It’s officially U.S. Open week, and this year’s tournament heads to the historic Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. It will be the fifth time in Shinnecock’s storied history that they have hosted the nation’s championship and their first since undergoing an extensive restoration. The restoration will bring a new look to Shinnecock Hills from the last time it hosted in 2004. The golf course will test every aspect of a player’s game and requires excellence. If I were going to pick one aspect to be most important, I’d expect it to be approach play. Shinnecock’s green repel on nearly every side and the fairway have a great deal of slope. Here are some deep longshots I like to find their way into the mix on the weekend.
Chesson Hadley - 150 to 1
Hadley’s been one of the most consistent performers on the PGA Tour this season. He has five top-10 finishes and has notched top 20s in six of his past seven starts. Hadley makes his hay approaching the green, where he ranks 4th on Tour. He also ranks 14th in SG: Total, which showcases his all-around proficiency.
Trey Mullinax - 250 to 1
The long-hitting Alabama alum contended in last year’s U.S. Open, finishing in a tie for 9th. Mullinax comes into this year’s U.S. Open after a t6th at the FedEx St. Jude and a few weeks removed from a runner-up finish at the Valero Texas Open. Mullinax hits it a country mile off the tee, and if his driver gets hot he could have a great week
Cam Smith - 150 to 1
Growing up in Australia, Cameron Smith is accustomed to playing in firm and fast conditions. He thrived in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, finishing in a tie for 3rd as a 22-year-old. Despite having missed his last three cuts, I still like Smith as a sleeper.
Jimmy Walker - 100 to 1
Walker enters the week fresh off the backstopping controversy but also in fantastic form. He’s finished in the top 20 in his last five starts, which includes a 4th at the Valero, a t2nd at the PLAYERS and a t6th at the Byron Nelson. He ranks 26th in the PGA Tour’s SG: Approach statistic.
Patrick Cantlay - 60 to 1
In his twenty-five starts since coming back from a 2+ year layoff, Patrick Cantlay has a win, a runner-up, a 3rd and five other top 10s. Cantlay is efficient from tee to green this season, ranking 14th in SG off the tee, 31st in SG: Approach and 33rd in SG: Around the green. If Cantlay gets hot on the greens, he could win this week.