Nine Australians are teeing it up at Shinnecock Hills this week for the 118th US Open. They all have varying pathways to and expectations for the US Open.
Aaron Baddeley – Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR): 244 – Best US Open Finish: T13 (2007)
The mercurial Australian battled his way through sectional qualifying in Ohio to secure his place at Shinnecock. Baddeley has been struggling for form, missing three of his last four cuts.
The Victorian possesses an incredible short-game, ranking first in strokes gained around the green. If the already tricky greens become firm, expect Aaron Baddeley to find himself in contention.
David Bransdon – OWGR: 450 – Best US Open Finish: Debut
The Victorian is a regular on the Japanese Tour and has been in patchy form, with only one top-10 this year. The experienced Australian finished fourth at the Australian PGA in December behind Cameron Smith. The journeyman has the experience required to survive the challenges presented at a US Open.
Jason Day – OWGR: 8 – Best US Open Finish: second (2011, 2013)
A two-time winner on tour this year, Day is an undoubted superstar. The Queenslander has two previous US Open runners-up and a game suited to Shinnecock.
Prodigiously long (13th in Driving Distance) and a terrific ability to scramble (first in strokes gained short-game). Day is one of the best players on earth and a favourite for this week.
Lucas Herbert – OWGR: 159 – Best US Open Finish: Debut
The highly talented 22-year-old flirted with the course record in route to winning his Portland sectional qualifier by three shots. Herbert has six top-10 in his last 12 worldwide starts.
He is seventh on the European Tour for birdies per round and 20th in driving distance. Lucas has incredible scoring potential and subsequently could make a real mark this week.
Matt Jones – OWGR: 302 – Best US Open Finish: CUT (2014)
The New South Welshman has recently re-found form, making four of his last five cuts. The PGA Tour winner qualified for the US Open through Memphis sectional qualifying.
He is 15th in driving distance and has the explosiveness required to deal with how exceptionally long Shinnecock Hills will play.
Marc Leishman – OWGR: 14 – Best US Open Finish: T18 (2016)
The Warrnambool native is compiling another respectable season. Six top-10s on the year, including two second-place finishes and a ninth at Augusta. Leishman has two top-30s in his previous two US Opens and five major championship top-10s since 2013.
One of the best wind players on Tour, Leishman will feel comfortable on the open Shinnecock Hills layout.
Adam Scott – OWGR: 64 – Best US Open Finish: T4 (2015)
Scott has played every major since the 2001 Open Championship and the former world No.1 survived sectional qualifying in Ohio to continue this streak. seventh in strokes gained tee-to-green, but 98th in putting, Scott has been significantly hindered by a lousy putter.
The Queenslander has the talent to contend this week, but it is all dependent on the flat stick.
Jason Scrivener – OWGR: 186 – Best US Open Finish: Debut
The 29-year-old applies his trade on the European Tour and has recorded three top-20s this season. The Western Australian has an elite approach game and will be well suited to the small and firm greens at Shinnecock Hills.
Cameron Smith – OWGR: 42 – Best US Open Finish: T4 (2015)
Cameron Smith has made the cut in both his two previous US Open appearances, including his memorable fourth place finish at the 2015 edition. Together with his fifth at Augusta this April, Smith has compiled his best year to date.
The Queenslander has eight top-20s on the PGA Tour and claimed victory at the Australian PGA in December. Like Leishman, Smith is a phenomenal wind player and should relish the open expanses of the New York property.