US Open 2016: Editor Picks

Our two best bets for the year's second major at Oakmont

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 14 Jun 2016
2

WINNER: DUSTIN JOHNSON
ODDS: 16/1
PREVIOUS US OPEN FORM: T48, T40, T8, T23, MC, 55,  T4, T2
LAST 10 STARTS: T41, 4, T14, T5, 3, T4, T28, T12, 3, 5

You could easily select one of the "Big Three" in Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy this week - that will likely be the story for at least another five years. But I want some value - and the name that springs off the page is big-hitting Dustin Johnson.

With firepower in abundance to tackle Oakmont's exacting 7,254-yard test, Johnson brings some impressive iron play, an improved short game and a vastly silkier putting stroke to Pennsylvania. Johnson ticks all the right boxes to go well this week, especially looking at the form guide.

Arriving at Oakmont off the back of a final-round 63 en route to a solo fifth at the St Jude Classic, a tournament that marked his sixth top-five finish in his last nine starts, Johnson finished tied fourth at the 2014 US Open and tied second last year. He also has seven top-seven finishes in four of his last five major starts.  

Other impressive stats this season include sitting second in the current PGA Tour birdie average (4.73) and scoring average (69.62), albeit his rounds typically on average get worse as tournaments progress (first round: 68.33; second round: 68.92; third round 70.58; fourth round: 70.67).

US OPEN: 10 OF THE BIGGEST CONTROVERSIES

His level of talent is unquestionable, but the biggest obstacle standing in Dustin Johnson's way of maiden major glory is Dustin Johnson. 

The world number six needs to somehow find some inner belief that a big one is within his grasp. He provides the persona of a laidback individual, trudging around the course with the swagger of a teenage boy who has just passed his driving test. 

But deep down inside, you feel he is still battling the major demons from his bunker debacle at the 72nd hole of the 2010 US PGA, and more recently his three-putt at the last when handing Spieth last year's US Open. 

An elusive US Open title would not only mark a career-defining moment for Johnson, but also extend his Tour-leading streak of years with a win to nine - a record his team tell us he is extremely proud of. 

It won't be easy and it won't be pretty out there at Oakmont this week. Patience will be very much a virtue. We just hope somebody has a quiet word in Dustin's ear come Thursday and tells him to breathe, stay brave and most importantly, believe. 

SLEEPER: BROOKS KOEPKA
ODDS: 45/1
PREVIOUS US OPEN FORM: MC, T4, T18
LAST 10 STARTS: T8, T26, T23, T9, MC, T21, MC, T35, 2, T2 

Brooks Koepka may still be fairly inexperienced in the majors with just three top-10 finishes from 11 career starts, but he arrives at Oakmont in as solid form as any.

Koepka, who lost in a play-off to Sergio Garcia at the Byron Nelson three weeks ago and then finished tied second at last week's St Jude Classic, sits inside the top 10 when it comes to driving distance (305 yards) and scoring average (70.06) on the PGA Tour this season.

The 26-year-old has only played in the US Open on three occasions, and despite missing the cut in his debut at Olympic Club, the big-hitting American impressed with a tie for fourth at Pinehurst in 2014 and landed a top-20 finish last year at Chambers Bay. 

Koepka's short game leaves something to be desired - he ranks 121st on Tour in strokes gained around the green - but his putting appears to have caught fire in recent weeks and that has helped him sail to the top of the leaderboards.

If you want some value to small stakes, Koepka could be your man. 

Who are you backing to win the US Open this week? Share your thoughts in the forum below, on TwitterFacebookInstagram or join us YouTube

 

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