2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

So, just how tough is Oakmont?  Well, in the 2007 U.S. Open held there, Justin Rose, Paul Casey and Stephen Ames all finished the week at +11…and finished in the top 10.  ELEVEN OVER PAR, as in like, almost 3 over par per round.  Oh yeah, and the cut itself came in at +10, so a pair of 5-over-par 75’s and you had a tee time on the weekend.  Yowza! 

With nary a tree or water hazard in play, Oakmont might not seem visually violent upon first glance, but with deep bunkers, rough where you could lose a small child and greens where you could slip, fall and crack your head open if you’re not treading likely and yeah, it’s truly one of the toughest tests in all of golf.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for the week:

LOCKZILLAS

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia
– He’s all too easy to hate, but there’s no question about, he is so damn consistent.  I almost wish he wouldn’t have won the Byron Nelson, as he really would’ve come into this week overlooked; however, it was three weeks ago and a lot has happened since then, but one thing remains: Sergio Garcia is one of the most consistent producers in major championship golf.  Yep, he has never won a major and may never do so, but notice this—in 16 U.S. Open appearances, he’s missed the cut just twice (once was actually at Oakmont here in ’07) and a whopping NINE of those went for top 25 finishes, with four of them going for top 10’s.  An incredibly consistent ball-striker, a fantastic chipper and now a more confident putter with his modified grip.  If he maintains his patience throughout the week, he will be there come Sunday.

SEMI-FLIER

Branden Grace
Branden Grace
– The 28-year-old South African burst through into the winner’s circle for his maiden PGA Tour victory in April at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, then followed it up with a t-9th at the Valero Texas Open the very next week.  He’s only played once since then (PLAYERS, t-57th), so he may come in this week a bit under the radar, but he shouldn’t, as he’s a world class talent with U.S. Open grit, showcased last year in finishing t-4th.  In fact, he may very well have hoisted the trophy last year himself, if it wasn’t for the tee ball that he flared OB on hole 16 on Sunday.  Roster Grace with confidence this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas
– Let’s see: Prone to big numbers/blow-up holes, incredibly shaky with the putter and in poor form at the moment (75th, MC, t-3rd, MC last 4 events).  Yep, even though he’s taken advance scouting trips up to Oakmont with his buddy Spieth, and clearly aware of how long/penal the rough will be this week, stay away from the 23-year-old this week and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK

Marc Leishman
Marc Leishman
– If you’re solely looking at past U.S. Open results as your barometer for who will have success this week, then you’ll scoot right past Marc Leishman’s name, and that’s a mistake.  Why is a t-51st his best ever U.S. Open finish?  I have no idea, but what I do know is that he’s a top 40 in the world talent that is in the midst of a very solid, consistent stretch of golf, most recently finishing t-11th at Memorial and t-13th the week prior at Colonial.  Never a hot head plus a great short game are what I’m looking for in a contender this week, and Leishman checks both boxes.  Heck, I’ll go extra bold here and call for a top 5 finish from the Aussie.  March Leishman is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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