5 major contenders for the 123rd US Open
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England’s Matt Fitzpatrick will defend his title when the 123rd US Open takes place at Los Angeles Country Club from June 15-18.
Fitzpatrick is bidding to join Brooks Koepka (2017-18) in winning back-to-back title as the US Open returns to LA for the first time since 1948.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the main contenders for the year’s third major championship.
Koepka won the US Open at Erin Hills in 2017 and triumphed again 12 months later at Shinnecock Hills, making him the first player since Curtis Strange in 1989 to win back-to-back titles. He also won the US PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019 before suffering career-threatening injuries and a loss of form, but won his third US PGA and fifth major title at Oak Hill last month. Koepka now has more major wins than regular PGA Tour titles and looks set to be a factor in the game’s biggest events for years to come.
Scheffler was unable to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods in winning successive Masters titles, although a share of 10th at Augusta ensured his worst result in 2023 remarkably remains a tie for 12th in the Genesis Invitational. He finished joint second behind Koepka in the US PGA and third in the Memorial Tournament, both times being let down by his putting. The world number one leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained off the tee and tee to green, as well as greens in regulation, but is ranked just 114th in total putting.
Rahm’s brilliant early-season form had taken a slight dip before the Masters and he then four-putted the first hole at Augusta National, but the 2021 US Open winner responded superbly to shoot an opening 65 on his way to a four-shot victory and second major title. He recovered from an opening 76 to make the cut in the US PGA, but finished a distant 50th and was 16th in the Memorial after shooting four over par over the weekend.
Homa has yet to record a top-10 finish in 15 major appearances, with a best result of 13th in the 2022 US PGA, but the California native has won four of his six PGA Tour titles in his home state and set the course record of 61 at Los Angeles Country Club on his way to winning the prestigious Pac-12 title in 2013. The field averaged 73.29 on the par-70 layout when Homa carded nine birdies in his bogey-free round; he also three-putted the par-five eighth for par.
Another California native, Cantlay held the course record at LACC until it was broken by Homa and has played there a lot as it re-opened after renovation work in 2010, shortly before Cantlay began attending UCLA. The world number four has made the cut in all seven US Open appearances to date – he was low amateur in 2011 – and has recorded five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2023, including a tie for ninth in the US PGA after a closing 66.
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