2022 US Open expert picks and preview: Does Abraham have the Ancer to Brookline?

Abraham Ancer

© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Bryan Nicholson

Golf handicapper

Golf expert, writer and author. Full bio here.

US Open2022
WhereCountry Club, Brookline, NY
WhenJune 13 - June 19
How to WatchESPN & CBS

The US Open is next on the main menu and we’ve seen the meat of Brookline before. The Europeans’ may look back in disappointment, but a certain Justin Leonard will recall fond memories of this gem of a track. Leonard is not just smiling for personal reasons, as the US team came from behind to pip the Europeans to the Ryder Cup amongst jubilant scenes at the “Battle of Brookline.”

This year’s US Open will be held at Brookline Country Club, Massachusetts, scene of the US Ryder Cup victory in 1999 in what was one of the most memorable editions, and not all for the right reasons. The fans will be rowdy once more as they were that year and the 2022 US Open will be tense.

Brookline has also held the US Amateur which is a great pointer as to who might do well for our US Open 2022 picks, and we’ll get to that later.

US Open betting markets

Jon Rahm leads the way in the betting at +1200, closely followed by world number one Scottie Sheffler and recent PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, who bagged major number two at Southern Hills. It takes a specific type of player to tackle the Brookline course efficiently and the 2022 US Open might be an event to swerve the favorites in.

Tell me the key course metrics when looking to bet on the US Open 2022 winner?

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm is the current favorite for the 2022 US Open at +1200 - © Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

This is an easy one. With thick rough lining tight fairways and small, elevated, uniquely shaped greens – much of which is the US Open way - we will be looking to target smart accurate players with a grind-and-find type attitude and style. Golfers need to be mentally strong for US Open golf which is arguably the toughest between the ears of the four majors.

Hitting the short stuff from the markers and finding greens in regulation - even if not too close proximity-wise to the pin - is the way to tame Brookline and humble the US Open field. It’s an English-style parklands course incorporating some linksy type terrain and thick fescues.

Note: We’ve weighed up the Brookline course for the key metrics we will be profiling players for ahead of the US Open golf 2022. Ratings are scored from 1 – 3, with three meaning there’s a significant premium on that particular attribute.

1. Driving accuracy: 3

2. Total driving: 1

3. Irons: 3

4. Approach: 2

5. Scrambling: 2

6. Holing out: 2

7. Mentality: 3

What are the significant course features to note for our US Open picks at Brookline?

The championship course at Brookline just outside of Boston will play to around 7,250 yards from the back tees, and it will be a par 70 for the 2022 US Open. Gil Hanse has had a hand in a recent redesign of Brookline Country Club just as he did for the previous PGA Championship golf major. It will be a true US Open Championship test and intriguing to watch.

• Small, elevated and “postage stamp” greens

• Thick spinach and bunkering around the small, square greens

• Emphasis on tee to green play

• Treelined parklands with fescues, English style

• Twisty, tight fairways lined with deep rough

• Playing fast and firm, and control of the ball will be needed

US Open Golf 2022 picks – Who does the Brookline course fit model like?

Each player for our PGA Championship picks has a course fit rating borne from the course fit model which lets us know how many strokes per round a player is expected to pick up vs a neutral course for them of a similar rating.

Main value play - Does Abraham have the Ancer to Brookline?

Abraham Ancer

At +6000 Abraham Ancer might just have what it takes to beat Brookline - © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

In play off the tee: check. Absolute iron flusher: check. Tidy short game: check.

Ancer is 3rd in driving accuracy and ranks in the top 25 on tour in approaches from 125-200 yards. He owns a streaky putter. At +6000 Abraham Ancer might just have it. The Mexican has the exact course fit profile we are looking at for Brookline and our US Open picks for 2022.

Ancer comes into the US Open fresh off just his second top ten finish at a major golf event. He ranks 10/10 for driving accuracy and is right at the top of these stats each year. He also excels with his long irons and is currently ranked 13th in approaches from 175-200 yards which is a stat that might play a key role at this year’s US Open. He owns an overall course fit rating of 8.93 and has a WGC victory, showing his big game prowess.

US Open Picks 2022 – Two from the top

Viktor Hovland

Brookline might be Victor Hovland's best chance of a major this year - © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

We are strong on Victor Hovland at +2500 who owns an 8.87 course fit rating. Hovland is earmarked for this course due to his tee to green skills. Off the tee, the Norwegian ranks 14th and he is sitting 3rd in the approach metrics. It’s his short game where he is lacking but I think tracks like Brookline with deep bunkering and thick rough around the greens negate short game advantage somewhat. Therefore, Brookline might be Victor’s best chance of grabbing a major soon.

Xander Schauffele (+2000) was a player who performed admirably in the 2013 US AM at the Country Club, shooting 140 for the two stroke play rounds and advancing deep into the knockouts. Xander is simmering now form wise with a top five at the Byron Nelson followed by a t13 at the PGA Champs. He owns a course fit rating of 8.53 and competitive experience here may prove pivotal.

Give me a PGA Championship 2022 longshot bet

Corey Conners

Corey Conners was 3rd at the US Amateur here in 2013 - © David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Conners (+660)

“Keeping it in play so much gives you a significant advantage” was a quote from Matt Fitzpatrick on his US Amateur win here in 2013, and Corey Conners was 3rd in that event. See a pattern developing? Conners is another of the guys with a 10.0 rating for driving accuracy and he is one of the top players from tee to green on tour, ranking 11th in greens in reg this year. He has led various stats in this key metrics category in recent seasons. The Canadian has a 10/10 rating for long iron efficiency and shorter iron approach play, given his terrific ball striking over the last three seasons. With a course fit number of 8.6 he loses some points for his around-the-greens/ flat stick performance, but it will be a test of avoiding the need for the short game at Brookline - like the thinking behind the Hovland bet.

Kevin Kisner (+20000) must get the nod at a what looks a significantly overpriced number. Kis is another who excels in the driving accuracy department (14th) and doesn’t miss a lot of fairways. The American stands out due to his course fit profile and a rating of 8.64 with an expected strokes gained of nearly three shots over the tournament at the championship course. Kevin won at the back end of last season and has a recent top four finish at the Players Championship and a runner up at the WGC Matchplay.

Brookline and sinker - Can Fitzpatrick restore former glories in the 2022 US Open?

Matt Fitzpatrick

Matt Fitzpatrick won the US Amateur at Brookline in 2013 - © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Brookline may look like a track that can be taken on, but appearances can be deceptive as Matt Fitzpatrick found at the US Amateur in 2013 when he won. He talked about his strategic play around the course and keeping it in play of the tee, aiming for the middle of the greens, and he said his short game stood up when he needed it, and he sank a lot of putts.

Fitzpatrick is the exact type of player we are looking for at Brookline and he knows how to navigate the course which will be a huge advantage on most of the field. He mentioned it reminded him of playing golf back home. The former US Amateur winner here in Mass, is 15th in the official world golf rankings and ranks high in all the key stats categories. He’s no.1 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained total.

His course fit rating for Brookline is 8.8 meaning he should gain over three strokes across the tournament for course fit. Having been three behind the leader in the final round at Southern Hills, a new buff looking Matt talked after carding a three-over par, missing out on the play-off. He said the loss was a tough one to take having seen the scoring and it “hurts a hell of a lot”. That’s not the attitude we are used to seeing, and Fitz could come out all guns blazing here, rounding up our picks for the US Open at +3000.