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15 Golfers to Watch at Shinnecock Hills

Photo courtesy of David Cannon/Getty Images.

With a field of 156 players, this year’s US Open is sure to be exciting. The most recent US Open at Shinnecock Hills, in 2004, was famous for the course notoriously getting away from the USGA, having to water the par-3 seventh hole every other group on one of the days even. This year, however, course conditions look to be as promising as they can be for a US Open, although with last year’s event featuring a number of players in the double digits under par, expect an extremely difficult course.

 Dustin Johnson
Current world ranking: 1
2018 tour events best finish: 1st (twice)
The current world number one is an easy pick for the number one player to watch at Shinnecock. DJ won the 2016 US Open and has finished in the top five in 3 of his last 4 US Opens. DJ also is coming off a win last weekend at the St. Jude Classic, hoping to do what no other golfer has done before – follow up a tour victory with a US Open victory the very next week.

Justin Thomas
Current world ranking: 2
2018 tour events best finish: 1st
Thomas briefly took over the world number 1 spot from DJ before losing it last week thanks to DJ’s recent win. Thomas remains an extremely qualified player with 

Jason Day
Current world ranking: 8
2018 tour events best finish: 1st (twice)
Day is coming off a strong showing at the Players, a win at the Wells Fargo Championship, and a respectable finish of tied for 20th at the Masters this year. While has has not made a ton of noise since his impressive 2016 season, Day has a track record of outperforming expectations at the US Open, with 5 top ten finishes in his last 7 US Opens.

Tony Finau
Current world ranking: 37
2018 tour events best finish: T2nd
Finau is slowly making himself a household name on the tour. Fans most recently recognize him for his celebration-induced ankle injury after a hole in one at the 2018 Masters. Despite the injury, Finau still finished tied for 10th. He has 5 top twenty finishes so far this year and this US Open could be the breakthrough he needs.

Phil Mickelson
Current world ranking: 20
2018 tour events best finish: 1st
As most golf fans know, the one major missing from Phil’s repertoire is a US Open. He’s come extremely close in the past, with a record 6 second place finishes, including the 2004 US Open at Shinnecock Hills. Phil is coming off of a 12th place finish last weekend at the St. Jude Classic, so perhaps this will be his year to finally get the career major.

Rickie Fowler
Current world ranking: 7
2018 tour events best finish: 1st
Rickie is often regarded as the best current player to never win a major. He’s knocked on the door a couple of times, with a second place finish at the Masters, US Open, and British Open and a third place finish at the PGA Championship in the past. This year is no different than the story of Rickie’s career – when he’s good he’s really good, but when he’s bad, he’s really bad – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground for the California native.

Brooks Koepka
Current world ranking: 9
2018 tour events best finish: 2nd
Koepka has not missed a cut in his last 23 starts, and it’d be crazy to not mention the 2017 US Open winner in the shortlist of players to watch at Shinnecock. Koepka is playing the best golf of his life right now and looks to do what only a handful have ever done – win back to back US Opens.

Hideki Matsuyama
Current world ranking: 10
2018 tour events best finish: T4th
Last year’s US Open runner-up has struggled thus far in 2018, but this could be the event that leads the multiple Japanese reporters asking other players “Will Hideki win his second major?” instead of the constant “Do you think Hideki can win this week’s tournament?”

Henrik Stenson
Current world ranking: 17
2018 tour events best finish: 4th
Stenson has finished in the top fifteen in 6 of his 10 events this year. While he has not won an event since last year’s Wyndham Championship, he does already have a major under his belt (the 2016 British Open) and impressive consistency this year.

Jordan Spieth
Current world ranking: 4
2018 tour events best finish: 3rd
Jordan Spieth’s 2015 will be remembered as one of the best calendar years for a golfer. He’s struggled recently per Jordan Spieth standards, although he has not dropped out of the world top 10 since November 30th, 2014.

Jon Rahm
Current world ranking: 5
2018 tour events best finish: 1st (twice)
Rahm is possibly the most consistent golfer on 2018 so far. He has two wins and another second place finish in addition to not missing a single cut either. He finished 4th at this year’s Masters, playing the best golf of his career up to this point.

Patrick Reed
Current world ranking: 13
2018 tour events best finish: 1st
After missing 3 cuts in his first 5 starts of 2018, Reed has been lights out, including a green jacket courtesy of winning the 2018 Masters. He has 5 top ten finishes in his last 7 events and looks to prove his sustained dominance this week in the Hamptons.

Tommy Fleetwood
Current world ranking: 12
2018 tour events best finish: 1st
In 2018, Fleetwood has missed only one cut in addition to finishing in the top 20 of 8 of 12 tournaments. Last year’s US Open he finished 4th – his best ever finish in a major. After missing the cut or not qualifying in 7 consecutive majors, he’s finished in the top 30 of 3 of his last 4 events. While he flies somewhat under the radar, Fleetwood could launch his career onto center stage with a win at this year’s US Open.

Marc Leishman
Current world ranking: 16
2018 tour events best finish: 2nd
9 of the past 10 majors were the respective winner’s first major win. After an embarrassing collapse on the final day of this year’s Masters, Leishman could be extremely successful with this course design this week. The course suits more towards a traditional British Open, where he’s finished in the top ten in 3 of the last 4 years.

Xander Schauffele
Current world ranking: 26
2018 tour events best finish: T2nd
Who? Well back-to-back cuts in his most recent tournaments don’t necessarily help his case, but after finishing runner up at the Players this year, Xander Schauffele is a name to remember. The 24 year old finished 5th at last year’s US Open in Erin Hills in his first ever major and has slowly climbed up the world rankings thanks to 5 top twenty finishes this year. If he can continue to impress on the big stage, he might be walking away from Shinnecock with a US Open trophy in his hands.


Bonus: Dave Portnoy
Portnoy actually already won the US Open after shooting a -3 at Shinnecock in a USGA sanctioned and recognized round. Portnoy’s projected four round score of -12 would win all but 2 US Opens since the year 2000. Challenged that he could not outshoot professional golfers given unlimited mulligans (despite being hindered by a time limit not agreed upon beforehand), Portnoy played Shinnecock like a champ, using 360 mulligans to finish with 3 birdies and 0 bogeys on the round.



Connor Dolan
Connor is co-founder of First And Fan and head of all website operations. He's a die hard Boston sports fan with a passion for sports, media, and all things David Ortiz.

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