Par 72, 7,693 Yards
The US Open has always traditionally been a very tricky test with deep rough, fast greens and lots of run off areas and Erin Hills looks to be keeping up with that trend. This course is relatively young with construction taking place in 2004 and opening two years later in 2006. It was designed on 400 acres of pasture land and has been left relatively untouched. The designers decided to leave it as is using the natural contours of the land leaving it wide open with plenty of wind an very few trees. A mix of dunes, fescue grasses and penal bunkers give Erin Hills a “Linksy” look and feel to it.
There are four par 3’s, ten par 4’s and four par 5’s in total. Although it measures a lengthy 7,693 yards, it can play shorter depending on wind direction and tee position. The fairways have been described as dry and bouncy so this will allow for a lot of run on the ball. Kevin Na posted a video on Instagram showing the depth of the rough and it looks pretty awful, measuring roughly between one and two feet in places. If your tee shot ends up in there, forget about it.
The front nine seems fairly manageable but the back nine looks a far stiffer challenge. There are some blind tee shots with some very tricky bunkers so good scrambling will be a big plus. Some of the bentgrass greens are elevated like an upturned saucer shape with lots of run off areas, similar to Pinehurst No.2, the venue for the 2014 US Open. The greens are fractionally larger than previous US Open greens and could run quite fast if the wind gets up.
Going by this course and previous US Opens, the main areas of focus are GIR, driving accuracy, driving distance, putting average and scrambling. You can view Erin Hills hole by hole guide by clicking here
It could be Rickie’s time to bag his first major and who would begrudge him? He arrives in Erin Hills in the best form of his career with a win and six top 10’s so far this season. He had a great win at the Honda Classic in Florida at the end of February and kept up his good form with a solo 12th in Bay Hill, T3 in Houston, T11 in Augusta and a T2 recently at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
Fowler has proven to be a great wind and links player over the last few years with a win at the 2015 Scottish Open in Gullane, a T8 in Royal Aberdeen in 2014 and a T2 at The Open Championship in 2014 in Hoylake. He has also played well at the US Open in the past finishing T10 in Merion in 2013 and a T2 in Pinehurst in 2014.
Fowler also ticks a lot of statistical boxes here ranking 33rd in driving distance, 25th in driving accuracy, 29th in GIR, seventh in strokes gained putting and 22nd in scrambling. When you weigh it all up its hard not to fancy Rickie’s chances here in Erin Hills.
Big hitting Spaniard Jon Rahm has made quite an impact on the PGA Tour this season with a win and seven top 10’s under his belt so far. After shooting a final round 65 at the Farmers Insurance Open in February, Rahm bagged his first PGA Tour win at previous US Open venue, Torrey Pines, finishing on 13 under par in total. He has shown some great consistency this year finishing T5 at Pebble Beach, T3 at the WGC Mexico Championship, solo second at the WGC Matchplay, T10 in Houston, solo fourth at the Wells Fargo and a T2 at the Dean & Deluca in Colonial recently. Rahm has one appearance at The US Open which was last year in Oakmont where he finished in a respectable T23.
Statswise he has the length to score around this course averaging just over 305 yards off the tee ranking 13th in driving distance. He also ranks 15th in GIR, 19th in scrambling and second in par 4 scoring. Rahm is a serious talent and its only a matter of time before he wins not one, but multiple major championships in the future.
Pieters has had a good season so far and could be another player that could suit a long, tricky test like Erin Hills. He played well at the Dubai Desert Classic back in February finishing T23 and followed that with a T5 at the WGC Mexico Championship and a T4 in Augusta, which included two 68’s. Thomas then went to Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship and finished T14 shooting three rounds in the 60’s to finish four under par in total.
The big hitting Belgian is averaging just over 309 off the tee ranking 22nd in driving distance. He also ranks 11th in putting average and 21st in stroke average on the European Tour this season. If he can keep the ball in short grass off the tee, Pieters looks good value to have a good week here.
The South African has been coming into some good form lately and has proven himself to be a great wind player. He finished T27 at The Masters at the end of April and followed that with a T11 at the RBC Heritage, a T10 in Texas and a respectable T24 in New Orleans. Grace is the kind of player that has proven he can really tough it out on the stiffer US Open tests with two top 10’s over the last two years. He finished T5 last year in Oakmont and came close to winning in Chambers Bay in 2015 but pulled his tee shot left on the 16th out of bounds which ended up costing him a double bogey.
He is a proven wind player with two wins at The Qatar Masters in the windy Doha Golf Club, a win at Harbour Town Golf Links at the RBC Heritage in 2016 and a T13 this year at The Sony Open in Hawaii. Grace is playing well at the moment and has the game to be a big danger man here.
Kisner has been in fine fettle this season showing some great consistency. His good run of form began back in January where he finished T4 at the windy Waialae Country Club, home of the Sony Open. He followed that with a T10 in Pebble Beach, T2 at the Arnold Palmer in Bay Hill, T11 at the RBC Heritage, a win at the Dean & Deluca Invitational in Colonial and an impressive T6 at The Memorial in Ohio.
Kisner has had some good finishes in the Majors over the last couple of years finishing T12 at The US Open in Chambers Bay in 2016 and T18 at The US PGA Champonship in Baltusrol. The American also ticks a few key statistical boxes here ranking 12th in driving accuracy, 23rd in strokes gained putting and 28th in scrambling. Kisner is another proven wind specialist and could be another one to keep an eye on here.
Final Selections –
Rickie Fowler 1pt EW 20/1
Jon Rahm 1pt EW 20/1
Thomas Pieters 0.5pts EW 40/1
Branden Grace 0.5pts EW 40/1
Kevin Kisner 0.5pts EW 55/1
Total staked = 7 pts
*Paddypower paying 8 places*
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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