By Walker Polivka
The PGA Tour contests its third major of the year this week as it visits The Country Club for the 2022 U. S. Open. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the tournament, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and player to fade predictions.
Player to Fade: Sean Crocker- Ranked #222 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Crocker has had little of note in the success column in 2022, starting the year off with 8 missed cuts and 1 withdrawal in his first 9 starts on the DP World Tour, followed by finishes of T-7 and T-51 in his 2 most recent starts. Crocker qualified for the U. S. Open after shooting rounds of 64 and 67 to advance out of the Dallas qualifier, held at both Royal Oaks and Lakewood Country Club. Crocker may have gotten through the qualifier, but The Country Club will be too much for him to handle, as we predict that he will miss the cut this week.
Dark Horse: Victor Perez- Perez enters this week’s U. S. Open on a bit of a hot streak, winning the Dutch Open and finishing T-3 at the Porsche European Open in his last two starts on the DP World Tour. Perez has made some starts in the United States previously, most notably finishing T-9 at The Players Championship and finishing 4th in the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play last year. Perez’s ball striking is second to none, as he is currently hitting 71.48% of the Greens In Regulation, good enough for 3rd overall on the DP World Tour, and ranks inside the top 15 in Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green also. He may not have as much experience playing in the United States as other players, but we predict that Perez can put together a solid top 25 showing this week.
Top 10: Xander Schauffele- Schauffele has put together a solid season on the PGA Tour, winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Patrick Cantlay, as well as scoring 3 top 10’s and 9 top 25’s, to go against just 2 missed cuts in 14 starts. He might not light up the leaderboard every week like Scottie Scheffler or Sam Burns, but Schauffele’s stats speak for themselves, as he is ranked 12th in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green, 7th in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, and 9th in Stroked Gained: Total. Schauffele has finished in the top 10 in all 5 of his starts at the U. S. Open and I predict that he will keep that steak alive with another top 10 performance this week.
Winner: Justin Thomas- Winner of this year’s PGA Championship, Thomas is in the midst of one of his best career runs on tour, finishing in the top 5 in 3 of his last 4 starts and earning 9 top 10 finishes against just 1 missed cut in 15 starts this season. The Country Club will boast tight, narrow fairways and thick, nasty rough, punishing those who are errant off the tee. Thomas is one of the best all-around players on tour, ranking 3rd in both Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and Strokes Gained: Total. Thomas’ short game isn’t too shabby either, ranking 6th in Scrambling and 4th in Putts Per Round. Thomas is the man to beat right now and we predict that Justin Thomas will make it back-to-back majors this week when he wins the U. S. Open at The Country Club!