Fantasy Three to Watch at Shinnecock

Three players our stats guru thinks you should keep an eye on this week at the 118th US Open.

Three players our stats guru thinks you should keep an eye on this week at the 118th US Open.

It's time for the year's second Major as Shinnecock Hills plays host to the 118th U.S. Open. 156 players will tee it up this week as the New York venue hosts the championship for the fifth time.

A little softer than normal, Shinnecock should still provide a typically difficult US Open set-up. Large undulating greens will punish any wayward approaches but tee-to-green will be the main skill required to contend until Sunday evening.

With that in mind, here's our stats guru thinks could do well this week.

Favourite: Justin Rose

Rose”

England's Justin Rose enters the week knowing that a solo runner-up finish or better could see him rise to World Number One by Monday. Despite missing the cut at the U.S. Open in each of the last two years, the 37 year old has finished in the top ten in 16 of his last 20 events around the world and will look to become the first Englishman in history to win multiple U.S. Open titles. He leads the PGA Tour in birdie average in 2018 and is second in scoring average. Possessing one of the best all-round games on Tour, he has improved his putting drastically in the last 12 months and is now in the top ten in Strokes Gained Putting on the PGA Tour and appears to be on the verge of a big week.

Form Horse: Tommy Fleetwood

“Fleetwood”

Tommy Fleetwood announced himself onto the world stage at this event last year, co-leading after 36 holes and going on to finish in a tie for fourth. Coming off a top 20 at the first Major of the year at Augusta, Fleetwood appears to be flying under the radar again at the US Open having notched top 25 finishes in 17 of his last 20 worldwide starts. The Englishman's game is ideal for the U.S. Open, with a perfect mixture of distance and accuracy from tee-to-green. He currently ranks in the top eight on the European Tour in both Strokes Gained Off-the-tee and Strokes Gained Tee-to-green. His stroke average of 68.64 this season is more than two shots better than the field average, the only player with more than 20 rounds that can claim that accolade. He is also in the top ten on Tour in birdies, par five scoring and greens under regulation. With a comfortable group, alongside Noren and Molinari over the first two days, all signs point to Fleetwood having a strong showing at Shinnecock.

Wild Card: Shane Lowry

“Lowry”

Playing the majority of his golf in the US this year, Lowry has been preparing for weeks like this. Despite not being in the form he would like so far this year, Lowry is typically a man for the big occasion. He has finished in the top ten at the U.S. Open in two of the last three years, including a narrow loss to Dustin Johnson at Oakmont in 2016. His only European Tour start this year was at Wentworth, where the Irishman finished in the top 15, finishing fourth in Putts per GIR. He finished in the top 30 in his last start and could be the long shot that surprises at Shinnecock over the weekend.

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