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DraftKings DFS Fantasy Golf Cheat Sheet: 2022 U.S. Open Picks

Geoff Ulrich gets you set for the U.S. Open with winning trends and his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.

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



The Field

The field for the U.S. Open is 156 players and includes several players (pros and non-pros alike) who have gained entry through local and international qualifying. With the start list stretched to the max and the cut this week featuring just the top 60 and ties, we’re about to start the toughest four-day event of golf on the planet. For daily fantasy golf purposes, that means getting all six of your players through the cut this week will be even harder than usual, as (potentially) over 60% of the field will be dusted by Friday night.

The 2022 version of the U.S. Open sees us go back out East, and head to Brookline, Massachusetts, where The Country Club will host the event for the first time since 1988. With all that is going on in golf right now, we will have a big contingent of players who are making their way back from a competitor tour, and that should rile up the U.S. fans good for this week as well.

Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau — who all recently defected from the PGA TOUR — will be teeing it up. As will all the top players from the PGA TOUR, including Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and last week’s winner, Rory McIlroy. Expect typical U.S. Open conditions with fast greens and thick rough challenging players at every turn and definitely expect lower-than-normal fantasy scoring, where placing points will be key to success.


The Course

The Country Club — Brookline, Massachusetts

The Country Club 7,264 yards, par 70; Greens: Poa Annua

The Country Club has hosted some big events in the past but was last played as an actual PGA TOUR host venue back in 1988 at the U.S. Open (won by Curtis Strange). It also hosted the 1999 Ryder Cup and 2013 U.S. Amateur championship, which just so happened to be won by Matthew Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is in the field this week but it should be noted that The Country Club has been rerouted and renovated for this event.

The venue this week won’t play overly long by U.S. Open standards, but that shouldn’t dissuade the USGA from making par a very good score. The Country Club is built around plenty of natural penalty areas, like hills and mounds, that will cause the ball to run or bounce off into the rough/water, or fescue grass that surrounds some of the smallest greens players will see all year. In a lot of ways, The Country Club isn’t an overly complicated layout but details on every hole like runoffs, doglegs and naturally forming penalty areas will make each hole unique and give it an Open Championship-like vibe. In a lot of ways, the shorter Par 70 might play a lot like a West Coast-based venue we saw a couple of years ago in Pebble Beach, another shorter course that curtails itself around its environment, rather than bulldozes through it.

Pebble saw its winner get to 13-under-par for the week, but it seems likely we get tougher scoring at The Country Club, where extra penalty areas and vicious rough will make it a tougher test. Eight of the par 4s this week will measure over 450 yards, but there will also be two shorter par 4s (one on each nine) that measure in at well below 400 yards. The two par 5s on the course will also play markedly different with one stretching well over 600 yards and the other likely to play as one of the easiest holes on the course.

The small Poa Annua greens this week will be a big part of the story and greens in regulation percentages will likely be far below PGA TOUR average. The shorter setup could bring more golfers into play but expect this U.S. Open to play out like many others where driving distance and accuracy off the tee matter and only the strongest tee-to-green games in the field are left standing at the end.

2022 Weather Outlook: A tough setup could get even tougher this week as the weather isn’t looking overly inviting. Thursday starts out OK but winds are set to get up in the afternoon to near 15 mph. A small advantage for the early starters on the first day could transpire. How Friday will work out is up for debate right now as there are scattered thunderstorms in the forecast which could halt play. Saturday also has potential precipitation in the forecast so a couple of starts and stops are possible there too. For the most part, though, the weather will just be a mild distraction. Slightly cooler temperatures are expected, with highs in the low 70s the last two days but gusts are also expected to stay down for the most part. Watch Thursday and Friday in case a clear split develops, but don’t expect a massive advantage for either starting wave based on what the forecast is telling us right now.


Last 5 winners

2021—Jon Rahm -6 (over Louis Oosthuizen -5)

2020—Bryson DeChambeau -6 (over Matthew Wolff even)

2019—Gary Woodland -13 (over Brooks Koepka -11)

2018—Brooks Koepka +1 (over Tommy Fleetwood +2)

2017—Brooks Koepka -16 (over Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama -12)


Winning Trends

- Six of the past 15 U.S. Open winners had a win on the season before claiming their U.S. Open title.

- Ten of the past 12 winners of the U.S. Open had recorded at least four top 10s on the season before their U.S. Open victory.

- Each of the past 10 winners of the U.S. Open ranked inside the top 20 in Greens in Regulation percentage for the week of their victory.


Winners Stats and Course Overview

Jon Rahm — 2021 U.S. Open (6-under; **Torrey Pines)

SG: OTT—+2.8

SG: APP—+6.5

SG: TTG—+11.3

SG: ATG—+1.9

SG: PUTT—+3.8

  • Rahm showcased a dominant all-around game last year. He was steady in all areas with his irons doing most of the heavy lifting. His short game was actually the weakest portion of his game but he more than made up for it with the putter, which was a crucial club for him down the stretch.

The Country Club Course notes and quotes (from 2013 U.S. Amatuer)

  • Max Homa (2013): “No, I’ve seen quite a few pictures and it kind of looks like what you’d see maybe at St. Andrews or something like that. Or Chambers Bay maybe. It just depends on what you get. But the greens are definitely going to be the hardest challenge on how everyone’s going to play.”
  • Justin Thomas (2013): “I really like that it seems like a real position golf course, you just need to get it on the right spot on the green and then necessarily getting close to the green or going for it every time might not be the best option. It’s a lot about angles and having the right clubs. Overall, it looks like it’s going to be a great test and a lot of fun.”
  • Patrick Rodgers (2013): “The most links style I’ve ever played in America. I think it’s pretty unique. It’s got a lot of classic design. The redan hole and some of the other holes out here, I think it’s pretty unique in golf.”

Final Thoughts: Expect the venue to be a little more about placement than power, but with typical lightning-fast U.S. Open greens and some of the most penal rough the players will see all year. Short games and approach games will be tested to the max.


Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.

Matthew Fitzpatrick +3000 and $8,500

Comparables:

Louis Oosthuizen +4000 and $7,600

Comparables:

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


U.S. Open Horses (Players with the best US Open track records)

1. Brooks Koepka ($8,700; best finishes: win - 2018 + 2017): Koepka remains the prototypical U.S. Open player. He has won the event twice and has not finished worse than T4 at this event since 2017.

2. Louis Oosthuizen ($7,600; best finishes: 2nd - 2021 + 2015): Oosthuizen had the lead at this event with three holes to play last year and has finished runner-up at the U.S. Open twice now (2021 and 2015). He hasn’t finished outside the top 25 in a U.S. Open since 2014.

3. Xander Schauffele ($9,600; best finishes: T3 - 2019, 5th - 2020): Schauffele’s record at this event is ridiculously consistent. Over the past five seasons, he’s finished T7 or better at this event, a record that should make him a popular pick this week.

4. Patrick Reed ($7,200; best finishes: T4 - 2018): Reed is sixth in strokes gained total stats at this event over the past five years and has finished T19 or better at the U.S. Open in four of his last five appearances, as well.

5. Bryson DeChambeau ($7,900; best finishes: win - 2020): Bryson dominated this event just 20 months ago at Winged Foot. He has not missed the cut at the U.S. Open in four straight appearances since 2018.


Recent Form

1. Rory McIlroy ($10,500, Recent finishes: win-T18): McIlroy leads the field in Par 4 scoring over the past 24 rounds and is second in SG: Tee to Green stats. His 21st win last week is a great momentum boost after failing multiple times on Sunday this season.

2. Sam Burns ($8,300, Recent finishes: T4-win): Burns posted a T4 finish last week, his third top-5 finish in six starts. He has already won twice in 2022 and gained an absurd 9.3 strokes on approach last week.

3. Justin Thomas ($10,900, Recent finishes: 3rd-MC-win): The fact Thomas is only ranked third in recent form speaks to the form of some other players on the PGA TOUR right now. Thomas finished third last week but has grabbed finishes of fourth or better in three of his past four starts.

4. Tony Finau ($8,200, Recent finishes: 2nd-T4): After floundering a bit to start the year Finau has now reeled off back-to-back top-5 finishes. His around the green game has gained him strokes in five straight events and is peaking at the right time.

5. Max Homa ($8,100, Recent finishes: T5-T23 ): Homa has been great all season long and ranks second in strokes gained total stats over the past six events. He’s never made the cut at the U.S. Open, but don't be shocked if that record changes this week.


DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY

Cash Games: Go to the top with Justin Thomas

There’s no doubting that both Rory McIlroy ($10,500) and Justin Thomas ($10,900) are two of the best players in the world at the moment. The slight edge goes to Thomas, though, who has shown no hangover from his PGA Championship win and is likely the more consistent iron and around the green player of the two, a fact which could shine through on this shorter setup. Paying up for Thomas will be easy this week with plenty of value plays like Sam Burns ($8,300), Tommy Fleetwood ($7,700) and Sungjae Im ($7,600) lurking. All three players have been in good form this year, with Burns potentially being the most mispriced players in the field. If you need to go lower, Adam Scott ($7,200) and Justin Rose ($7,100) both stand out as targets and players with decent recent form and very consistent U.S. Open records.

Tournaments: Get busy with Berger

Daniel Berger ($8,400) will have some support this week, but missing the cut at the PGA Championship should keep his ownership lower. The U.S. Open has been his best major, though, with two top-10 finishes to his credit at this event since 2016. He looked in fine form his last time out, posting a career-best T5 at Muirfield and should get bypassed for Sam Burns ($8,300) in a lot of lineups. Patrick Cantlay ($9,200 - see below) and Aaron Wise ($7,800) are a couple of other names who will get some love, but likely bring in lower ownership than other names in their range, as well. Wise was fantastic his last time out and has the kind of length and touch around the greens to make some noise in the tougher U.S. Open setups. Some other GPP targets to consider this week include Patrick Rodgers ($7,000), Branden Grace ($6,900 - see below) and Sam Horsfield ($6,600).


MY PICK: Patrick Cantlay ($9,200)

This week feels like a little bit of a put-up or shut-up spot for Cantlay. The American has proven himself to be an otherworldly talent at numerous points but has left us sorely lacking more times than not in big events. The American’s horrific missed cut at the PGA Championship will have left scar tissue on daily fantasy owners, but it could also lead to much more palatable ownership on him in big GPPs this week, as well.

That is key as Cantlay’s U.S. Open record is actually quite solid. This year will mark his sixth U.S. Open start and a T15 from last year at Torrey Pines represented his best finish at this major, something he’ll assuredly take as a positive coming into this week. There is really no reason Cantlay can’t have more success at this week’s venue either. He has had great results at Pebble Beach and Hilton Head, where smaller greens and tight driving chutes will mimic at least some of what The Country Club will offer. His off-the-tee game is also underrated and well-suited for a U.S. Open. He ranked ninth in driving distance at The Memorial and has gained over 1.0 strokes OTT in 10 of his past 12 starts. While the performances in the majors have been lacking, six top 10s on the season (and a win at the team event) tell the story of a player ready to break out in a big event. At just $9,200, it’s worth giving Cantlay one more chance this week to see if he can get the true breakout win he’s been craving at what is still a very palatable price for our DFS lineups.


MY SLEEPER: Brian Harman ($7,000)

Harman’s been a pretty volatile player over the last few months, grabbing three top-20 finishes since the middle of March, but also two missed cuts in his last seven starts. The lefty is coming off a solid T18 finish, though, at the longer Muirfield Village setup and that’s a result worth noting as it represented his best finish at that venue in eight career stops.

His U.S. Open record is also something to consider as it has been the major where he has experienced the most success. His solo second place at Erin Hills in 2017 was a career highlight and he has now made the cut at this event in four straight appearances. A solid par 4 scorer who ranks fifth in Par 4 efficiency over the past 24 rounds, Harman has been very consistent off the tee this year and shown better upside of late around the greens and on approach. If he takes even a small tick upward from his last time out, he’ll make for a great DFS play at just $7K flat and makes for an interesting top 20 target at +350 on DraftKings Sportsbook as well.

MY SLEEPER (x2): Branden Grace ($6,900)

We’re almost assured to get super low ownership on Grace this week, a player who recently defected from the PGA TOUR to join a rival startup league. His recent form really wasn’t doing him any favors either, as Grace had missed four of his last six cuts on the PGA TOUR before leaving.

Momentum is a funny thing though and Grace’s putter is a club that can get red hot for him at times. He looked in great form at the first LIV event in London, grabbing a share of third place with a great final round. Grace also sports a very underrated U.S. Open record, and now has three top 10s at the event in his past seven appearances. With loads of experience and some building confidence, Grace sets up as a perfect GPP flyer to include in your DFS player pools this week and someone to consider for placing bets on DraftKings Sportsbook, where he sits at +150 to finish inside the top 40.

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



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