, a score which was equalled by Rocco Mediate who lost in a Monday 18-hole play-off (those were the days). Lee Westwood (3rd) came just a shot shy of the play-off. Stewart Cink (14th), Sergio Garcia (18th), Phil Mickelson (18th), Adam Scott (26th), Dustin Johnson (48th), Matt Kuchar  (48th), Martin Kaymer (53rd), Kevin Streelman (53rd) and Paul Casey (65th) all made the weekend. Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, and Bubba Watson all missed the cut.

Jon Rahm was 6 shots clear at the recent Memorial Tournament when he was told that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and needed to self isolate. 8th at the PGA Championship and 5th at The Masters already in his 2021 Major appearances, Rahm won his first PGA Tour title here in 2017 and had finished 2nd (2020), 5th (2019) and 7th (2021) at the Farmers Insurance Open across the past 3 years. Naturally he’s the hot single-digit favourite to win this week’s U.S. Open.

But as we know, ‘Rahmbo’ is yet to win a Major title and for me it’s interesting to look at the prices of first-time Major winners going back to Danny Willett wining the 2016 Masters:

  • 2021 Masters Hideki Matsuyama 45/1
  • 2020 US Open Bryson DeChambeau 25/1
  • 2020 PGA Championship Collin Morikawa 35/1
  • 2019 Open Championship Shane Lowry 70/1
  • 2019 US Open Gary Woodland  80/1
  • 2018 Open Championship Francesco Molinari 33/1
  • 2018 Masters Patrick Reed 50/1
  • 2017 PGA Championship Justin Thomas 45/1
  • 2017 US Open Brooks Koepka 50/1
  • 2016 PGA Championship Jimmy Walker 150/1
  • 2016 Open Championship Henrik Stenson 33/1
  • 2016 US Open Dustin Johnson 16/1
  • 2016 Masters Danny Willett 66/1

The shortest price was Dustin Johnson when he won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, priced at a best 16/1. Dustin had already finished 2nd at the 2011 Open Championship and 2nd at the 2015 U.S. Open with an additional 4 top-5 and 8 top-10 finishes before winning in Pennsylvania.

It’s well worth noting that the average price for U.S. Open winners since 2010 is 41/1. Yes Jordan Spieth won at 9/1 in 2015 fresh from a Masters win, but the last 4 renewals have been won at 16/1 (2016 – Johnson), 45/1 (2017 – Koepka), 25/1 (2018 – Koepka), 80/1 (2019 – Woodland) and 25/1 (2020 – DeChambeau).

Brooks Koepka 2pts EW 18/1 (9EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Brooks Koepka is almost an auto-bet when it comes to Major Championships. Include his 2017 U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills and from his past 14 Majors Koepka has won 4, finished runner-up in 3 more, plus has an additional 3 more top-7 finishes. So 4 wins and 6 full each-way payouts. That’s seriously impressive and makes 18/1 this week an excellent investment, especially when you consider that he was Phil Mickelson’s biggest threat at the Kiawah Island hosted PGA Championship, a month ago, on pretty much one leg!

The knee undoubtedly seems better, “It’s good. It’s in a really good spot. I like where it’s at. I’ve done enough rehab, strength’s coming around. I mean, I can almost squat down to read a putt like normal. Didn’t do it too much this week (Palmetto) just because I don’t want to screw it up for next week.” Plus if extra motivation to win a 5th Major in 15 is required, I expect the thought of taking the U.S. Open title from Bryson DeChambeau must add a little pop in Koepka’s stride as he arrives at Torrey Pines.

A winner on Poa Annua greens at Shinnecock in 2018, 2019 also saw the World Number 10 win the PGA Championship at Bethpage Back on Poa Annua/Bent mix greens. His Poa Annua form on the West Coast may be a little understated, but he’s finished 8th (2016) and 2nd (2019) from just 2 appearances at Pebble Beach. Farmers Insurance Open form of 41st (after winning his first PGA Tour tournament the week before in 2015) -MC(2017 opener)-MC(2021) may dissuade a few, but Koepka focuses purely on the big prizes. A firm and fast Torrey Pines with its length and Kikuyugrass rough should suit Brooks whose driving has been excellent over the past 8 weeks as he ranks 15th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee in my PGA Tour only 8-week tracker. RESULT: T4

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Tony Finau 2pts EW 30/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Full disclosure. As Golf Betting System Podcast regular listeners will know, I have an ante-post 40/1 ticket on Tony Finau, but I don’t mind topping-up my stake at 30/1 with 8 places each-way at bet365. ‘T4 Tony’ undoubtedly struggles to win, that much is crystal clear, but it’s fact that the Utah-born 31 year-old is a Major each-way machine.

4 top-5 or 9 top-10s in his last 13 Major appearances is amazing consistency and Finau, across 15 rounds at Torrey Pines South, has a cracking 70.33 scoring average. I point you towards our Torrey Pines South Scoring Average article. Now that 70.33 average across the past 5 Farmers Insurance Opens hosted at Torrey Pines places him behind only Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel. Impressive and actually better than this week’s favourite Jon Rahm.

Far more comfortable on Bentgrass or Poa Annua than Bermudagrass greens – that makes sense for a man who grew up in Utah – Tony has correlating course form that you just cannot ignore. 18th (2016), 4th (2017), 6th (2018), 13th (2019), 6th (2020) and 2nd (2021) here at Torrey Pines, he’s also finished runner-up twice (2018 & 2021) at Riviera Country Club, which also features Poa Annua / Bentgrass greens and Kikuyugrass rough.

Tony was also very much a feature at last year’s PGA Championship played at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, where he finished 4th. 14th (2015 Chambers Bay), 5th (2018 Shinnecock) and 8th (2020 Winged Foot) at previous USGA set-ups, I expect Tony arrives at Torrey Pines excited and with little pressure after 20th and 32nd in his last 2 domestic appearances. Intriguingly though, he’s ranked 14th-3rd-8th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green on his last 3 outings and hopefully the putter returns on Poa Annua greens he knows intimately. RESULT: MC

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Patrick Reed 2pts EW 30/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Patrick Reed has a big chance to land his second Major title this week in my opinion.

The reigning Farmers Insurance Open champion from January, ‘Captain America’ is playing some very nice stuff at the moment. 8th at The Masters, 6th at the Wells Fargo Championship, 17th at the PGA Championship and 5th last time out at The Memorial. Indeed Patrick was positive across all Strokes Gained categories a fortnight ago in Ohio, with the driver and irons working very nicely, which is always a huge bonus for a player with such an amazing short game.

And looking at his past successes adds more fuel to the fire this week. His first WGC success came at Doral in 2014, when he tamed ferociously difficult course and wind conditions and a mini-Major field to win at -4/284. 2016 saw him win The Barclays at Bethpage State Park, Black Course. A regular U.S. Open and PGA Championship venue set in Farmingdale, New York,  it’s a tough, classical design and features Poa Annua greens.

The 2018 Masters champion, Patrick also won the 2020 WGC Mexico Championship at Chapultepec which is a tree-lined, classical golf course, featuring Poa Annua greens and Kikuyugrass rough. Let’s not also forget 4th at the 2018 Shinnecock Hills-hosted U.S. Open which again featured fast Poa Annua green complexes.

Those Poa-positive connotations pass across the United States to California just as well. 7th (2013), 13th (2014) and 6th (2016) at Pebble Beach, Patrick’s form at Torrey Pines reads 39-WD-23-13-6-1. Ever improving course form, again I point you towards our Torrey Pines South Scoring Average article, where Reed has a 69.83 South Course Scoring Average across 12 rounds here since 2018. That’s only beaten by Adam Scott.

With one victory, 2 top-5s and a further 2 top-10s in Majors since August 2017 and a U.S. Open record that reads 14th (2015 – Chambers Bay), 13th (2017 – Erin Hills), 4th (2018 – Shinnecock Hills) and 13th (2020 – Winged Foot), Patrick is the kind of grinder who will thrive this week, and his game from 100 yards and in is strong enough to tame the Torrey Pines Kikuyugrass rough. This season Reed ranks 44th for Proximity from the Rough, 22nd for Scrambling from over 30 yards, 19th for SG Around the Green and 4th for SG Putting. RESULT: T19

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Shane Lowry 1.25pts EW 50/1 (10EW, 1/5) with Betfred

A Major Championship by the coast always seems a great spot for Shane Lowry, who’s undoubtedly having his best season in the United States.

8th at The Players Championship, 21st at The Masters, 9th at the RBC Heritage, 4th at the PGA Championship and 6th at The Memorial Tournament last time out. Yes 2015 saw him win the WGC Firestone Invitational at Firestone South, but 4 top-10s on the PGA Tour so far in 2021 equals his best performance from 2019, with a summer of golf still to come.

And logically the Open Championship and the U.S. Open are Lowry’s best chances in Majors. Tough conditions, be they wind or firm/fast turf, are where the World Number 41 really fires. That 2015 WGC win came on as firm and fiery golf course as you will see in the United States, and last month’s 4th spot at the PGA Championship came in U.S. Open type conditions, where scoring was tough.

So Shane’s record at the USGA organised, United States Open Championship holds water. 9th in 2015 on the Pacific coast at Chambers Bay, Shane had a huge chance at Oakmont in 2016 where he was 3rd after 36 holes and the 54-hole leader. He eventually finished T2 behind Dustin Johnson. Remember Oakmont featured Poa Annua greens – as did Firestone South where he won the WGC in 2015. 28th at the Pebble Beach-hosted 2019 US Open was also decent enough – a course where he has a top-15 finish at the Pro-Am.

From a Torrey Pines results perspective, it’s a case of 7th (2015) on course debut and 13th (2016) in the year that Brandt Snedeker won in 50mph Sunday winds. Lowry was 7th after 36 holes. So the Jupiter, Florida resident has plenty of experience in these parts and I’m thinking he will much prefer the tougher, firmer conditions this week, as opposed to those in January at the Farmers. 9th, 5th and 12th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green across 3 of his last 4 appearances at the RBC Heritage, PGA Championship and Memorial Tournament respectively, Shane could well be a factor this week in La Jolla. RESULT: T65

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Max Homa 0.75pt EW 110/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Jason Kokrak will be popular this week, but I like Max Homa at triple-digits. Golf Betting System Podcast colleague Barry O’Hanrahan put him up in our U.S. Open Preview Podcast and I couldn’t agree more.

From the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank, Homa has made huge strides in recent seasons and now finds himself a resident within the OWGR top 50. He’s never had success in a Major, but he’s only been playing in them regularly since the 2020 Masters and his 2nd Major in his home state of California, could well see him feature.

9th at CordeValle way back in 2013, Homa has always performed well in the Golden Gate State and on Poa Annua greens. 10th at Pebble Beach in 2019, 2020 saw Max finish 9th here at Torrey Pines, before going on to finish 5th at Riviera Country Club. And 2021 has seen that California form progress even more, with 18th here at Torrey Pines, 7th at Pebble Beach and his second career victory at the Genesis Invitational played as ever at Riviera, a course which featured fast Poa Annua greens and Kikuyugrass rough.

It’s also worth remembering that Max took his maiden PGA Tour triumph at the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship played at Quail Hollow. So undoubtedly the 30 year old loves tough, classical United States tracks and theoretically Torrey Pines South Course will be right up his street this week. 6th last time out at another classical track in the form of Muirfield Village, Homa was 3rd after 36 and 6th after 54 holes. 16th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 25th for both Approach and Tee to Green, Max’s putter was red hot ranking 3rd for SG Putting on Muirfield’s Bentgrass greens.

If he can keep things together mentally, I agree with Barry that Max should go well at a stiff Torrey Pines assignment this week. RESULT: MC

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If longer shots are more your thing, then check out Paul Williams’ outsiders selections ranging from 80/1 to 500/1.

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 13:45BST 14.6.21 but naturally subject to fluctuation.