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SBNation.com – All Posts: Playing Through: SB Nation staff reveals U.S. Open picks, winner again


U.S. Open, Los Angeles Country Club
LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Open sits on the 11th tee box at Los Angeles Country Club with the city of Los Angeles in the background. | USGA/John Mummert

The third major championship of the season is here. Check out who the Playing Through crew thinks will win the 123rd U.S. Open.

This week, the Los Angeles Country Club will host the 123rd U.S. Open, which comes on the heels of the bombshell announcement between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The Playing Through crew accurately picked the 2023 PGA Champion and the winner at the Memorial Tournament, so check out who they chose to win the third major of the year:

Kendall Capps, Editor

Max Homa will win his first major championship in his hometown of Los Angeles. He has eight top 10s this season, which ranks second on the PGA Tour. He is hitting the ball beautifully, ranking 17th on tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green. He is also a phenomenal putter, a necessary attribute for anyone vying for the U.S. Open title. Homa ranks fifth in strokes gained: putting on the PGA Tour this year.

Homa has played this course numerous times, unlike the rest of the field. He even shot a 9-under par 61 at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships at LACC, which still stands as the course record a decade later.

Despite never finishing in the top 10 at a major championship, Homa rides his hot putter and course knowledge to victory.

Max Homa, Los Angeles, 123rd U.S. Open Championship
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES — Max Homa plays a shot from a bunker on the 18th hole during a practice round prior to the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 12, 2023.

Jack Milko, Writer

Numerous players and pundits have compared Los Angeles Country Club’s North Course to tracks located in Australia’s famous Sandbelt region. Upon hearing this, I decided to go with Cameron Smith to win the 2023 U.S. Open. Smith’s game fits this course perfectly. He can shape any shot he wants, is a tremendous iron player, and is also one of the best putters in the world.

LACC is not your typical U.S. Open layout with deep rough, and tree-lined fairways. Instead, this course plays more like Augusta National, with numerous undulations and slopes on its fairways and greens. The Brisbane, Australia native has played well at Augusta, having four top-5 finishes at the Masters since 2018.

Smith may have missed the cut at the previous two U.S. Opens, but this layout fits his game too well. He will become the first Australian to win the U.S. Open since Geoff Ogilvy did so at Winged Foot in 2006.

Cameron Smith, Los Angeles, 123rd U.S. Open Championship
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES — Cameron Smith of Australia plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 12, 2023.

Savannah Richardson, Writer

Savannah will go with Brooks Koepka, who will join Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only two golfers to win three U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships. Koepka is solely focused on the majors as he wants to get to double digits overall. He is halfway there after winning the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

Even though it is difficult to win back-to-back majors, Koepka has the game to contend at any major championship layout and the mental fortitude to win two straight. He has won two majors in a calendar year once before, in 2018, but has never gone back-to-back. Nevertheless, Koepka rides his hot putter and superior ball striking to win the 2023 U.S. Open by two strokes.

Brooks Koepka, Los Angeles, 123rd U.S. Open Championship
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES — Brooks Koepka plays a shot on the sixth hole during a practice round prior to the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 12, 2023.

Luke Robitaille, Social Producer

Like Kendall Capps, Luke is going with another Southern California golfer to win his first major championship in Xander Schauffele. Schauffele has finished no worse than 14th in the previous six U.S. Opens. He came in 5th at Winged Foot in 2020 and tied for 3rd in 2019 at Pebble Beach.

Despite not winning since the 2022 Genesis Scottish Open, Schauffele is trending in the right direction. He has the longest streak of consecutive cuts made (26) on the PGA Tour. He also finished 4th at the RBC Heritage and 2nd at the Wells Fargo Championship. He tied for 18th at Oak Hill but shot 67 on Sunday to vault up the leaderboard at the PGA.

Los Angeles Country Club puts a premium on ball striking, and Schauffele has the iron game to get the job done. The San Diego native also has a terrific short game too, a necessity to win the U.S. Open. He finally breaks through this week.

Xander Schauffele, Los Angeles, 123rd U.S. Open Championship
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES — Xander Schauffele plays his shot from the tenth tee during a practice round prior to the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 12, 2023.

Who do you think wins the 2023 U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club? Comment below and let us know!

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