The third major of the PGA Tour will take place in Brookline, Massachusetts, this weekend at The Country Club. A prestigious venue built in 1892, the 122nd US Open returns to the course for the first time since 1988. Legendary golf architect Gil Hanse restored The Country Club a few years ago, and the field of 156 golfers will undoubtedly be challenged. Most players have not competed at The Country Club, leveling the odds while presenting deep sand bunkers and small Poa Annua/Bentgrass greens as just a few of its challenges.
A fantastic four rounds of golf from Rory McIlroy at the RBC Canadian Open still lingers in the air as the 33-year-old Irishman won his second solo event of the season. McIlroy went eight-under-par on Sunday to settle into a comfortable two-stroke lead over Tony Finau. His chipping was on full display all weekend, along with a hot putter that sunk quite a few birdies.
The number of elite players available to roster off DFS slates this weekend presents several challenges and advantages. I’ve incorporated several factors into my formula to locate the must-have blue chips and the high-value prospects with the skill and momentum to succeed at The Country Club. Let’s look at who to target and who to fade at their current salaries ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
- 2021 – Jon Rahm (-6)
- 2020 – Bryson DeChambeau (-6)
- 2019 – Gary Woodland (-13)
- 2018 – Brooks Koepka (+1)
- 2017 – Brooks Koepka (-16)
Relevant Betting Stats
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Greens in Regulation percentage
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Scrambling/Bounce Back percentage
Gil Hanse restored the Country Club over the past decade to return the course to its roots. The narrowing of the Bentgrass fairways and removal of trees exposes the cliffs and shores of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Boston. Small greens, averaging under 4,400 square feet, will force players to produce their most accurate ball-striking with low-distance irons.
Stretching to 7,264 yards, Hanse restored several holes, including the 11th hole, par 3, which is only 131 yards. The tiered Poa Annua/Bentgrass mixture on the greens will create challenging scenarios for obtaining birdies and pars. While many holes rely on depth perception difficulty and green location, there are a few long par 4s. Plus, the two par 5s are lengthy, doglegged fairways that will make birdies a rarity instead of the norm.
Thick Bentgrass rough will punish errant tee shots and drivers, meaning accuracy is the money-maker. In addition, puddingstone rock formations and ocean views will undoubtedly make players nervous as they navigate the narrow fairways and deep sand bunkers flanking the small greens comprised of a foreign Poa Annua/Bentgrass hybrid surface.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Rory McIlroy ($10,500)
The odds-on betting favorite to win the 122nd US Open is Rory McIlroy at +1000. He is coming off a superb final round of golf, going eight-under-par and utilizing his sand wedge and putter to rattle off birdies. Of course, St. George’s is not The Country Club. The 33-year-old Irishman will need to tap into his top-ranked strokes gained tee-to-green to rely on his finesse and accuracy on the shorter par 3 holes. McIlroy has hardly a flaw with his irons, making him one of my favorite prospects to insert into lineups this weekend. He’s also a value at $10,500 on DraftKings, with three players getting priced higher, so take advantage and plug the betting favorite into lineups with confidence.
Xander Schauffele ($9,600)
If you want consistency, look no further than Xander Schauffele. The 28-year-old native of California has drawn finishes of T5, T6, T3, 5th, and T7 during each of his previous appearances at The US Open. Schauffele is currently +1600 to win outright at The Country Club this weekend, putting him in the top five betting favorites. However, he is ranked 30th or higher in all strokes gained metrics, excluding putting. Don’t fret; he’s capable of putting with the field, especially on the small, hybrid Poa Annua/Bentgrass greens this weekend. Schauffele has accuracy, consistency, and confidence. Getting him into lineups at $9,600 on DraftKings is a massive value for a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect.
Sam Burns ($8,300)
Securing a player ranked in the top ten in the FedExCup and OWGR sounds too good to be true. Yet, this is the case when rostering Sam Burns. The 25-year-old native of Louisiana has been red-hot on the PGA Tour this season, including a recent T4 finish at the RBC Canadian Open with a final score of -14-under-par. Burns has a perfect touch with his putter, ranked 16th in strokes gained putting, while also utilizing strong tee-to-green and approaching the green irons. Converting over 70 percent of his greens in regulation will be vital to navigating the small greens at Brookline. A 4.54 birdie average ranks fourth best on Tour, so the rising star should fill his scorecard with circles numerous times, even on a challenging course. At just $8,300, Burns is perhaps the most significant high-ceiling value prospect on DraftKings’ slate.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000
Will Zalatoris ($10,700)
Another 25-year-old American that has impressed in his fourth year as a professional is Will Zalatoris. He’s got a bit of an inconsistent putter, which sometimes rears its head, but he’s ranked in the top ten for strokes gained off-the-tee, tee-to-green, and first in approaching the green. This ridiculous touch with his irons makes Zalatoris such an enticing prospect to target in FanDuel lineups. He’s fresh off a T5 finish at The Memorial Tournament and well-rested for a grueling course renovated by Gil Hanse. Zalatoris is ranked T38 scrambling, yielding a 24.39 percent conversion rate. However, he’s battle-tested and managed a T6 finish during the 2020 U.S. Open. Save a few bucks and get a premier ball-striker in your lineups.
Matt Fitzpatrick ($10,400)
A player with exposure to The Country Club is England’s, Matt Fitzpatrick. The 27-year-old ranks in the top 25 in every strokes gained category, including putting. A course like The Country Club rewards excellent ball-strikers, undoubtedly the type of player Fitzpatrick has proven himself to be this season. Ignore the low birdie average. Accuracy and strong tee shots will separate the pack by Saturday, so make sure you roster Fitzpatrick to bolster your lineups. After all, he did win here back in 2013 during the U.S. Amateur. He’s only been a PGA Tour member for three years, but Fitzpatrick is looking to add his eighth top-ten finish of the season at a familiar site this weekend. Lock him into FanDuel lineups without hesitation.
Tony Finau ($9,900)
Tony Finau is one of the most exciting players to tail in DFS this weekend. The 32-year-old American has been rolling as of late, notching three T5 finishes or higher across his last five events. He’s worked on improving his putter, which was on display at times during his second-place finish at 17-under-par during the RBC Canadian Open this past weekend. Finau is another player who profiles as a good fit with the accuracy that The Country Club will demand. He’s 15th in strokes gained tee-to-green, 16th in strokes gained off-the-tee, and 19th approaching the green. Finau can also convert his greens in regulation at over 68 percent, ranking 28th on Tour. His US Open resumè is intriguing, as he seems to miss the cut every other year. Fortunately, Finau is in store for a T15 finish if this trend continues. He has finished T14, 5th, and T8 interspersed with a few missed cuts, but he has all of the momentum after consistently playing top-tier golf in the last month. Take the value below $10,000 on FanDuel and insert Finau into lineups as a high-ceiling salary-saver.
Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup — to learn more.