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2018 U.S. Open
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club- Par 70 – 7,445

The PGA Tour season has finally arrived at its second Major, the US Open. This year the Open returns to a familiar site in Shinnecock Hills, home of the US Open most recently in 2004 when Retief Goosen edged out Phil Mickelson for one of lefty's six second place finishes at this event. Mickelson would capture the career Grand Slam with a win this week, but after missing last year's US Open to attend his daughter's graduation, history exactly isn't on Mickelson's side (more on that in a minute).

Shinnecock Hills has hosted three US Opens since 1986 (Raymond Floyd and Corey Pavin won the other two prior to 2004) but this year's course will look much different than what we have seen at US Opens here prior. This course has been lengthened by some 400 yards, the fairways widened significantly (but since brought back in a bit after last year's scoring fest at Erin Hills) and remains a Par 70. So to win this week you'd better have some length off the tee combined with a little accuracy, be solid at bogey avoidance – the USGA would love to see a winning score of between E and -6 – and be great with the putter because everyone knows US Open greens love to resemble putting on glass.

Getting back to Mickelson's DNP last year, historically, at least recently, US Open winners tend to have success at this event the year prior. Rory McIlroy (+1400) won this tournament in 2011 and he was the last winner of this tournament that either did not play or missed the cut at the US Open the year prior. Considering this event changes courses each year that trend is a bit surprising, but when trying to predict a winner here, you may want to stick with guys that at least played the weekend at Erin Hills a year ago. Each of the past six winners of this event (Webb Simpson, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka) all found significant success at the US Open prior to winning, and given last year's bloodbath of big names missing the cut, it makes for an interesting breakdown of this year's field.

Of those most recent six winners I just listed off, their average finishing position the year prior was 21st place,with Martin Kaymer's T59 in 2013 really weighing that number down. If you take out Kaymer's finish from the group, the average finishing position of US Open winners the year prior to winning clocks in at 13.4.

Considering nobody has successfully defended their title in that span, if you're a big believer in historical trends, there is a select range of players from last year's field that fit this range and could end up lifting that trophy this year. Even sticking with guys who simply made the cut/played the weekend at Erin Hills a year ago isn't a bad idea as only four times since Jim Furyk's win at the 2003 US Open has a winner not played the weekend the year before winning. Those guys with their winning years are Jim Furyk (2003), Michael Campbell (2005), Lucas Glover (2009), and Rory McIlroy (2011).

Doing my research for this event I thought that was an important distinction to make simply because last year was a bloodbath in terms of big names – and subsequently many of this year's favorites – missing the cut. This year's favorites that did not see weekend action at Erin Hills a year ago include Dustin Johnson (+900), Rory McIlroy (+1400), Justin Rose (+1600), Tiger Woods (+1600), Jason Day (+1800), Jon Rahm (+2200), Henrik Stenson (+2500), and Phil Mickelson (+2500). That's quite the list of substantial favorites this year that I'll be avoiding for from a betting perspective.

As far as the guys I am not avoiding and will have exposure too, let's break them down by odds range now.

Golfers to Watch

Favorites (+3300 or lower)

Justin Thomas (+1400) – There hasn't really been a hotter golfer on Tour the past 12-16 months than Justin Thomas and he's got all the skill sets and variables to win his second career Major this week. Thomas is extremely long off the tee, has won on some of the toughest courses statistically on Tour this year (CJ Cup and Honda Classic) and fits the trend of playing well at this tournament a year ago with his T9 finish. It was Thomas' 3rd round 63 that vaulted him up the leaderboard only to be unable to sustain it come Sunday, but now he comes into the 2018 US Open with that first Major under his belt and an enormous amount of confidence that he can get the job done. The odds of +1400 aren't the greatest in terms of value, but he's really the only guy at the top of the board I'm willing to consider.

Mid-Range (+4000 to +9999)

Sergio Garcia (+4000), Bubba Watson (+4000), Matt Kuchar (+5000)

Bubba Watson is probably the riskiest, and least favorite play in this group, but it's hard to ignore his skill set for this track. Many in the golf industry have pointed to the potential of Riviera Country Club (Genesis Open) being a somewhat similar course to the new Shinnecock Hills given it's length, toughness and Poa greens. I'm not so sure I agree with that comparison 100%, but if that is indeed the case, Bubba has to be considered. He won at Riviera earlier this year (the 2nd time in his career) and his length should play well at Shinnecock. If the winds pick up it could be a problem for Bubba, and backing him at the US Open throughout his career has never done well with him having six missed cuts in 11 tries, and three of his five other finishes being T32 or higher (best finish was T5 in 2007). He also is one of those big names that didn't see the weekend at Erin Hills a year ago.

Sergio is a guy that is long, straight, finished T21 at the US Open last year, and a great candidate to break through with his 2nd major win (like Justin Thomas) this week. He's made 10 straight cuts at US Opens with three Top 10's mixed in, and even prior to that he's only missed the cut twice in 18 previous playings of this major (2006, 2007). If that's not a great example of consistency in very tough conditions that the USGA always brings, I' don't know what is. There is no more added pressure to finally break through and win a Major with Sergio anymore and teeing it up with fellow Spaniards Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello on Thursday and Friday should bring even more comfort to Sergio's game. While the current form could be a little better, Garcia is a guy I expect to be on the first page of the leaderboard on Sunday.

Kuchar is a guy looking for his first career Major victory and US Open venues aren't exactly the first spot you'd think of him breaking through. Kuchar isn't exactly long, but he's long enough, and his “grinder” mentality of being a Top 10/20 machine should fit this event if the conditions are tough and the winning score is around Even par. He was T16 at Erin Hills a year ago so he's not working against recent history in that respect.

Longshots (+10000 and above)

Bill Haas (+20000), Trey Mullinax (+20000)

Haas is a guy that fits the Kuchar mold in terms of being a “grinder” out there on the course and one who I prefer to back at tough events when the winning score stays in the single digits. He's won at Riviera before (2012) and missed this year's edition at Riviera after being in a deadly car crash earlier that week. Coming back and winning his first Major, the national title no less, would be a “Cinderella” type story for Haas, but to get the job done he's going to need to be great with long irons and his scrambling because he's not exactly the longest off the tee (111th in driving distance). But winning scores around Even are what Haas prefers, even though he did manage to get highly involved in the birdie-fest at Erin Hills a year ago with a T5.

If you want the longest guy on Tour, Mullinax is your man, as the young Alabama grad leads the way in terms of driving distance this year. He finished T9 at last year's US Open and is coming off a T6 last week at the St Jude. Breaking through onto the scene in a similar fashion that Koepka did a year ago would befit a guy like Mullinax too.

2018 U.S. Open Odds - per
Dustin Johnson +900
Justin Thomas +1400
Rory McIlroy +1400
Jordan Spieth +1600
Justin Rose +1600
Rickie Fowler +1600
Tiger Woods +1600
Jason Day +1800
Brooks Koepka +2000
Jon Rahm +2200
Henrik Stenson +2500
Phil Mickelson +2500
Hideki Matsuyama +2800
Branden Grace +3300
Patrick Reed +3300
Bryson DeChambeau +4000
Bubba Watson +4000
Paul Casey +4000
Sergio Garcia +4000
Tommy Fleetwood +4000
Alex Noren +5000
Francesco Molinari +5000
Louis Oosthuizen +5000
Marc Leishman +5000
Matt Kuchar +5000
Patrick Cantlay +5000
Webb Simpson +5000
Adam Scott +6600
Byeong Hun An +6600
Tony Finau +6600
Xander Schauffele +6600
Charl Schwartzel +8000
Ian Poulter +8000
Jimmy Walker +8000
Kyle Stanley +8000
Brandt Snedeker +10000
Chesson Hadley +10000
Emiliano Grillo +10000
Gary Woodland +10000
Rafael Cabrera Bello +10000
Zach Johnson +10000
Aaron Wise +12500
Brian Harman +12500
Cameron Smith +12500
Charley Hoffman +12500
Daniel Berger +12500
Jason Dufner +12500
Kevin Kisner +12500
Kiradech Aphibarnrat +12500
Luke List +12500
Martin Kaymer +12500
Matthew Fitzpatrick +12500
Peter Uihlein +12500
Russell Henley +12500
Shane Lowry +12500
Thorbjorn Olesen +12500
Tyrrell Hatton +12500
Adam Hadwin +15000
Charles Howell III +15000
Graeme McDowell +15000
Keegan Bradley +15000
Kevin Chappell +15000
Si Woo Kim +15000
Brendan Steele +17500
Chez Reavie +17500
Bill Haas +20000
Brian Gay +20000
Haotong Li +20000
Lucas Glover +20000
Pat Perez +20000
Ross Fisher +20000
Trey Mullinax +20000
Alexander Levy +25000
Andrew Johnston +25000
Braden Thornberry +25000
Danny Willett +25000
Dean Burmester +25000
Dylan Frittelli +25000
Jhonattan Vegas +25000
Jim Furyk +25000
Matt Wallace +25000
Ollie Schniederjans +25000
Patrick Rodgers +25000
Roberto Castro +25000
Ryan Evans +25000
Ryan Fox +25000
Satoshi Kodaira +25000
Shubhankar Sharma +25000
Aaron Baddeley +35000
Matt Jones +35000
Matthew Southgate +35000
Michael Hebert +35000
Richy Werenski +35000
Russell Knox +35000
Sam Burns +35000
Scott Stallings +35000
Sebastian Munoz +35000
Steve Stricker +35000
Tyler Duncan +35000
Brian Stuard +50000
Cole Miller +50000
Doug Ghim +50000
Ernie Els +50000
Harold Varner III +50000
Lucas Herbert +50000
Scott Piercy +50000
Shintaro Ban +50000
Shota Akiyoshi +50000
Sungjae Im +50000
Ted Potter Jr. +50000
Theo Humphrey +50000
Tom Lewis +50000
Dylan Meyer +75000
Eric Axley +75000
James Morrison +75000
Lanto Griffin +75000
Matthieu Pavon +75000
Mike Miller +75000
Noah Goodwin +75000
Paul Waring +75000
Richie Ramsay +75000
Rikuya Hoshino +75000
Stewart Hagestad +75000
Calum Hill +100000
Cameron Wilson +100000
Chris Babcock +100000
Chris Naegel +100000
Chun-an Yu +100000
David Bransdon +100000
David Gazzolo +100000
Franklin Huang +100000
Garrett Rank +100000
Harry Ellis +100000
Jacob Bergeron +100000
Jason Scrivener +100000
Kenny Perry +100000
Kristoffer Reitan +100000
Luis Gagne +100000
Mackenzie Hughes +100000
Matt Parziale +100000
Michael Block +100000
Michael Putnam +100000
Mickey DeMorat +100000
Philip Barbaree +100000
Rhett Rasmussen +100000
Ryan Lumsden +100000
Scott Gregory +100000
Sebastian Vazquez +100000
Sulman Raza +100000
Sung Joon Park +100000
Tim Wilkinson +100000
Timothy Wiseman +100000
Ty Strafaci +100000
WC Liang +100000
Will Grimmer +100000
Will Zalatoris +100000

Odds Subject to Change

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