• The third major of the year has arrived! The 123rd edition of this tournament heads west to be played at the historic Los Angeles Country Club.

    Before we get started, let’s acknowledge what an awesome scene at the conclusion of last week’s RBC Canadian Open when Canada’s own Nick Taylor buried a 72-foot putt for eagle and defeat Tommy Fleetwood in a 4-hole playoff bout. Taylor became the first Canadian in 69 years to win the event. It was a nice distraction from what was a miserable week for my DFS lineups.

    For the third time in five years, California will play host to the U.S. Open, however this time it will be on a course we have not seen (unless you watched the 2017 Walker Cup or the 1940 Los Angeles Open—which you didn’t).

    This is a full field 156 player field with only the top 60 (and ties) advancing to the weekend (instead of the usual T65 and ties).

    While the prize pool for this year has yet to be announced, last year Matthew Fitzpatrick took home a cool $3.15 million for his victory in Brookline. One would imagine it would be slightly more than that this year.

    The Course

    As mentioned, the U.S. Open this year will be played for the first time at Los Angeles Country Club. Specifically, the North Course will be used this week (the entire property is an exclusive 36-hole complex). The course was originally architected by George C. Thomas Jr. in 1927 and then went under a five-year restoration in 2010 headed by Gil Hanse.

    The buzz word of the broadcast will be “barranca”. If you play a drinking game with how often the announcers mention the barrancas this week, you will probably have yourself quite a weekend. The barrancas are dried out river banks that are now mostly grown in with sand and natural vegetation. These areas work their way through most of the course, but is most present in the opening and closing stretch of holes. Speaking of the closing stretch of holes, it would not surprise me if 16,17, and 18 are three of the toughest holes of the week.

    Playing as a par-70 at just over 7,400 yards, this won’t be the longest U.S. Open in recent memory, but still should set up as a difficult test that we are familiar with from the USGA. While fairways will be wide (with several being as wide as 40+ yards), there are several elevation changes and slopes that will leave tricky approach shots for golfers.

    Atypical of California courses we are used to seeing played on the PGA Tour, LACC features Bermuda rough throughout the property.

    Also fairly unique to California, the greens will be primarily Bentgrass instead of the traditional Poa. Many of the greens are odd in shape and like the fairways, have a deal of undulations for golfers to contend with.

    For a more in-depth hole by hole breakdown of the North Course at LACC, here is a link to a flyover of the course:

    The Field

    It goes without saying that this one of the strongest fields of the year. There are some qualifiers at the bottom of betting and DraftKings boards that almost no one has ever heard of, but overall, all the top golfers in the world are here.

    Former champions in the field this week include: Matt Fitzpatrick, Jon Rahm, Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka (2X), Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, and Rory McIlroy.

    Notables not in the field this week (that are eligible) include Tiger Woods, Will Zalatoris, and Daniel Berger all due to injury. Talor Gooch was qualified, but then was ruled he wasn’t after his move to LIV, which is now merging with the PGA and it’s all a mess.

    Key Stats

    In addition to the stats listed below this week, I will look at performance in previous U.S. Opens and other majors. It’s just different in these events, time and time again, certain guys elevate their game for these events.

    Here are the key stats I am considering when building my lineups this week.

    1. SG: Approach– Iron play is always on this list and forever will be. It is the most correlated long-term stat with success. Being wayward with iron play this week will lead to the weekend off.
    2. Proximity 200+– A fairly common stat used in major championships. In addition to the long par 4s which require lengthy second shots, almost all of the par 3s will be from this proximity as well.
    3. SG: OTT– Good drivers of the gold ball are those who excel at U.S. Opens. Matthew Fitzpatrick, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland, Dustin Johnson, etc. While this course is a little different, strong off the tee game will still be a major emphasis for me.
    4. SG: Difficult Courses- More specifically, I am looking at performance on difficult courses over 7,400 yards in length. Not shockingly, number one in that metric over the last 24 rounds is…. Brooks Koepka.
    5. Bogey Avoidance- I like looking at this stat when scoring is tough to come by. It definitely requires some context, but when used with other stats, can help paint a picture of who is adept at saving pars.

    Follow me on Twitter @mlafem10 for additional thoughts as the week goes on and I’d be happy to help out with any lineup questions you have. Let’s make some money!

    Round 1 Props

    Thrive Contest Plays for Thursday’s Round 1 Action

    Hideki Matsuyama 66.5 Stokes: MORE (70 PTS)- This isn’t a huge allotted number of points, but this line is ambitious. I only foresee two or three golfers getting below this number on Thursday given how difficult I expect the course to play. Matsuyama could absolutely be one of those guys, but I’m not willing to bet on it.

    Billy Horschel 1.5 Bogeys: MORE (80 PTS)- The last time we saw Billy Horschel, he shot an opening round 84 at the Memorial. While I don’t expect things to be quite that ugly for Horschel to start this Thursday, the game is simply not there for him at the moment. He’s missed 7 of 12 cuts in the calendar year and hasn’t produced a finish better than 30th. More than one bogey almost feels like a free square.

    Tony Finau 11.5 Pars: MORE (100 PTS)- I have mixed feelings about Finau this week. I do believe this place could be a good set up for him, however, his recent major form has been rather mediocre. Nothing horrible, nothing great, the equivalent of your average par. I expect Tony to play it safe to his U.S. Open and a lot of pars to be cared by Finau on Thursday.

    Props Record YTD


    DFS Top Tier Play

    Brooks Koepka

    Salary: $10,800

    There are strong cases for everybody at the top of the board. The player that will be getting the most clicks from me up top though is Brooks. As recent as last year we wondered if we would ever get vintage Brooks back in our lives between the move to LIV and the constant injuries; it didn’t look promising. A 2nd at the Masters this year and a victory at last month’s PGA Championship has shown Koepka is back in a major way (please excuse the corny pun). Other than his first U.S. Open in 2012 (missed cut) and last year where he wasn’t the same golfer (55th) Brooks has five top 4 finishes in the U.S. Open (including wins in 2017 & 2018) as well as a 13th and an 18th. He has the complete game designed for major championships to go along with a motivated mindset, I expect another excellent outing from Koepka this week.

    Others Considered: Xander Schauffele ($9,600), Jon Rahm ($11,100)

    DFS Mid Tier Play

    Joaquin Niemann

    Salary: $7,700

    Long and accurate off the tee? Check. Exceptional ball striker, especially with the long irons? Check. Add some strong results in previous majors and success in California (winner of the 2022 Genesis) and Niemann checks a lot of boxes I am looking for, with an excellent price to boot. I have always been high on the Chilean’s abilities and think he could be prices $600-$800 more and no one would bat an eye. There is a lot of upside in the mid to upper $7K this week and early ownership projections show Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark will probably be more popular below Niemann and Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood should be popular right at or above him price was, leaving him a little squeezed. I don’t think he will go completely unowned, but low enough for us to gain some leverage on the field.

    Others Considered: Tyrrell Hatton ($8,900), Bryson DeChambeau ($7,600)

    DFS Value Play

    Patrick Rodgers

    Salary: $6,900

    Going too deep into the $6K range this week doesn’t seem like a viable strategy given the no-names in that range. I think Rodgers is an excellent candidate for a last man in a lineup this week. While there is more than likely limited upside with Rodgers, there is certainly a talent advantage compared to those priced around him. The former Stanford standout plays his best golf in his home state of California and has a pretty strong record at U.S. Opens. Rodgers is four for four in cuts made in U.S. Open appearances with consecutive finishes of 31st and 31st being his best efforts in 2022 and 2021. Rodgers’ best weapon is his driver, which should help him get around LACC as well as his strong Bentgrass putting. Rodgers also gains more strokes to the field in difficult scoring conditions than easy or average, which sets up well for major championship golf. With more people gravitating more towards the lower $7K range to close out their lineups, I’m more than ok with dipping down to grab Rodgers.

    Others Considered: Gary Woodland ($7,200), Austin Eckroat ($7,000)

    Betting Card

    Jon Rahm +1300*

    Xander Schauffele +1800

    Tyrrell Hatton +3400

    Joaquin Niemann +8500

    Gary Woodland +15000

    Keegan Bradley +13000

    Lineup Builder

    Position Player Name DK Salary
    G Brooks Koepka $10,800
    G Joaquin Niemann $7,700
    G Patrick Rodgers $6,900
    G Xander Schauffele $9,600
    REMAINING BUDGET $15,000 for 2 golfers
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