Top contenders for the US Open at Erin Hills

Dustin Johnson is the defending champion. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Dustin Johnson is the defending champion. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
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Once again the course for the US Open has been set up as the toughest of tests for the world’s best golfers. But who will shine and who will suffer in the traditionally punishing rough surrounding the narrow fairways, we take a look at some of those in with a chance.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: The defending champion and world No.1 has gone from strength to strength since his victory at Oakmont last year, which was achieved despite not knowing for the last seven holes of the final round whether he would be penalised a shot for an earlier rules infraction. Johnson, pictured, won three tournaments in succession this season – including back-to-back World Golf Championship events – before a back injury forced him to withdraw from the Masters. Since returning to action, Johnson has finished second, 12th and 13th before missing the cut in the Memorial Tournament.

JORDAN SPIETH: From the start of 2015, Spieth’s record in major championships read 1-1-4-2-2 and, although he has been unable to match those dizzying heights since, the former world No.1 finished 11th in the Masters in April despite a quadruple-bogey nine on the 15th in the first round. The 23-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been inconsistent, featuring a victory at Pebble Beach but three missed cuts in four events before finishing second in the defence of his Dean & Deluca Invitational title. He will be one of a handful of players in the field to have previous experience of Erin Hills after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Amateur in 2011.

JASON DAY: Day has finished second, fourth, ninth and eighth in the last four years at the US Open, as well as being a distant runner-up to Rory McIlroy in 2011. The Australian’s season has been disrupted by his mother’s battle with cancer, which saw Day withdraw from the WGC-Dell Match Play just six holes into his opening match. But, after surgery that week proved a success, Day has been able to focus on his golf and lost out in a play-off for the AT&T Byron Nelson last month. Erin Hills also bears a resemblance to the nearby Whistling Straits, where Day won the 2015 US PGA Championship with a record total of 20 under par.

SERGIO GARCIA: Five years after claiming he was not good enough to win a major, Garcia proved himself wrong in dramatic fashion by beating Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose in a play-off for the Masters at Augusta National. Shedding the tag of ‘best player not to have won a major’ should do wonders for the talented Spaniard, pictured, who was fifth behind Johnson in the US Open at Oakmont last year. That was Garcia’s fifth top-10 finish in the US Open and the traditionally penal course set-up should suit such a quality ball-striker.

BROOKS KOEPKA: Koepka has been tipped for the top since winning three tournaments on the Challenge Tour in 2013 and the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour the following year on his way to being named rookie of the year. In 2015 he won his maiden PGA Tour title in Phoenix and finished 10th in the Open at St Andrews and fifth in the US PGA at Whistling Straits. The big-hitting 27-year-old was also fourth in the US Open in 2014 – albeit 10 shots behind winner Martin Kaymer – and shot 71 at Erin Hills in the 2011 US Amateur, although he failed to reach the matchplay stages after carding a 74 at Blue Mound, the other course used for the strokeplay stage.