Garrick Higgo’s heater just never ends. He’s now won six times on four different tours across three continents over the past 25 months. I’d imagine he’s here to stay in the U.S. but like many of his South African predecessors, he may just keep globe-hopping.
Now, with a major this week, it’s only fair to try to see how he fits into that scene. For a lefty who hits it as far as anyone off the tee, the obvious look will be that stop in early April. It may take one or two trips for him to get Augusta dialed in but with his length and short game, he’s going to contend there soon.
As for the card, we came close last week with Doc Redman tying for second, although for our purposes, he was never really in contention and just made one of those late Matt Kuchar-style runs to cash himself a nice check.
Now, it’s off to Torrey Pines and the U.S. Open. It’s not often we get this tournament at a course we see every year. Pebble Beach is the only other one in the rotation that holds a regular PGA TOUR event.
This will be the second time that Torrey Pines has hosted the event. The other was in 2008, won by Tiger Woods over Rocco Mediate in a marathon playoff.
Unlike the regular TOUR event, the South Course will play host to all four rounds this week. The South Course is a long and difficult par-71 measuring nearly 7,652 yards. On top of the length, it has narrow fairways and deep rough, making it one of the hardest driving tests on the PGA TOUR.
Length is always an advantage here, but more so if golfers can keep the driver in play. The leaderboards lean more toward a total driving test than a bomber’s paradise, but players with the ability to recover from the rough and have strong shorter games can play well here.
We’ve seen players like Patrick Reed, Marc Leishman and Brandt Snedeker have success here, so while distance will be a factor, you can get around this place with an elite short game.
Jon Rahm opens the week as a +1000 (PointsBet) favorite. No surprise really. He was the best player in his last start at Memorial, and he’s won on this course before. Rahm has been inconsistent in U.S. Opens but does own a third at Pebble Beach in 2019.
Dustin Johnson is next in line as one of four players at +1400. He seems to have recovered some form last week at the Palmetto Championship and has finished sixth or better in five of the last seven U.S. Opens. DJ hasn’t played much at Torrey recently, though. His last start here was in 2017, and he’s got one top 10 in seven starts.
Best friends Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau also check in at +1400. They’ve won three of the last four U.S. Opens between them. At Torrey during the normal season, though, they have four missed cuts in five starts combined. It’ll be interesting to see whether course form or the U.S. Open set up success for either of these two.
Jordan Spieth is the fourth player at +1400, and he also doesn’t have much of a track record at Torrey Pines. We remember his win at Chambers Bay, but the U.S. Open really hasn’t been kind to him other than that week. He doesn’t have a top 10 in eight other starts at the major.
Next up are Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy at +1600, both of whom come into this tournament in less-than-great form. Thomas hasn’t played at Torrey Pines since 2015, basically writing it off his schedule. He has two top-10s in six U.S. Open starts. Rory does have a win at this major, but he hasn’t really contended since then and has missed the cut at three of his last six U.S. Opens.
Xander Schauffele is right behind at +1800. Xander was second at Torrey Pines this year, which was his first real chance of contending in his hometown. He’s also got one of the best U.S. Open track records, finishing in the top six in each of his four starts. I’d expect him to be the most popular play in this range this week.
Collin Morikawa checks in at +2200. He hasn’t cracked the top 30 in two starts at the U.S. Open. Morikawa made his Torrey Pines debut this year and finished 21st.
I’ll go down to that next tier though with my first play in Patrick Cantlay. He’s available at +2500 on DraftKings after taking full advantage of Rahm pulling out of the Memorial a couple weeks ago and had a great ball striking week at the PGA Championship. He’s never really contended at either Torrey Pines or the U.S. Open, but I’ll ride the form that the California native is in.
We’ll start here with this year’s Torrey Pines champ, Patrick Reed at +3000 on FanDuel. Reed was also great at Memorial, finishing fifth. He’s got a strong U.S. Open record recently finishing inside the top 15 in four of his last six starts. Torrey Pines has been a good spot for Reed as well. Prior to his win, he also had a sixth place finish and has never missed the cut in four starts. He’s not among the bombers, so he’ll need his short game to be completely dialed in if he’s to contend. That’s been the case for a few months now. He hasn’t lost strokes around the green since March and has gained strokes putting in 11 of his last 13 events.
I’m also going with Tyrrell Hatton at +5000 on PointsBet. I played him at this number a few months back and it didn’t really look like that good of a bet, but Hatton found his game at the Palmetto Championship, leading in strokes gained tee to green while having an awful putting week. That will lead him to being a little more popular now.
Hatton has never teed it up at Torrey, which makes him more of a wild card. He’s also had mixed results at the U.S. Open, where he was sixth in 2018 but also missed the cut twice in four starts.
I made early plays on Marc Leishman and Francesco Molinari at 100/1 and 150/1 to start the year, but nothing much in recent months would make me want to go back to them. Leishman is +8500 at FanDuel, although Molinari is +28000 there.
The one sleeper I’ll be watching this week is Chan Kim, who can be found as high as 750/1 on FanDuel. He’s not going to win but is worth a look in the place bet markets as a top-20 or top-40 play or as a first-round leader if he gets a good tee draw.
Kim is usually one of the longest hitters, if not the longest, in Japan and just blew away his U.S. Open qualifying field in California to get into this event. He was also 23rd in the PGA Championship, where he gained almost six strokes ball striking. He’s got five wins in Japan, including two majors in the Far East, on courses that aren’t really set to cater to the bombers.
The Arizona State alum played a lot of amateur golf on the West Coast, as well. While he’s still unknown over here, he’s the type of player who could pop up and have a good week.
U.S. Open Card
- Patrick Cantlay +2500 (1.32 units)
- Patrick Reed +3000 (1.1 units)
- Tyrell Hatton +5000 (.66 units)
- Marc Leishman +10000 (.33 units)
- Francesco Molinari +15000 (.22 units)
- Chan Kim +75000 (.04 units)
Total Stake: 3.67 units