The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, returns to men’s major championship golf with the 2022 U.S. Open. This par 70 that plays just beyond 7,200 yards may seem short, but the course is designed perfectly in a way that requires every club to be used in a player’s bag and make them think on every shot. It won’t be the type of bomb-and-gouge driver-fest that we have seen in some recent majors.
The course should provide a great test for players as it will require strategy, precision, execution, and solid ball-striking to succeed. It will be difficult to make par after an errant shot due to the thick rough and small, firm, heavily contoured greens. If you are looking to target some specific statistics this week, I would look at Off the Tee (larger emphasis on accuracy) and Approach (larger emphasis on 150-200 yards). I see the winning score being in the mid single digits, so you don’t need to make a ton of birdies to contend. If a player can hit the ball solid and be patient, they may find themselves with a chance to win on Sunday.
Let’s take a look at a few players who could contend this week:
Xander Schauffele $9,500
Schauffele ranks second in driving efficiency in this field (a metric that takes into consideration accuracy based on distance). When you combine that with his sixth-place ranking on approach, it’s no surprise that he is high in my overall rankings this week. He comes into this event in good form gaining at least four strokes on approach in each of his last three events, all of which resulted in top-18 finishes.
Schauffele’s game is built for majors as he has made 17 of his last 20 cuts in those championships, which resulted in 13 top-25 finishes. This course has changed some since it held the U.S. Amateur in 2013 but Schauffele does have some familiarity with the grounds as he lost in the round of 16 in that USGA event. Schauffele may not win this week, but at $9,500, he makes for a great option as another high finish is likely.
Shane Lowry $9,000
Yes, I know you are getting tired of me writing about Shane Lowry every week. But the man is just playing too well, continues to be underpriced, and is a great fit for courses that reward pars more than birdies. Lowry ranks second in approach, third in driving efficiency, and ninth in putting. His grind-it-out mentality is perfect for a difficult U.S. Open test such as The Country Club. He already has three top-3 finishes in 2022 and it would not surprise me to see him add another at the “toughest test in golf” this week.
Matthew Fitzpatrick $8,500
Wouldn’t it be fitting if Fitzpatrick won his first major on the same course that he won his U.S. Amateur back in 2013? He ranks fourth in driving efficiency and is above average on approach. He has gained strokes off the tee and on approach in each of his last six events. Fitzpatrick is also no slouch in the short game either, ranking third around the green and 14th in putting. He is also one of the best strategic minds in golf and that allows him to maximize his potential. He has the perfect approach to contend in majors. You add all that up and I expect another week in contention, which will more than pay off his low $8,500 price tag.