Ariel Epstein is joined by Pamela Maldonado and Jay Busbee to give their best bets for the 2022 U.S Open.
ARIEL EPSTEIN: Welcome to Yahoo Sportsbook. We're going to break down the US Open. The US Open's taking place at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. I'm Ariel Epstein. Joining me today Yahoo Sportsbook's Pam Maldonado and Yahoo senior writer Jay Busbee. Jay, let's start with you. I want to get your thoughts on this US Open coming up and who your two favorite picks are.
JAY BUSBEE: As tempting as it is to go with Rory McIlroy, who's got the hot hand, or Justin Thomas, who just won the PGA Championship, I'm going to go just reach a little bit further back in major history, back all the way to April with Scottie Scheffler, who won the Masters. He's at 1400 right now. He's got some experience.
He was low amateur at the US Open in 2017. He was T7 last year. Now nobody really has a whole lot of experience on this particular course, but Scheffler has what a lot of people don't have right now, which is a real strong record of winning. His only missed cut since last October was at the PGA, and he immediately bounced back and almost won.
A little further down the board there, I'm looking at Shane Lowry. He's a 3300 right now. He's made the cut in six of the last seven US Opens. He was T3 at Augusta. This year-- this calendar year, I should say, no missed cuts, four top-10 finishes. He's the kind of guy who hasn't played particularly well at US Opens to date, but he's playing really well coming into this one. So I think that he's an ideal guy if you're looking for a little bit further down on the board.
ARIEL EPSTEIN: I can't ask Pam the same question because usually she comes up with something extremely creative. Pam, I'm just going to ask, how are you betting the US Open?
PAM MALDONADO: I am doing a complete copy and paste of what I've done in the last few weeks, and I am backing Rory McIlroy, who is the tournament favorite at 11 to 1. He hasn't won a major since 2014, but he is, as mentioned, coming in with a hot putter, a hot hand, a hot everything. In his last 24 rounds, he is first in tee to green, first in ball striking, first in strokes gained total.
And the win, it was coming. Since taking second place in the Masters, he took fifth, eighth, T18. He won RBC Canada last week. And in US Opens, he has three straight top-10 finishes with a T9, a T8, and a T7 just last year. So comparable courses for me, I'm looking at Torrey Pines and Pebble. And McIlroy has a T3, a T16, and a T7. And I just feel like if I didn't have him on my list, I would entirely regret it.
So if I love McIlroy for a top 10, I'm absolutely going to hammer him to win this tournament. Because if anybody is coming in-- there is Scheffler. There is Justin Thomas. But I just trust Rory McIlroy right now to get it done. And coming in with some extra hunger after a win last week. Winning a tournament back to back is really difficult to do. But if there's anyone that I trust to do it, it would be McIlroy.
Now the second player that I do like is further down the odds board, and it is Tony Finau at plus 3500, which, yes, first and second last week. And I'm taking the top two to kind of do well again this week. But similar results in his last 24 rounds. Finau has top 10 in strokes gained tee to green and in strokes gained total. Back-to-back top-five finishes, T4 at the Schwab, and second at the RBC Canada, which is very similar because it's small greens and a par 70.
And most importantly for me is Finau had gained 7 and 8 strokes ball striking, 18 strokes total last week. That is something that will win most tournaments, except McIlroy just did a little bit better. He is in the green and absolutely every single category, is a bit of a hit or miss when it comes to the US Opens with three missed cuts, but Finau does also have a fifth place finish at the 2018 and a T8 in 2020. But more important for me is that Finau has gained strokes putting in six of his last seven events. He's never won a major, so no better time to do that than now.
ARIEL EPSTEIN: Here's a recap of Jay and Pam's picks. Jay is going with Scottie Scheffler and Shane Lowry. Pam is going with Rory McIlroy and Tony Finau.
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