Our guide to the five Australians playing at this week’s US Open at Erin Hills.
The US Open is a brutal golf tournament reminds us of the Formula 1 Grand Prix around the old Adelaide street circuit. It turns into a battle of attrition with most leaderboard changes occurring because of driver malfunction rather than any individual brilliance, leaving only a few with enough gas in the tank with the fewest dents to make a dash for the finish line.
Here is our quick preview and form guide to the five Australians teeing it up at Erin Hills this week who are attempting to become the third Australian to etch their name on the US Open trophy (David Graham 1981, Geoff Ogilvy 2006).
We think one of them has the form, the resilience and the game to win this week.
2017 US Open: 1st (& 2nd) round tee times (AEST)
Fri 3.30am (9.45pm) Wade Ormsby, Oliver Bekker, Kyle Thompson
Fri 4.14am (10:29pm) Marc Leishman, Pat Perez, Si Woo Kim
Fri 4.25am (10:40pm) Nick Flanagan, Richie Ramsay, Bryson DeChambeau
Fri 4.36am (10:51pm) Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia
Fir 5.09am (11:24pm) Jason Day, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy
You could argue that the US Open is Jason Day’s best major. In his six starts Day has had five top-10’s including two runners-up in 2011 and 2013. It’s an incredible record and when you combine it with the ability to bash out a good round even when he’s not playing well, and some good recent form – Day is ready to win this week.
Day looks more settled than he has in six months and is primed for a shot at the US Open trophy this week.
It’s surprising that Adam Scott hasn’t won a golf tournament for over a year. The world number 12 has racked up a load of top-10s since winning the WGC Cadillac Championship early last year but hasn’t been able to get it done on Sunday. Scott doesn’t have a great record at the US Open but his more recent tilts have been much better finishing in the top-20 the last three years.
A top-10 at both the PLAYERS Championship and The Masters means Scott is once again fully focused on the big tournaments so expect to see him on the leaderboard Sunday. How high though remains to be seen but the generous fairways of Erin Hills will help as his driver has been a little wayward so far in 2017.
We still think Marc Leishman is learning how to approach the brutal US Open. While it sounds like the fairways of Erin Hills are a little more generous than other US Open venues, it’s still a matter of knowing where to miss the greens and recognise the rare chances to attack the flagstick.
Leishman is a better, more experienced golfer that barring a bad lie in the playoff at The Open a couple of years ago, may have had a major to his name. After some good recent form, Leishman may surprise a few this week with a more level-headed approach to this major and give himself a shot at the trophy on Sunday.
Flanagan won the prestigious 2003 US Amateur as a 19-year-old earning him a spot at The Masters, US Open and The Open Championship the year after. Flanagan didn’t make the cut in any of the tournaments but the experience was invaluable, and many thought he’d be teeing it up in many more majors to come.
But it didn’t quite work out that way and Flanagan arrives at Erin Hills for only his fifth major and second US Open – 13 years on. After caddying at the same tournament for his mate Aron Price last year, two sensational rounds at qualifying got him a spot in the field and this time Price will be on the bag for Flanagan.
Ormsby survived a seven man playoff at qualification in England to earn himself a spot in his first-ever major golf tournament. The 37-year-old from Adelaide hasn’t won a tournament since 2013 and has struggled to find form this year after being sidelined in 2016 with a neck injury and is currently playing on the European Tour with a medical exemption.