Golf

US Open 2024 Preview: Best Bets at Pinehurst

Scottie Scheffler is the clear favorite, but Pinehurst No. 2 may be a good fit for other golfers in the field.

June 10, 2024

The US Open is set to tee off Thursday, with Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina playing host to a major for the first time since 2014. The course underwent a year-long restoration project in 2011, with a number of changes that theoretically made it easier to navigate.

For example, the fairways were made wider and all rough was removed. The course was also lengthened by around 300 yards.

With these changes in mind, the course is generally forgiving off the tee — initially benefitting those in the field with less accuracy. Things change rapidly from there, however, as the greens and approach shots are known as some of the more challenging on the Tour.

In other words, the wide fairways at the US Open this year are something of a trap, as they’re designed to either benefit or penalize drivers upon their approach to the green. With all that in mind, we should be looking for players who excel in the approach and short game as well as with the putter.

The Favorite

Scottie Scheffler (+300) is coming off a win at the Memorial Tournament this past weekend and has won five of the 13 events he’s entered this season — including The Masters. He has finished outside the top 10 just once. He has by far the shortest odds among the field to take home the win.

Other Standouts

Xander Schauffele (+1200) is a strong fit from a skillset perspective. He’s sixth in strokes gained while approaching the green and 16th in putting. He’s never been a standout in chipping but has improved enough to be passable at this course. He got the first major of his career under his belt at the PGA Championship a few weeks ago and should be in the hunt again.

Among LIV golfers, Bryson DeChambeau (+1700) has tailed off a bit of late, but he has four top-ten finishes on the LIV tour and also pushed Schauffele for the win at the PGA Championship. Pinehurst doesn’t fit his traditional strengths as a player, though, and paired with his current form, this may not be the weekend to take plunge on DeChambeau. As an alternative to betting him outright, a top-20 wager (-110) could be a consideration.

Brooks Kopeka (+2000) has three straight top 10s on his ledger at LIV and also has the major tournament pedigree when he was a member of the PGA Tour to get some attention. Though they came at different courses, he has a pair of US Open victories, which came in 2017 and 2018. For those looking for a safer shot, a top-10 wager (+235) and top-20 wager (+110) are also good options.

However, the best skillset fit in this range is with yet another LIV golfer, Cameron Smith (+3500). Before defecting to LIV, his game was tailor-made for Pinehurst. He was mediocre off the tee but excelled in all other areas, while being particularly elite in his approach to the green and putting. Aside from Schauffele, he may be my favorite outright bet to dethrone Scheffler.

Expect Good Weekends

Tony Fianu (+200 Top-20 finish) has finished inside the top 20 eight times this season, including the past three straight. His putter will betray him regularly, but he’s otherwise a good fit for this course.

Tommy Fleetwood (+135 Top-20 finish) is in a similar position, albeit a bit more boom-or-bust in his results as compared to Finau. Of the 12 events he’s participated in this season, he’s finished inside the top 10 three times and inside the top 20 on five occasions. He’s elite with the chip game (17th in stokes gained) and also an above-average putter.

Justin Thomas (+3500) has relatively light odds to emerge as the winner, and he’s intriguing in that he’s been an all-or-nothing player this season. He’s missed the cut in a quarter of his events, yet he has top-10 finishes in one third. He has the same caveat as Finau regarding his putter, but Thomas does enter the weekend in fairly good form having made four consecutive cuts with a fifth and eighth-place finish in that span.

Dale Weber
Dale began working at RotoWire in 2017 writing MLB game wraps. He now covers primarily MLB, NFL and racing, but also has experience writing in a wide range of sports, including MMA, golf and soccer.
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