The US Open 2019 Golf Championship majority of the recent major winners in golf have been some of the top names in the sport.
Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka enter the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links as the first two major winners of the season. In the last five years, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson have emerged as major champions from the top of the favorites list.
While a few unexpected players could surge up the leaderboard at Pebble Beach because of the large field, the favored golfers could be in line to produce another star-studded final round, similar to what we witnessed when Woods won the Masters.
Chances of Top Favorites
Even though Koepka is not the odds-on favorite to capture his third straight U.S. Open, he has to be considered the best bet in the field, especially at +900 (bet $100 to win $900).
Not only has the 29-year-old been impressive in his major victories, but he has also played well in the tournaments in which he has come up short of first place. The latest example of that in a major was the Masters, when he pushed himself into a tie for second with a final-round 70.
In his eight major rounds this season, Koepka has seven scores of 71 or lower, with his final-round 74 at Bethpage Black the lone exception. In his two U.S. Open victories, Koepka has one round above 72, which came in the first round in 2018, but he bounced back from that with a 66 the following day.
Koepka has displayed his ability to adapt to different courses with ease, and he will have to do that once more at Pebble Beach.
The one concern for Koepka going into the U.S. Open is he ranks 103rd on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy at 61.32 percent. However, he is 10th in greens in regulation and 14th in driving distance. If Koepka is able to drive the ball accurately down the fairways at Pebble Beach, he will be in contention from the first round on.
Even if he needs to adjust his accuracy after Thursday’s round, he has proved he is capable of doing that in the U.S. Open, as we mentioned above with his second-round 66 at Shinnecock Hills.
Dustin Johnson has come close to earning his second major title on a few occasions since he captured the 2016 U.S. Open. Johnson, who is the favorite in the eyes of the oddsmakers, took second at the PGA Championship and tied for second at the Masters.
A year ago at Shinnecock Hills, Johnson took third behind Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood. Just like Koepka, Johnson ranks high in driving distance and greens in regulation on the PGA Tour, but his driving accuracy is lacking a bit. But that has not stopped Johnson from performing well this season, as he ranks first in scoring average at 69.130.
Since the start of April, Johnson has put together 12 rounds in the 60s. At the Masters, he recorded four rounds of 70 or lower, while he had four PGA Championship rounds in the 60s. If he continues to play at this level, Johnson will eventually earn his second major, but whether or not it comes at Pebble Beach remains to be seen. Johnson could be playing with some extra motivation at Pebble Beach because he collapsed during the final round of the 2010 U.S. Open, which allowed Graeme McDowell to win the tournament.
The combination of Johnson’s strong form and the extra motivation to erase his demons at Pebble Beach could lead to his first major victory since 2016.
The 15-time major winner has missed the cut at his last two U.S. Open appearances, and he has not earned a top-10 finish at the tournament since 2010, which was the last time it took place at Pebble Beach.