Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the 2017 U.S. Open
The U.S. Open Fantasy Preview
So here we are then: the second major of the calendar year, the US Open, at the devilish Erin Hills in Wisconsin. For anybody wanting to win this week, well, they are going to have to play some seriously good golf.
One guy who played some pretty good golf last week was Daniel Berger, who successfully retained his FedEx St. Jude Classic trophy with a one-stroke triumph over Whee Kim and Charl Schwartzel.
Props to Berger for his closing pair of 66s – and successfully defending his title, which is never easy to do, but we’re happy enough to gloss over the result after our main daily Fantasy pick, Rickie Fowler, decided he wanted to scout Erin Hills early and so carded 74-70 to get the weekend off.
You can hardly blame him though given the reports coming out of Wisconsin. Those that have taken a walk around Erin Hills have hinted that this could be one of the toughest US Open tests in years, with the super-long track – combined with squally winds and hazard-laden fairways – presenting the ultimate challenge.
That’s exactly how we like our US Opens….and we can’t wait to see how things unfold this week.
Last Week’s Fantasy Results from the FedEx St. Jude Classic
It was another crazy leaderboard last week in Memphis with our guys looking pretty up until the end.
It’s true what they say; your fantasy week comes down to the final hole on Sunday, the same way it does for the pros. One of our Premium Subscription members was sitting in 1st place set to win $15,000 on DraftKings with the help of our Sleeper Pick Stewart Cink, until Cink gave a few back late Sunday. Although he narrowly missed the big prize our reader still learned how to mix and match our picks with some independent research and cashed in nicely:
Here is another satisfied Premium Member who didn’t have much luck on Fan Duel but would have cleaned up had he mixed and matched between our FanDuel and DraftKings picks.
In total, our main fantasy picks, despite losing Fowler to the cut line, still managed to push forward five of seven to the weekend including four Top 27 finishers.
Our Tuesday Sleeper Report almost produced a winner in Stewart Cink, until the veteran went 3-over on the back nine with a random double bogey. Cink had been lights out all week leading up to that point, so be sure to look out for Cink as a possible low priced sleeper at Erin Hills.
The 2017 U.S Open Field
This is a major, so you kinda know the drill here already. The absolute cream of the crop is in town, and really it is quicker to outline the player(s) not in the field who could have had a say in matters: Phil Mickelson, who seems unlikely to make his tee time after attending his daughter’s graduation, and Ryan Moore, who is struggling with a shoulder injury. Tiger Woods, who could have teed up as a former US Open champion, has declined the invitation.
Other than that the field is as star-studded as you can imagine it would be with the top 60 in the OWGR taking their place alongside an eclectic mix of qualifiers and those exempt from qualifying.
Basically, anybody who is anybody in world golf – plus some incredibly talented amateurs – will take to the tee at Erin Hills this Thursday.
This Week’s Course Preview
Wow, where to start. Erin Hills has been greeted with a rather mixed set of reviews from those who have played a practice round or two on the track. Dustin Johnson was effusive in his praise for the layout after playing a couple of rounds there last week, although subsequent social media posts from Wes Bryan and Kevin Na have bemoaned the difficulty of the rough stuff.
Bryan took to Twitter to showcase just how deep the fescue is, while Na’s it’s-funny-but-don’t-laugh-because-he’s-angry Instagram post confirmed that if your ball lands in the thick stuff this week you can basically kiss it goodbye.
Erin Hills is a great design course but the fescue is almost unplayable. BTW never found the ball. So don’t hit it in there lol. straight hitters have a chance! #usopen #erinhills #mikedavis #lostball #usga
To be honest, that’s how – for the purists at least – a US Open should be. Look at the rollcall of former winners here: the likes of Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Graeme McDowell, Webb Simpson, and Lucas Glover have taken the title. Those guys have a few things in common, most notably their short-and-straight hitting and an ability to avoid disaster on the course. If that’s the blueprint for the US Open champion, then we’re all for that.
Okay, so that’s one angle. But then there’s the polar opposite of that: Erin Hills is big….extremely big. Set in 652 acres of land – four times that of the average golf course, and from the very back tees measures a ridiculous 8,348 yards in total. The suggestion is that it will actually play at around 7,693 yards this week, making it the second longest track in US Open history and even then by just two yards to Chambers Bay.
And it’s not just the hitting length. Erin Hills is said to be an exhausting physical test, with players walking more than six miles per round up and down hills and through thick grass if tee shots are wayward; in total, the champion will have stomped more than 20 miles on route to glory. With very little shade and temperatures expected to reach 88 degrees, the US Open 2017 could well be a young man’s game.
Have we mentioned the wind? The breeze can reach up to 30 mph out here, and it very rarely comes from a single direction. Course management is going to be tremendously difficult this week.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The US Open will revert to a Par 72 for the first time in 25 years, and initial observations have suggested that fairways are wider than normal; perhaps Bryan and Na are scaremongering slightly with their diatribes. The Bentgrass greens are said to be responsive but not lightning fast, and noticeably there are few trees on the course; it feels very open, and while that minimizes shelter from the wind at least that makes shot selection easier.
The images we have seen have suggested a sort of inland links-style feel, too. There are stacks of undulations running throughout and greens are occasionally perched on mounds with significant run-off areas on all sides; so there will be plenty of ‘blind’ approaches. Water is only in play on a couple of holes.
Erin Hills is untested as a professional golf course though (it did host the 2011 US Amateur Championship), and anybody who remembers the fiasco at Chambers Bay in 2015 – only five players finished under par at a course that Gary Player described as ‘the worst I’d seen in 63 years as a golfer’ – will be concerned.
But USGA CEO Mike Davis is on record as saying that ‘I think scoring will be lower at Erin Hills than most [other US Open] sites.’ Either way, the players are in for a super-challenging week – bring it on!
Weather Forecast for Erin, Wisconsin
This is an early forecast and so must be taken with a grain of salt, but there is rain predicted both before and during the tournament.
These will be scattered thunderstorms Monday through Wednesday, brought about by the high temperatures and sweltering humidity.
On Thursday, the hope is that overnight rain will clear in time for the first tee, with cloudy conditions the likely result. Wind speeds will increase from around 3 mph in the morning to 9 mph in the afternoon.
Friday brings a similar pattern, with winds increasing throughout the day, and the occasional isolated downpour might trigger short delays but nothing more.
Of the four days Saturday is likely to be the ‘rainiest’, with scattered showers forecast throughout the day. Winds look set to treble throughout the day.
At least Sunday is shaping up okay. It’s going to be windy, sure, but at least the rain looks set to be kept at bay. The sun might even appear in time for the winner’s presentation!
Last Year’s Results from the U.S. Open
After a catalog of missed opportunities, Dustin Johnson finally got over the line in a major with his final tally of -4 good enough to land the title.
He still managed to claim the honors despite a penalty shot for an apparent moving ball when putting at the fifth on Sunday. That could have derailed his challenge – on such fine margins do championship Sundays rest – but he held his nerve to get home by three shots over Jim Furyk, Scott Piercy, and 54-hole leader Shane Lowry. They were the only four players under par by the end of a brutal four days.
The weather was a huge factor in the early going, with various rain delays meaning that the first round was not completed until 3pm on Friday. Those that avoided the worst of the conditions on day one – Andrew Landry, Bubba Watson, and Danny Lee – were sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard, with DJ one back at -3.
But the real advantage went to those with an early tee time for round two, with DJ (-4) safely in the clubhouse while the second wave were still battling the elements. The second round was not completed until 2pm on Saturday.
After a tumultuous Saturday, Lowry headed into Sunday at -7; a four-shot lead over Johnson and Landry. Could the Irishman close out his first major title? The answer was a resounding no, as he carded 76 to be usurped by DJ (69) and the fast finishing Jim Furyk (66).
Johnson completed the victory and laid to rest the three-putt horror show that cost him the gold at Chambers Bay 12 months prior. It was confirmation that here stood the best player on the planet.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the U.S. Open this Week
Major week brings with it stacks of opportunities for those hungry for big DFS wins, and as usual it’s DraftKings that is bringing the main thunder this week.
If you’ve been accumulating a steady bankroll of late, now might be the time to unleash it upon the world.
- $3.5 Million Fantasy Golf Millionaire: If you have $33 to your name, could there be a better way to spend it than by attacking this contest? The winner will become a millionaire, while the top 25% of players will trouser a minimum of $50.
- PGA $500k Birdie: For those on a tighter budget perhaps this is your best angle of attack. There’s multi-entry of 20 teams with a fee of $3, and a top prize of $30k to duke it out for. Not too shabby at all!
And don’t forget, for all you U.S. players there’s also plenty of action on FanDuel this week.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the U.S. Open
The path to US Open glory has been a diverse one through the years, with Rory McIlroy’s winning tally of -16 at Congressional in 2011 a completely different effort compared to that of his compatriot Graeme McDowell’s level par at Pebble Beach a year earlier.
The prevailing trends seem to be fairly consistent, however, and altogether not surprising. Jordan Spieth and Martin Kaymer had both won on Tour prior to their victories in 2015 and 2014 respectively, while 12 months ago DJ arrived at Oakmont on the back of a season that had contained six top-10 finishes. Clearly, being in form is a huge help.
This is going to be a slightly different test to the US Open norm in that a) it is a Par 72 and b) played at a much longer course than normal, so strokes gained from tee-to-green will be a key statistic. Picking out players with strong Total Driving stats – but with a heavy focus on the distance metric – is a good starting point.
Our picks are going to have to stay out of that fescue altogether or scramble supremely well from medium range; with the small greens perched on elevations, or with brutal run-off areas, scrambling will be a key stat full stop.
The bunkers are described as treacherous at Erin Hills, so effective course management will be crucial, with course designer Michael John Hurdzan quoted as saying that ‘nobody will be able to play the bunkers very well.’ So strong approach play, from around the 125-175 mark, will be essential.
And as for the Bentgrass greens….well, you don’t win a major unless you putt well. They will play pretty fast, especially if windy, so looking out for Bentgrass specialists makes sense.
History buffs will know that the last six majors have been won by a first-timer, but look at that list of players: DJ, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia….all outstanding players. Even Jimmy Walker and Danny Willett were/are regular winners on the PGA and European Tours. Will we have another major maiden? It’s possible, but most of the world’s elite now have a ‘biggie’ to their name.
Erin Hills has drawn comparisons with Pinehurst and Chambers Bay, hosts of the 2014 and 2015 US Opens respectively, while Whistling Straits is another Wisconsin based course to host a major (the 2015 PGA Championship). On the main tour, tracks like Torrey Pines, Golf Club of Houston, TPC San Antonio, and Bay Hill have certain similarities.
Don’t forget to utilize our Key Fantasy Stats tool to give you can edge over the rest of the field this week. When $1 million is on the line, you need every fantasy tool you can get!
This tool allows you to sort player within the field by salary and a handful of stats. Assume you’re torn between Fowler and Garcia this week and want to lean on a longer ball and more accurate hitter. Our Key Fantasy Stats tool (available to all Premium Members) will sort and compare for you!
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the U.S. Open
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2016-2017)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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