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DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks: U.S. Open Predictions, Preview

Geoff Ulrich previews the U.S. Open and gives his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

The third major championship of the year is upon us as the 122nd running of the U.S. Open is set to take place this week in Brookline, Massachusetts, at The Country Club, a historic venue that last hosted this event 34 years ago. The course will play as a par 70, measuring 7,264 yards and the greens will be pure Poa Annua and set up to play at usual U.S. Open standards (aka firm and fast). The U.S. Open has its own unique cut rule as only the top 60 and ties will play the weekend, which means over half the field will likely be cut from the event after Friday.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: $2.75M Fantasy Golf Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry]



From a DraftKings perspective, the U.S. Open pricing will see Scottie Scheffler ($11,300) once again as the top salaried player, just as he was at Augusta and the PGA Championship. Shortly behind him will be the reigning PGA Champion Justin Thomas ($10,900) and reigning U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm ($10,800). The field is 156 players and — due to the open qualifying procedure associated with this event — will feature plenty of non-regular PGA TOUR players who are all ranked near the bottom of the DraftKings salary structure.

STRATEGY

This will be the first time we have seen The Country Club in action on the PGA TOUR since the 1988 U.S. Open, which was won by Curtis Strange. It also hosted the 1999 Ryder Cup and the 2013 U.S. Amateur (won by Matthew Fitzpatrick). The setup this week will likely be miles different than those events though, given the number of renovations and routing changes The Country Club has seen of late. The venue will play as a par 70 for the pros but only to 7,264 yards (which isn’t overly long for a U.S. Open) and will also feature some of the smallest greens the players will see all season.

Pebble Beach is likely a good comparable for The Country Club in a couple of ways. While The Country Club is not situated seaside, it does shape around a lot of its natural environment in similar ways to Pebble Beach. Players will have multiple blind approach shots due to elevation, doglegs and mounds/hills obstructing views. Natural fescue and long grass also surround the greens and act as natural penalty areas for players.

The venue will feature a big mixture of holes as well. Six of the par 4s will measure over 450 yards, but there are also three that come in under 400 yards. The par 5 No. 8 will likely be one of the easiest of the week, coming in at around 550 yards, but the other par 5 (the 14th) will play over 600 yards. Given the U.S. Open-style setup, players are going to be tested in every facet of the game this week but expect the small greens and slightly shorter setup to bring plenty of different styles into play. Solid approach play throughout the bag will be essential with the smaller greens and short games will be tested to the max with some of the difficult natural surroundings around the course.

Joaquin Niemann ($8,900)

The U.S. Open has typically been a younger man’s event, with the average winning age over the last decade being around 28 years. Thus, we’ll start our DraftKings picks with the 23-year-old Niemann, a golfer who will actually be playing in his fourth U.S. Open. Niemann has taken a huge leap forward in 2022 and has dominated some of the PGA TOUR’s tougher venues like Muirfield Village and Riviera (where he won in February). Niemann’s ball-striking was immaculate his last time out at The Memorial (he gained over 10.0 strokes OTT and on approach, combined) and his short game has been an asset all season long — he’s top 15 in strokes gained around the green over the past 24 and 50 rounds. Niemann has made the cut in each of the first two majors of 2022 and has the game to challenge in these bigger events. At under $9,000 on DraftKings, he is the type of upside player you want to start with when entering this mid-tier range.

Daniel Berger ($8,400)

The 29-year-old Berger ups the age of our targets a bit but he’s still well within the range of recent winners. The American will be playing in his seventh career U.S. Open and has finished inside the top 10 at this event in two of his past four appearances. A slightly shorter par 70 should be perfect for Berger, who has upped his level of accuracy off the tee in 2022 and remains one of the most elite ball-strikers in the game, period, ranking fourth in strokes gained approach stats over the past 50 rounds. The American has been disappointing in the first two majors of 2022 (MC-T50), but the U.S. Open has always been his best event of the four majors. Coming off a T5 at Muirfield Village (a career-best for him on that course), where he gained over 5.0 strokes on approach and over 6.0 strokes putting, he looks like another great mid-range target this week.

Aaron Wise ($7,800)

Wise is yet another young player who looks ripe to break out in a big event soon. The 25-year-old is playing the best golf of his career thus far in 2022 and is coming into this year’s U.S. Open off of a solo second-place finish at Muirfield Village, where he gained 7.8 strokes on approach. The smaller greens in play shouldn’t scare Wise this week, who has been fantastic with his iron play all year and ranks eighth in strokes gained approach stats over the past 24 rounds. This will also be Wise’s fourth U.S. Open appearance, so the experience bank in this event is starting to build. At under $8,000 on DraftKings, he carries the kind of recent form we should be looking for at an event that will feature one of the toughest setups of the season.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: $2.75M Fantasy Golf Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry]


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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.


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