The Players to Watch at the U.S. Open

In April, history was made at Augusta National Golf Club when Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese golfer to win a major championship. When other contenders stalled at the Masters, Matsuyama shot a seven-under 65 in the third round for a 4-shot lead towards Sunday. He won from a stroke.

History was made again at the PGA Championship in May when Phil Mickelson, 50, became the oldest golfer to win a major. It was his sixth major.

Both players have never won the United States Open, but finished second. If either of them wins the US Open this week at San Diego’s Torrey Pines Golf Course, history will be made again, Matsuyama as the first Japanese player to win the Open and Mickelson as the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam .

Here are the players, including Mickelson, featured in the Open, the third major of the year.

After winning the PGA Championship last month, how can you not keep an eye on Mickelson, now 51?

Mickelson’s failure to win this tournament is well documented; He came second six times. No one was more heartbreaking than the collapse in 2006 when a par on the last hole would have given him the championship. He ended with a double bogey and lost to Geoff Ogilvy in one blow.

Mickelson, a San Diego native who has played against Torrey Pines countless times, is likely to hit his share of bad throws this week. It will likely get its share of wonderful shots as well. In other words, he’ll be the same person golf fans expect. It will be great theater no matter what.

Rahm, who was leading by six strokes after three rounds, was well on the way to victory about two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio when he positive to f. has been testedor Covid-19. He withdrew immediately. Rahm was isolated until June 12 when he had two negative Covid tests within 24 hours.

The place definitely seems to suit his game. He celebrated his first Tour triumph in 2017 at the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines, where he recorded two Eagles on the last six holes. The second eagle came in 18th when he made a 60-foot putt from the edge and crowned a seven-under 65. At the beginning of this year, Rahm was in seventh place among the Farmers.

Rahm, the No. 3 player in the world, has since BMW championship last August but was in good shape most of the year. Including the Genesis Invitational in February where he tied for fifth place, he’s finished in the top 10 in six of his last 10 starts.

He has to keep his emotions in check if something goes wrong, which is often the case at the Open. Bogeys will come. The key will be to avoid double bogeys or worse. Rahm, 26, is at the top of the list of the best players in the game who haven’t won a major.

Forget how he fought in the final round of the PGA after taking the lead from Mickelson. Koepka, who shot a two-over-74 and finished second in a draw, only made his third start since knee surgery in March.

Köpka, in 10th place, always seems to be in the running in the majors.

In his last 20 majors, dating back to the 2015 British Open, he has been in the top 10 13 times, including four wins and three seconds. If he won this week, Koepka, 31, would only be the 20th player to win at least five majors.

It’s been a year of ups and downs for Koepka, who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. He missed the cut in five out of nine tournaments.

Granted, Johnson, 36, hasn’t been in his game for the past few months.

Since finishing eighth in the Genesis Invitational, he has only had one top 10 – a tie for 10th place in the Palmetto Championship last week in Congaree, South Carolina. Worse still, he missed the cut in the Masters and the PGA. In four rounds in those two majors, he failed to get below a 74.

Johnson is the # 1 player in the game, and by a good margin. In South Carolina, he was in the race in second nine on Sunday before taking a triple bogey in 16th place.

Johnson has played extremely well in previous Opens. In addition to winning the championship in 2016, he has five other top 10 finishes, including a tie in sixth place last year.

After his Appearance at the memorial tournament, where he lost to Patrick Cantlay in a playoff, Morikawa is now in fourth place, his highest. At 24, his future looks very bright.

It’s been on the rise since the Masters. In his last five starts he made it into the top 20 four times. Morikawa has only missed one cut since October. In February, he captured the WGC Workday Championship at the Florida Concession with three strokes.

Morikawa was awesome at last year’s PGA championship. On the 294 yard par-4 16th hole, his tee shot came to a halt just two meters away. He made the eagle putt and won two strokes over Johnson and Paul Casey. In his last two rounds, Morikawa shot a 65 and a 64.

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