Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's US Open Tips 2022

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Well played if you were on Rory McIlroy at Monday prices up to 10/1 (bet365 / William Hill) at the RBC Canadian Open. My take-out was how marvellous was it to watch competitive golf at its finest between the world’s leading protagonists. Pure sporting theatre the LIV Tour won’t and can’t match. I had Shane Lowry and Keith Mitchell in the mix across all 4 days in Toronto, with Mitchell eventually doing the decent thing and earning me two-thirds of an each-way return at 45/1.

On to this week and the 122nd edition of the U.S. Open is visiting The Country Club at Brookline in the suburbs of Boston for the fourth time. It should be an absolute feast of golf with so many of the best players both present and in very good nick form-wise.

Read my 2022 U.S. Open research preview for full winners’ trends and key statistics.

Before we go into the detail surrounding the U.S. Open, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System around Major season. Welcome 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, +6,100 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

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Course Guide: The Country Club at Brookline has hosted the 1999 Ryder Cup plus 3 U.S. Opens (1913, 1963, 1988). Interestingly it also hosted the 2013 U.S. Amateur won by Matt Fitzpatrick, with that tournament, in the main, being played on the Gil Hanse renovated golf course.

The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts: Designer: Willie Campbell 1895, Rees Jones, 1988, with Gil Hanse restoration 2009 ongoing; Course Type: Classical; Par: 70; Length: Circa 7,264 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 3; Fairways: Bentgrass with Poa Annua; Rough: Perennial Rye, Kentucky Bluegrass, Poa Annua, with Fescue 3-5″; Greens: 4,388 sq.ft average featuring Poa Annua (75%) with Bentgrass (25%) mix.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes other Gil Hanse designs/renovations include:

  • Aronimink Golf Club – 2019 BMW Championship
  • Plainfield CC – The Barclays – 2011 & 2015
  • Ridgewood CC – The Barclays / Northern Trust 2010, 2014 & 2018
  • Trump National Doral – 2014 through 2016 WGC Cadillac Championship
  • TPC Boston – Deutsche Bank / Dell Technologies Championship through 2018 plus 2020 Northern Trust
  • Winged Foot – 2020 U.S. Open

Course Overview: No competitors, viewers or punters will have seen The Country Club in its new 2022 U.S. Open guise. Since the 1957 U.S. Amateur for additional yardage purposes, a composite championship course had excluded three holes on the main course to stretch the total length by circa 450 yards. But this all changes in 2022 with re-routing including selected holes from the next door Primrose Course and the addition of the iconic 130 odd yard downhill par-3 12th hole – which will actually play as the 11th. The par-3 will be included for the first time in a U.S. Open at Brookline since 1913, when the United States Open Championship returns to The Country Club after a 34-year absence.

The Country Club’s standing as an iconic American golf course is well-known. It’s a circa 7,250 yard, Par 70 layout with infamous postage-stamp greens that roll fast and true, punishing rough, and picturesque fescue tracing the contour of many holes. Gil Hanse has performed course restoration both prior to the 2013 U.S. Amateur and ongoing.

Blind tee shots and approaches are plentiful here at Brookline; indeed semi-blind or totally blind approaches to raised and well-defended green complexes are far more common than at typical PGA Tour stop-offs. Fescue grass across the property is definitely a Massachusetts golf course characteristic and something we see regularly down the road at TPC Boston. Here though at Brookline, the fescue forms a very proactive defence for the golf course, both on errant drives and approaches.

And after Augusta National and Southern Hills in terms of major venues, we will see a significant change in the Brookline set-up this week. Green surfaces are 75% Poa Annua with 25% Bentgrass mix. The green complexes are also small – I can only think of Pebble Beach and Harbour Town which are smaller regular stop-offs on the PGA Tour.

Most green complexes also tilt from back to front – think Donald Ross course design style – with many also featuring false fronts which grab short approaches. Contours which lead to downhill putts from the back of the green will make approach control vital, so as to keep the ball below the hole as much as possible.

Another significant difference to both Augusta and Southern Hills is the fact that the Brookline set-up allows for deep, lush rough around both the sides and back edges of green complexes. Naturally the USGA need no second invitation on that front. The back 9 also sees a step-change where access to green complexes has to be 100% aerial. The 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and closing 18th holes are all defended with bunkers and lush rough across 360 degrees, making ground attack impossible on the par-4s and single par-5, for those who are in trouble off the tee. Bunkering – 82 across the course in total – is plentiful, plus deep and difficult around the greens.

us open tips

Winners: 2021: 2021: John Rahm (-6); 2020: Bryson DeChambeau (-6); 2019: Gary Woodland (-13); 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 | Combined 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 Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Jon Rahm, Sam Burns Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Scottie Scheffler, Shane Lowry and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Winners & Prices: 2021: Rahm 10/1; 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: 38/1.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Brookline, Massachusetts, is here.

Major championships in 2022 have meant less than ideal weather and that looks set to continue in Boston this week. Wind will again be a factor with +20 mph gusts looking a feature across all 4 days. That will cause huge problems at a U.S. Open-tough Brookline. Winds are from the south west (Thursday), west (Friday) and the north west (Saturday and Sunday).

Temperatures fall from 25 degrees Celsius on Thursday and Friday to 15 degrees on Sunday. Turf wise, rain has been falling early Monday, but the threat of rain is pretty limited throughout tournament week. So expect ever increasing fairway run and firm greens, unless the wind becomes too strong, when they will need to be watered.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events. Players’ rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Cameron Young; 2) Joaquin Niemann; 3) Rory McIlroy; 4) Sungjae Im; 5) Matt Fitzpatrick; 6) Jason Kokrak / Jordan Spieth; 8) Tony Finau; 9) Mito Pereira; 10) Will Zalatoris; 11) Keegan Bradley / Patrick Rodgers / Justin Thomas; 14) Abraham Ancer / Corey Conners; 16) Kurt Kitayama; 17) Luke List; 18) Stewart Cink / Chan Kim / Min Woo Lee / Shane Lowry / Victor Perez; 23) Viktor Hovland / Jon Rahm; 25) Max Homa.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Ryan Fox; 2) Kevin Na; 3) Xander Schauffele; 4) Mito Pereira; 5) Rory McIlroy; 6) Aaron Wise; 7) Scottie Scheffler; 8) Sungjae Im; 9) Max Homa; 10) Cameron Smith; 11) Dustin Johnson; 12) Victor Perez / Harold Varner III; 14) Davis Riley / Thomas Pieters; 16) Sam Burns / Tommy Fleetwood / Collin Morikawa; 19) K.H. Lee; 20) Justin Rose / Will Zalatoris; 22) Sebastian Munoz; 23) Jordan Spieth; 24) Shane Lowry / Hideki Matsuyama / Webb Simpson.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Kevin Na; 2) Harold Varner III; 3) Tony Finau; 4) Jordan Spieth; 5) Shane Lowry; 6) Lucas Herbert / Justin Thomas; 8) Sungjae Im / Cameron Young; 10) Adam Hadwin; 11) Brian Harman / Si Woo Kim / Xander Schauffele; 14) Denny McCarthy; 15) Talor Gooch / Billy Horschel; 17) Cameron Smith; 18) Andrew Novak; 19) Andrew Putnam / Patrick Reed; 21) Scottie Scheffler; 22) Bryson DeChambeau / Mito Pereira; 23) Wyndham Clark / Sam Horsfield; 25) Min Woo Lee.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Rory McIlroy; 2) Sungjae Im / Mito Pereira; 4) Xander Schauffele; 5) Jordan Spieth; 6) Ryan Fox; 7) Tony Finau / Davis Riley / Harold Varner III; 10) Matt Fitzpatrick / Kevin Na / Aaron Wise / Cameron Young; 14) Max Homa; 15) Scottie Scheffler; 16) Cameron Smith / Will Zalatoris; 18) Shane Lowry; 19) Joaquin Niemann / Jon Rahm; 21) Tommy Fleetwood / Justin Thomas; 23) Victor Perez; 24) Sam Burns; 25) Brian Harman.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Brooks Koepka; 2) Denny McCarthy; 3) Max Homa; 4) Lucas Herbert; 5) Beau Hossler; 6) Justin Thomas; 7) Sam Horsfield; 8) Sam Burns; 9) Viktor Hovland / Davis Riley / Patrick Rodgers; 12) Joaquin Niemann; 13) Alex Noren / Jon Rahm / Justin Rose; 16) Matt Fitzpatrick; 17) Stewart Cink / Marc Leishman; 19) Troy Merritt; 20) Rory McIlroy; 21) Bryson DeChambeau; 22) Keegan Bradley; 23) Tom Hoge; 24) Sebastian Munoz; 25) Lanto Griffin / Seamus Power.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Rory McIlroy; 2) Davis Riley; 3) Mito Pereira; 4) Max Homa; 5) Xander Schauffele; 6) Sungjae Im; 7) Ryan Fox; 8) Jordan Spieth; 9) Tony Finau; 10) Joaquin Niemann; 11)Matt Fitzpatrick; 12) Jon Rahm; 13) Justin Thomas / Aaron Wise; 15) Shane Lowry; 16) Sam Burns; 17) Kevin Na; 18) Victor Perez / Cameron Smith; 20) Denny McCarthy; 21) Tommy Fleetwood / Cameron Young; 23) Scottie Scheffler; 24) Keegan Bradley / Harold Varner III.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 12 winners of the U.S. Open:

  • 2021 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 5th, Round 3: 6th.
  • 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:

  • 2021 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 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 U.S. Open winners since 2010:

  • Jon Rahm: WD Memorial/8th PGA/34th Byron/MC Quail.
  • 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.

  • 2021 – Henley/Oosthuizen – AM/PM Split -4/67 – 100/1 & 45/1.
  • 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, Jon Rahm.
  • 3 – Colin Morikawa, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth.
  • 2 – Max Homa, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, Gary Woodland.
  • 1 – Jonas Blixt, Keegan Bradley, Patrick Cantlay, Stewart Cink, Harris English, Tom Hoge, Billy Horschel, Marc Leishman, Luke List, Shane Lowry, Hideki Matsuyama, Joaquin Niemann, Andrew Putnam, Justin Rose, Scott Stallings, Nick Taylor, Justin Thomas, Erik van Rooyen

Recent U.S. Open history features a new breed of champions with first-time Major winners galore. Indeed, going back to 2009, 10 of the last 13 champions had never captured a Major title.

So for me it’s interesting to look at the prices of first-time Major winners going back to Danny Willett winning the 2016 Masters:

  • 2022 Masters Scottie Scheffler 16/1
  • 2021 US Open Jon Rahm 10/1 Favourite
  • 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

Overall it’s well worth noting that the average price for U.S. Open winners since 2015 is 30/1. Jordan Spieth won at 9/1 in 2015, fresh from a Masters win, and since then the winning prices have been 16/1 (2016 – Johnson), 45/1 (2017 – Koepka), 25/1 (2018 – Koepka), 80/1 (2019 – Woodland), 25/1 (2020 – DeChambeau) and 10/1 (2021 – Rahm).

My selections are as follows:

Justin Thomas 2.5pts EW 12/1 (9EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Now it’s difficult to discount the chances of Rory McIlroy this week coming off a win last week in Canada and whose form reads 2-5-8-18-1. If Rory is your man – and let’s face it he tends to win in bunches when at the peak of his powers – I certainly wouldn’t put you off. But I’m plumping for a player who has been equally, if not more, impressive of late – Justin Thomas.

A form line of 5-1-MC-3 is decent enough and includes of course the win at the PGA Championship in May – the second Major title of his career. I was ever so impressed with that win. Caught totally on the wrong side of a wind-affected draw, his play on Friday morning and his interactions with Jim “Bones” Mackay were fantastic. Saturday wasn’t great, but his Sunday -4 across his final 10 holes to get himself into the clubhouse lead showed immense maturity and amazing quality. He was there when the likes of Young and more spectacularly Pereira faltered, and won the play-off over Will Zalatoris.

Now looking at Majors Championships since 2006, we have seen 4 players win back-to-back Major titles. 2006 saw Tiger Woods (who else) win the Open and PGA Championships; 2008 saw Padraig Harrington again win the Open and the PGA Championships; Jump 6 years to 2014 and Rory McIlroy performed the same feat winning The Open at 18/1 and the PGA Championship as 5/1 favourite; and 2015 saw Jordan Spieth win Major Championships at The Masters – he was 11/1 – and backed that up in July with the U.S. Open at 9/1.  They were his first and second career Major wins. It’s more than possible and I’m sure Thomas must be motivated to match his best pal Jordan Spieth this week and land his 3rd Major title.

And I think that Brookline will be a good spot for Thomas. 7th for Total Driving, 1st for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 4th for Greens in Regulation, 3rd for Ball Striking and 1st for All-Round last week at St George’s, Justin’s driving is exemplary right now, as is his putting – both of which can cause concern. 9th (2017) and 8th (2020) at the U.S. Open, I like the Bones Mackay collaboration at a course like Brookline, and it’s worth remembering that Thomas has won at 2 Gil Hanse designs/restorations, namely TPC Boston (2017) and Southern Hills (2022). RESULT: T37

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Sam Burns 1.5pts EW 28/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

I’m going to take the winning upside of Sam Burns next.

Yes he’s never finished in the top 10 of a Major, but he’s undoubtedly learning. 20th at the PGA Championship in May was his best finish in only his 8th Major start and Sam was 10th after 54 holes going into Sunday. And I get the feeling that Burns is made of different stuff when compared to plenty at the top and plenty below him in this U.S. Open betting market. 4 wins in his last 28 starts suggests as much for a 25 year-old who now ranks 9th in the OWGR, 2nd in the FedEx Cup and 2nd in President’s Cup Qualification for Team USA. A contending Major performance seems quite logical all things considered and a U.S. Open may well be to his liking.

24th for Driving Distance All Drives, 4th For Strokes Gained on Approach, 5th for Greens in Regulation and 4th for Strokes Gained Total on the PGA Tour this year, fascinatingly he also ranks 6th for Bogey Avoidance, 6th for Strokes Gained Putting and in the top 60 for Strokes Gained Around the Green. It’s easy to use statistics to build a case for most players, but I also like where Burns has performed in his relatively short PGA Tour career.

8th way back at the 2018 Honda Classic played at PGA National marked him out as a prospect, and since promotion to the main Tour, Sam has a catalogue of notable performances on some of the toughest PGA Tour courses. 7th at Memorial Park in 2020 saw Burns as the 54 hole leader. Into 2021 and Burns was 3rd after 54 holes at Torrey Pines before finishing 18th. That was the pre-cursor for his “breakout” PGA Tour performance at Riviera where he was the 18-, 36- and 54-hole leader before eventually finishing just behind Max Homa and Tony Finau. Since then 2 wins at the tough Copperhead Course, 2nd (2021) at the WGC St Jude Invitational played at TPC Southwind, 7th (2021) at Memorial Park, 9th (2022) at Bay Hill and his 4th PGA Tour win, 3 weeks ago at Colonial, mark Burns out as the sort who can play tough, technical golf courses very well. He’s also the sort who up until this point has thrived on medium-to-long golf courses.

4th last week at St George’s was again notable as Burns was always in the mix with McIlroy, Thomas and Finau, and it’s worth noting that Sam topped Greens in Regulation on the week and from a Strokes Gained perspective was 1st for Approach, 15th for Around the Green, 5th for Tee to Green and 18th for Putting. RESULT: T27

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Will Zalatoris 1.5pts EW 30/1 (9EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Will Zalatoris simply thrives on Major-type tests and in Majors themselves. Yes his putting style (or lack off) isn’t the most flattering on Tour, but Majors and especially the U.S. Open don’t tend to be won by the very elite of putters. Instead the U.S. Open tends to be won by players who can mash it off the tee and have an exceptional tee-to-green game, and also by the sort who can play middle of the green golf where necessary and accept a bogey or two. “Willy Z” certainly falls into that category.

13th for Driving Distance All Drives, 6th For Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 1st for Strokes Gained on Approach and 2nd for Strokes Gained Tee to Green on the PGA Tour this season highlights an elite sort, and his short game isn’t too shabby as he ranks in the top 35% on Tour for Sand Saves and the top 40% for Strokes Gained Around the Green.

On the PGA Tour in 2022 his best couple of finishes have been 2nd at Torrey Pines South in January (lost in a play off to Luke List) and 5th a fortnight ago at Muirfield Village. Tough, long, classical tests with brutal rough. And his Major record is something to behold. Since joining the PGA Tour the 25 year old has finished 6th at the 2020 U.S. Open, 2nd at the 2021 Masters, 6th at the 2022 Masters and 2nd at the 2022 PGA Championship – where he lost in a play-off to Justin Thomas. RESULT: T2

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Sungjae Im 1pt EW 45/1 (9EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Sungjae Im has to be worth an each-way punt.

His Major Championship form isn’t too shabby: 2nd at The Masters in 2022, he was also 8th there in April – he entered Sunday in 3rd spot. Having missed the PGA Championship due to Covid concerns, that was his last Major appearance. 3 appearances at the U.S. Open have gleaned 22nd (Winged Foot) and 35th (Torrey Pines), with Im being in 14th spot heading into Sunday last year, so he has the ability and pedigree to mix it. For me this medium-length test will be more to his liking than the 7,800 yard, par 71, rinse and repeat track that we saw 12 months ago.

Im is one of those rare sorts who has always shown a spark for more technical tests. Firm conditions, thick rough and wind seem to bring out the best in him. His maiden PGA Tour win came at the infamous PGA National (Honda Classic) in 2020 – something he backed-up with 8th when defending in 2021. Florida golf is often tough and Sungjae also has finished 3rd (2019) and 3rd (2020) at Bay Hill – a course where U.S. Open exponents tend to thrive.

15th (Colonial) and 10th (Muirfield Village) on his last 2 appearances quash any idea that the World Number 21 is anything other than in ripe form, ranking 12th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 6th for Total Driving, 3rd for Ball Striking and 3rd for All-Round at Jack’s Tournament a fortnight ago, where he closed with a Sunday 69 which tied the best round of the day. RESULT: MC

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Tommy Fleetwood 1pt EW 50/1 (11EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

I will close with Tommy Fleetwood who is a great each-way punt at the toughest of the Major Championships.

After the trials and tribulations of 2020 and 2021 Covid-style golf, Fleetwood is slowly but surely on that upward trajectory. 16th at Valspar, 14th at the Masters, 10th at the RBC Heritage, 5th at the PGA Championship and 10th last time out at the Porsche European Open – progress is typically Tommy: steady.

On the whole his driving has returned and both his around the green game and putting in 2022 has been of a decent standard. His metronomic Greens in Regulation game is still to return, but at a U.S. Open where every player is missing a high number of greens, Tommy can undoubtedly hang around and compete. His scrambling and short game is first rate and the Southport, 31 year-old, has always had the ability to “Keep Calm and Carry On”, whilst others around him melt and moan on tough golf courses.

4th at the 2017 U.S. Open, 2nd at the 2018 U.S. Open, 2nd at the 2019 Open Championship and 5th at the 2022 PGA Championship: all hard courses. Some firm and fast, some windswept. The confidence was undoubtedly returning on the weekend of the PGA where he topped scoring over the final 36 holes. I like his chances to deliver this week with 11 places each-way at Boylesports. RESULT: MC

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 12:30BST 13.6.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.