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Fantasy Golf Picks: 2017 US Open Predictions, Sleepers & Preview

Patrick Mayo Staff Writer June 12, 2017 1:59AM EDT

2017 US Open
Defending Champ: Dustin Johnson

FNTSY Sports Network’s Pat Mayo and Cam Stewart debate their 2017 US Open picks and the week in betting at the year’s second Major from Erin Hills. Plus, Tim Anderson joins to reveal which players have been ANDERCURSED!!!

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2017 US Open Picks: Show Index

4:01 Players & Course
45:49 Bets & Picks
48:44 One and Done

2017 US Open Field
156 Players | Top 60 & Ties Make the Cut

The qualifiers are finished and the field is finally set. In all, 156 Players are making the trek to Erin Hills for the 2017 US Open… to be completely brutalized for 72 holes. It won’t take long for the year’s second Major to reveal itself as the toughest test in golf. It looks barbaric. Whether it’s the knee-high fescue that already has Kevin Na rattled, or the sheer distance of the layout, forcing relatively in-shape people to take a time out, many are with Adam Scott is in praying to the USGA gods to, “just have something that’s a challenge and interesting, not just playing brutal”. It doesn’t appear like he’s going to get his wish this time around.

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For the quality of the field, it’s top notch. Obviously, it’s a Major. However, the one notable absence at the 2017 US Open may be Phil Mickelson. Phil has an afternoon tee time Thursday, but has opted to attend his daughter’s graduation that morning on the West Coast, a mere two hours before he’s obligated to hit his first shot. Phil hasn’t officially withdrawn, and may not until the very last second, which would sneak Whee Kim into the field to replace him, but it appears like he’s going to give it a shot. Following his final round at the St. Jude Classic, Mickelson said he needs about a four-hour weather delay to make it on time. Knowing Phil, he’s got buddies who have Mother Nature on the take and everything will work out. I don’t know what’s worse, having to hear about this garbage for the next few days; future people pointing to this moment as why Phil never got the career grand slam (like Phil has a chance to win here anyway), or being Whee Kim, who may end up traveling to Wisconsin to not play golf. Hell on Earth. Either way, I think Phil ends up playing, as it looks like the weather may cooperate. Although, I’ve been known to be wrong. Frequently.

The cut line at the 2017 US Open is a bit different than a standard event: The Top 60 and ties will make the cut. Some people are under the assumption that the old “All players within 10 shots of the lead play the weekend rule” is still in play. It’s not. That hasn’t been a thing since 2012. So, if you think that, you’re wrong, wrong.

Check Out Mayo’s 2017 US Open Complete Picks, Bets & One and Done Selections

Since Erin Hills is a new venue in the US Open rotation, almost the entire field has zero experience on the grounds outside of a few practice rounds. However, this was the site of the 2011 US Amateur. An event where a splattering of players this week laced up the spikes in their youth. Jordan Spieth played that year. He lost in the quarterfinals. Peter Uihilen, Bryson Dechambeau, Russell Henley, Justin Thomas, Harris English, and Jonathan Randolph all made the knockout stage in 2011 as well.

2017 US Open Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee
Strokes Gained: Approach-To-Green
Par 4 Birdies or Better
Approaches 200+ Yards
US Open History

2017 US Open Course
Erin Hills | 7,741 Yards | Par 72

Lets dig into the course.

Erin Hills is the first US Open venue to play as a Par 72 since 1992 at Pebble Beach. Which means, four Par 5s. That’s important for scoring. Problem is, since its a Par 72, Erin Hills is LONG. Like 7,800 yards, depending on the day, long. Fortunately, the fairways are much wider than at standard US Opens, so the field will really be able to give it a rip off the tee. Per usual, the rough is long enough to qualify as, like Na discovered, unfair. And, with no trees on the layout, the potential for wind guests, from all directions is going to be prevalent.

For corollary courses, on top of targeting those who’ve played well at past US Opens and are comfortable with the deadly USGA conditions, Chambers Bay and Pinehurst No. 2 were my first two looks. Like Pinehurst No. 2, the areas around the greens are shaved, allowing players to putt from off the greens, putting those with disastrous short games back in play. Or, so I thought. After speaking with Shane Bacon, who’s played the course recently and working the FOX broadcast, he assured me that taking out the flat stick from off the putting surfaces isn’t going to be strategically sound decision. Originally, I was deemphasizing the importance of the Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green metric, but it looks like a solid short game is going to prevent hilariously crooked numbers on the scorecard. Yes, it will critical to success, however it’s not the most important part of a player’s game this week.

Check out Mayo’s complete 2017 US Open DraftKings Millionaire Maker Picks & Preview

Like Chambers Bay, Erin Hills is a lengthy American style links course, so the tee shots and overall approaches should be similar. Ditto for Whistling Straights. Many are pointing to driving distance as THEE key stat this week. Now, I do think extra distance is advantageous (Spoiler: It always is), but I’m not discounting the shorter, more accurate hitters either. Their degree of difficulty on approach shots will higher with the added length, but there are enough bunkers littered in and around the fairways that control with the driver is going to be necessary, despite the wider fairways. Because of that, I’ll be weighting Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee very heavily along with Strokes Gained: Approach. You can look at ball striking if you like, but I prefer combining those two totals to get Strokes Gained: Ball Striking. Along with those, I’ll be narrowing my approach focus on those from beyond 200 yards, Par 4 birdies or better, and those who can consistently score on Par 5s.

2017 US Open Picks (Yahoo Game)

Shane Lowry & Dustin Johnson – Dustin, you now about him. He’s the world’s top ranked player, defending US Open champion, owner of three Top 5 finishes at this event the last three years, and gets a heavy dose of BABY SWAG entering the tournament… Lowry, he’s a bit of a different case. While also liking US Open stalwart Branden Grace in this grouping, Lowry’s game seems perfectly tailored to these types of tracks. Always one to perform better against strong fields and at tough courses, last year’s runner up also chalked up a T9 finish in 2015. And he does it with his off-the-tee work. For the year, he’s 19th in SG: OTT (11th over his past 50 rounds), despite a middling 68th ranking in driving distance. Lowry’s gained strokes on approach shots in four straight events and has started rolling it better on the greens too. Gaining strokes with the putter in four of his last five. Plus, if the wind begins howling, leaning towards some of the links-experienced international players will pay dividends.

Check out Mayo’s 2017 US Open Course Breakdown & Top Storylines with FOX’s Shane Bacon

Kevin Kisner, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose & Jamie Lovemark – Outside of driving distance (139th), there’s nary a category Kisner isn’t dominating this year. It’s led to a win, a silver medal, and seven Top 15s in 13 starts. The Kiz is in terrific form heading to Erin Hills (T6/Win), and is the type of Jim Furyk/Matt Kuchar type skill set that is going to get over looked at a perceived bombers paradise. Don’t make that error… Spieth and Rose, you know the deal, they pop up at every significant event. Both former US Open victors, each is playing a lot better than you may think. Weirdly, Spieth’s mini-stretch of poor play was because of his putter. He’s lost strokes on the greens in three of past four starts. With these bentgrass greens being compared to Augusta, but with fewer undulations, Speith should be able to find his stroke in Wisconsin. Despite his struggles, is there any other player in the field you’d trust to consistently make 15-foot par putts on a pure surface? Of course not… Simply put, Rose has been a beast in 2017. No missed cuts with a pair of seconds and four Top 10s in his ten starts. The only part of his of game in the tank at the moment is his approach work. Historically, his greatest strength. If he can recapture his glorious long iron work for four rounds, you’ll see the Brit on the Sunday leaderboard… You can’t just eat the chalk in every spot, so, HELLLOOOOOOOO Lovemark. He smashes it off the tee, we know that, but it’s the remainder of his tee-to-green work that’s been impressive recently. The world’s former No. 1 amateur sits no worse than 45th in this field in any T2G metric over his past 24 rounds, good for a Top 20 grade in T2G overall. A lofty showing is all going to be determined by his putter. Lovemark’s bled strokes away on the greens in six of his last eight events. That ain’t no way to live. Fortunately, he’s been posting quality results in spite of a lousy putter. If he can putt not great, but merely to field average, he could be the next Webb Simpson or Lucas Glover.

Check Out Mayo’s 2016 US Open Prop Bet Show

Byeong-Hun An & Sergio Garcia – BYEONG-HUN AN, HE’S DYNAMITE!!!! No cuts missed this season, 18th and 9th respectively in SG: OTT and SG: APP in his last 12 rounds (good for sixth in SG: T2G in that stretch), and finally getting his putter proper. He’s got a shot. A pretty legit one. Just because you’re not familiar with the name, doesn’t mean he’s not good. Load up on Benny An… He’s The Masters champ and maker of nine straight US Open cuts, yet no one’s talking up Sergio at all. Strange. Sure, putting has always been the weakest part of his game, but he persists as one of the world’s most elite ball strikers, and at a ball striker’s course where conditions can get brutal, Garcia has an opportunity to become the seventh person in history to claim the year’s first two Majors.

The Pat Mayo Hour covers the entire scope of the Fantasy sports landscape from Football to Reality TV, daily and yearly leagues and everything in between. You can watch the Pat Mayo Hour every weekday at 3:00pm EST, 8:00pm EST and Midnight on the FNTSY Sports Network Television channel or on your Apple TV, Xbox, Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. If you have a Fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at PatMayoHour@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show

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