Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and other players to watch at the US Open

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Brooks Koepka

Ahead of the US Open that starts on Thursday, we look at six star players set to shine.

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BROOKS KOEPKA
Age: 29

Last five results: T56-T2-4-1-T50

The World No1 is bidding to become only the second player in history to win three successive US Open titles. He may have little history on Pebble Beach, since finishing eighth on his sole appearance back in 2016, but this type of course should suit his game perfectly. He can drive irons accurately off the tee and can navigate the treacherous holes, long roughs and speedy greens effectively. Added to that, his run of form has been nothing short of sensational, with 1-6-13-1-39-1-2-1 finishes in his last eight major starts since the 2017 US Open.

TIGER WOODS (America)
Age: 43
Last five tournaments: T30-T5-1-MC-T9

The Masters champion was among the favourites for the PGA Championship but missed the cut by one shot at Bethpage. Had his greatest performance in 2000 at Pebble, winning the US Open by a record 15-shots. Although he has only played the California course four times in the last nine years, he has proven his class in the past, and if he can straighten his driving accuracy and get up to speed on the course changes, then he could very well be a threat come Sunday.

RORY MCILROY (Northern Ireland)
Age: 30
Last five tournaments: T21-T8-T8-MC-1

The Northern Irishman came roaring through the field in Canada last weekend, firing a closing round of 61 for his second win of the season. Tee to green, he is the most supreme ballstriker on the PGA Tour and more consistent than ever. The 30-year-old needs to avoid the slow starts that halted his progress at the Masters (T21) and PGA Championship (T8) if he is to add to his four major wins. Has been the form player in the world, finishing in the top ten in every tournament, except at Augusta.

PHIL MICKELSON (America)
Age: 48
Last five results: T14-T18-MC-T71-MC

Mickelson comes into this week’s major bidding to complete the career grand slam. The 48-year-old has cooled off after a sizzling start to the year, failing to record a top-10 since winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. He also missed the cut at the Players, finished T18 at the Masters and had a miserable T71 result at the PGA Championship. Still, the San Diego man’s ability to putt greens on a course he is comfortable with – he has won five times here – will give him an edge against a stellar field.

DUSTIN JOHNSON (America)
Age: 34
Last five results: T40-T2-T28-2-T20

The 2016 US Open champion has never quite rediscovered that stunning form which saw him top the world rankings in 2017 when winning third successive tournaments. But the Florida resident is slowly getting back to his best, winning in Mexico and Saudi Arabia this season, and finishing in a tie for second at the Masters. Johnson needs to tighten up his short game and putting if he is to contend this weekend, on a course where he won back-to-back Pro-Ams in 2009 and 2010. Has the talent and confidence to conquer Pebble in any condition.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD (England)
Age: 28
Last five results: T24-T36-T25-T8-T48

The Englishman’s stunning final round 63 at the 2018 US Open and his 62 at the BMW Championship in Aronimink are examples of the damage he can do when in control. With the small and fast greens in California, the Southport man has the intelligence off the tee and strong iron game to flirt with the winner’s circle this weekend. In 2019, he has three top five finishes, including second at the Zurich Classic in April. Young and confident, he looks primed for another tilt at US Open glory.

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