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US Open Tips & Preview - Top contenders for victory in Los Angeles

brad-newcomb
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Last updated: 13 Jun 2023
Brad Newcomb 13 Jun 2023
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  • The 2023 US Open takes place between 15-18 June at the Los Angeles Country Club, California
  • Matt Fitzpatrick is the defending champion
  • Our 4 selections who can win the title
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us open golf 2022 fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick is the reigning champion (Getty Images)

The US Open returns to Los Angeles for the first time in 75 years, with a host of the world's elite golfers in fine form on the PGA Tour. Which star player will shine in California and capture the third major tournament of the year?

Matt Fitzpatrick is back to defend his title after a one-stroke victory over Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris in 2022.

The Los Angeles Country Club hosts the US Open for the first time, with the players set to tee off on the North Course for Thursday's start.

Past and present major winners in the field include Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Scheffler, Cameron Smith,  Fitzpatrick, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Shane Lowry, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer and Gary Woodland.

These are our selections that could win the third Major tournament this season. 

Scottie Scheffler


Scottie Scheffler has been in tremendous form on the PGA Tour in 2023, placing T7 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, T11 at the American Express, victory at the WM Phoenix Open, T12 at the Genesis Invitational and T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He also landed victory at the Players Championship, finished 4th WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, T10 at the Masters, T11 at the RBC Heritage and T5 at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Scheffler has gone close to winning another title in his last three starts, placing T2 at the PGA Championship, T3 at the Charles Schwab Challenge and 3rd at the recent Memorial Tournament.

Other notable results from earlier in the season include finishing T3 at the World Wide Technology Championship, T9 at the Houston Open,  and 2nd at the Hero World Challenge.

The world's number one ranked player has contested the US Open five times in his career, missing the cut in 2016, finishing T27 in 2017 and MC in 2019 before placing T7 in 2021 and T2 in 2022.

Scheffler will start as the favourite for the title as he has not finished outside of the top 12 since November last year, which is a testament to the level of consistency he has been producing week after week. 

Brooks Koepka


Brooks Koepka has achieved the best results of any player at the Majors thus far in 2023 and has an excellent record at the US Open.

Koepka did not have the best start to his season, finishing T46 at the PIF Saudi International (Asian Tour), MC at the International Series in Oman (Asian Tour) before competing on the LIV Golf Tour, placing 31st in Mayakoba and 29th in Tucson.

The two-time US Open champion returned to form by winning in Orlando, placing T2 at the Masters, 19th in Adelaide, 3rd in Singapore, 6th in Tulsa, victory at the PGA Championship and 14th in Tulsa.

As a professional, the 33-year-old has made eight appearances at the US Open, placing T4 in 2014, T18 in 2015, T13 in 2016, victory in 2017, victory in 2018, 2nd in 2019, T4 in 2021 and 55th in 2022.

Koepka has shown over the years that his game is suited to this Major tournament and has the form to emerge as the winner at the Los Angeles Country Club this weekend. 

Viktor Hovland 


Viktor Hovland had a splendid start to his season on the PGA Tour, placing T5 at the ZOZO Championship, T21 at the CJ Cup, T10 at the World Wide Technology Championship, victory at the Hero World Challenge, T18 at the Tournament of Champions, T13 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and T42 at the WM Phoenix Open.

The 25-year-old Norwegian maintained his level of play, placing T20 at the Genesis Invitational, T10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T3 at the Players Championship before his form dipped, finishing T31 at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, T7 at the Masters, T59 at the RBC Heritage and T43 at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Hovland's subsequent three events have been excellent, placing T2 at the PGA Championship, T16 at the Charles Schwab Challenge and victory at the recent Memorial Tournament.

The world's number five ranked golfer placed T12 in 2019 and T13 in 2020 in his first two attempts to win the US Open before withdrawing from the 2021 edition and missing the cut in 2022.  

Hovland comes into this event on the back of top results and will fancy his chances to walk away with the honours in Los Angeles this weekend. 

Cameron Smith


Cameron Smith had an indifferent start to his season, winning the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship (DP World Tour) before missing the cut at the ISPS Handa Australian Open (DP World Tour) and PIF Saudi International (Asian Tour).

The 29-year-old returned for the start of the new LIV Golf Tour season, achieving fair results by finishing 6th in Mayakoba, 26th in Tucson, 29th in Orlando and T34 at the Masters.

Smith has been in great touch since the end of April, placing 4th in Adelaide, 7th in Singapore, 2nd in Tulsa, T9 at the PGA Championship and 11th in Washington.

The Australian has featured seven times at the US Open, finishing T4 in 2015, T59 in 2016, MC in 2018, T72 in 2019, T38 in 2020, MC in 2021 and MC in 2022.

Smith does not have the best overall record when competing in this Major, but he has been showing signs he is ready to return to winning ways. 

Verdict

Scheffler has been playing superb golf on the PGA Tour lately and has an excellent chance to win the US Open in California this weekend.
 
Koepka is back to his best and can become the first player to win the US Open three times since Tiger Woods achieved that feat in 2008.
 
Hovland has been thereabouts to winning his maiden Major tournament in recent outings and will start with confidence he can lift the trophy come Sunday.

Smith has been holding form and can make the frame at the Los Angeles Country Club.

Best Bet: Scottie Scheffler Each-Way @6/1 at bet365 - 1 Unit
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Value Bet: Cameron Smith Each-Way @28/1 at bet365 - 1 Unit
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