Why these four Englishmen are set to make their mark on the 123rd U.S. Open.
Sunday’s final round of the RBC Canadian Open produced one of the most exciting finishes on the PGA Tour in recent memory. Nick Taylor drained a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole to win his national open, the first Canadian to do so in 69 years. The player he beat? England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who was searching for the first PGA Tour win of his career.
Among those jostling for position on Sunday’s leaderboard with Taylor and Fleetwood were a trio of Englishmen: Tyrrell Hatton (T3), Justin Rose (8th), and Matt Fitzpatrick (T20). Those four English golfers, along with several others, head to Los Angeles this week to compete in the 123rd U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club.
LACC is a bit of an enigma for golf fans who have likely never seen the ultra-private course before. It features large undulating greens, rough befit for a proper U.S. Open, and what is described as its signature “craggy, scraggily bunker look and feel.”
This is a setup that could potentially favor mid-length hitters with excellent ball-striking skills who can find the fairway off the tee; and sharp short games that can be relied upon to save par or even bogey in some circumstances.
With the recent form displayed by these four Englishmen, don’t be surprised to see one, or even all of them in contention this weekend.
England set to make its mark on the 123rd U.S. Open from LACC
The defending champion and 8th-ranked player in the world, Fitzpatrick has solidified himself as a world-class player who competes week-in and week-out on any style course. The 28-year-old from Sheffield, England, won earlier this year at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina and recently finished T9 at The Memorial and T20 at the RBC Canadian Open.
On the season, Fitzpatrick ranks 17th in SG: Total and 23rd in SG: Putting. But perhaps the most important stat heading into the U.S. Open is his putting inside 10 feet which is 4th overall at 91.06%. Those putts inside 10 feet – whether for birdie, par, or even bogey – will play a critical role this week.
Whether you love Hatton’s fiery on-course persona or loathe it, one thing is certain – Hatton is a baller. Although his only PGA Tour win came back in 2018 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he routinely places himself at the top of leaderboards and in the mix on Sundays. In fact, Hatton has only one missed cut on the PGA Tour this season. Out of 15 events played, he was runner-up at THE PLAYERS Championship and has six Top 10s and 10 Top 25s in 2022-23.
Like Fitzpatrick, Hatton ranks high in SG: Total at 3rd, picking up 2.163 strokes on the field. He is 7th in SG: Putting and ranks 11th in Scrambling. U.S. Open conditions will make these stats tough to achieve, but if Hatton can manage to scramble for pars and utilize his often unbridled passion, he is poised for a breakthrough, much like his compatriot, Fitzpatrick, last year.
Fresh off that heartbreaking playoff loss to Nick Taylor in last week’s RBC Canadian Open, Fleetwood will look to ride the momentum of a solid tee-to-green game and a hot putter that helped him rank first in SG: Putting at the RBC. He has come close before. In 2017, he finished 4th in the U.S. Open behind Brooks Koepka and followed that up with a runner-up finish at the 2018 U.S. Open (behind, once again, Koepka).
Those high finishes show that Fleetwood is a man who can not only contend at U.S. Open venues but thrive in them. With just a little work needed to shore up his scrambling, he could be flirting with the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
The 42-year-old Rose is amid a ‘Rosey’ resurgence. His win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February was his first PGA Tour win in over four years. Although he missed his next two cuts, Rose has continued his consistent play over the course of the season, including a T6 finish at THE PLAYERS Championship and T9 at last month’s PGA Championship.
The 2013 U.S. Open champion ranks 12th in SG: Total this season on the PGA Tour, as well as 2nd in Sand Save % and 13th in SG: Approach to Green. The steady Englishman never seems to get rattled and often flies under the radar, both perfect attributes to have this week on what should be a difficult test of golf.
Other Englishmen teeing it up in the 123rd U.S. Open this week include Jordan Smith, David Horsey, Ross Fisher, J.J. Grey, and amateur Barclay Brown.