The U.S. Open kicks off in one day, and the storylines are frothy. Jon Rahm is in an excellent position following his COVID-19 incident at Memorial. Phil Mickelson is on the heels of a historic win at the PGA Championship, ready to complete the career Grand Slam. While Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are in a feud that seems to be heating up heading into Torrey Pines.
The South Course at Torrey Pines will show her teeth with thick rough, five monstrous par 4s that measure over 460 yards and 82 bunkers throughout.
For a full course preview and who I like in the betting market, please refer to the DraftKings Preview and DraftKings Sportsbook articles. Here are the pivots we should be considering this week on DraftKings.
Projected Popular Golfer: Brooks Koepka ($10,100)
Pivot: Dustin Johnson ($10,700)
You’ll find zero issues here with rostering Brooks this week; he’s as close to an auto-play in every Major as there is until he proves otherwise, which doesn’t seem like anytime soon. Johnson’s weekend at Congaree was awful, losing 2.31 strokes with his irons and almost one stroke putting. His first two rounds were a completely different story, gaining 9.18 strokes Tee-to-Green, with 4.68 of them coming from SG: Approach. His best finish at the Farmers Insurance Open was a third back in 2011 and, more recently, an 18th in 2016. Dustin’s last appearance at Torrey Pines was an MC in 2017, so there are doubts about how well he could perform this week. Still, when the No. 1 player in the world is projecting to be less than 10% owned, we should take advantage. His U.S. Open track record reads five top-six finishes, a third in 2018, a runner-up in 2015 and a win in 2016.
$8,000 to $10,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Xander Schauffele ($9,300)
Pivot: Webb Simpson ($8,700)
The San Diego native projects to be the highest-rostered golfer per fantasynational.com this week, and it makes a ton of sense why: He grew up playing Torrey Pines, he’s a great ball-striker, he putts well on poa annua and has an unbelievable record in Majors. With a recent 11th place finish at the Memorial Tournament and a second place at the Farmers Insurance this season, Xander is perfectly positioned to play well here. Conversely, it feels like Webb hasn’t had a great season, but he’s only missed one cut since July of last year and finished eighth at last year’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot — a course he “shouldn’t” have played well with his lack of distance. A 30th at the PGA Championship and a 12th at Augusta National in April prove his game at the Majors is there; he just has to put it all together for four days. Like Johnson, Webb’s U.S. Open record is stellar, with no worse than a 35th since 2017 and a win back in 2012 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. It was a much shorter course than Torrey Pines, but it’s a U.S. Open win, nonetheless. Tony Finau ($8,700), Will Zalatoris ($8,600) and Louis Oosthuizen ($8,100) all made the shortlist, as well, but Webb’s ability to put on poa annua and his ball-striking on a difficult course like Torrey Pines make him the preferred target in this range.
$7,000 to $8,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Jason Kokrak ($7,600)
Pivot: Carlos Ortiz ($7,100)
Surprisingly, with Paul Casey ($7,900), Tommy Fleetwood ($7,800) and Phil Mickelson ($7,700) in this range, Jason Kokrak is projected to be the highest-rostered of the bunch. Like above, there’s a ton of talent in this range with the Major field, and while Shane Lowry ($7,600), Adam Scott ($7,400) and Max Homa ($7,300) are some of my favorites, Carlos Ortiz is my favorite under-the-radar play this week. Casey, Lowry, Scott and Homa are all fine plays, but Ortiz is striking the ball so well, gaining 9.5 strokes through approach at the Memorial Tournament. He’s also gained with his irons in three of his last four events. Ortiz’s putting is what has made him successful on the PGA TOUR long term, but he’s lost just over six strokes total on the greens in his last two starts. On poa annua, Ortiz ranks 17th in SG: Putting over the previous 50 rounds, so he should feel more comfortable this week. Carlos’ best finish in his two starts at the U.S. Open is a 52nd in 2019, but what he lacks in distance, he can make up for with what he does on the putting surfaces. Sure, it could go south on the South Course fast for Ortiz, but rostering Kokrak — who’s second to only Xander in projected roster percentage — could be chalk you may want to avoid.
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