US PGA Championship Top 5/10: DJ could be worth the risk

American golfer Dustin Johnson
American Dustin Johnson can thrive at Harding Park
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Dave Tindall arms you with the stats that matter for a punt on the Top 5 and Top 10 Finish markets ahead of the 2020 US PGA Championship...

"A strong wind player, DJ has a fantastic record by the coast, winning twice at Pebble Beach, and shook off concerns about his bad back with a T12 at St. Jude last week."

Back Dustin Johnson for Top 5 @ [6.8]

Brooks Koepka - Back-to-form champ seeks US PGA three-peat

He's won the last two PGAs and four of his last 10 major starts. Add to that eight other top 10s at this level and note that six of those were top fives. "My game feels like it's in really, really good shape right now," said Koepka on Tuesday, two days on from his back-to-form second place at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. "I like the way I'm hitting it. Putting it really, really well. Every day is a lot more comfortable. I'm excited. This (Harding Park) is a big-boy golf course. Got to hit it straight and put it in the fairway. It's going to be quite long. I think it kind of plays into my hands." On his record at this level, we have to take every word seriously.

Last four events: 2-MC-62-MC
Course form: W2 L1 (2015) Match Play
California form: 43-2-MC-MC-8-41
Last 50 starts - Win: 10%, Top 5: 28%, Top 10: 36%

Justin Thomas - No.1 chases double after WGC win

"This course is great. It's fun. It's right in front of you," said Thomas after seeing Harding Park for the first time earlier this week. "It's not tricked up. You just have to hit the fairways. You have to have control of your ball." He tees it up as World No.1 again following his superb win in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude on Sunday. "I've been driving the ball well, which is something that's going to be key here. If I could sit down and choose something, I can make an argument for all of them, but driving the ball well is going to be a big, big priority this week. I think that's going to be something that whoever wins this golf tournament is going to most likely be driving the ball pretty well." JT was 16th for SG: Off The Tee last week and 1st Tee To Green. He also has plenty of good form in California.

Last four events: 1-18-2-MC
Course form: -
California form: MC-4-MC-2-9-39
Last 50 starts - Win: 10%, Top 5: 26%, Top 10: 48%

Rory McIlroy - Course form but no current form

"I never played Harding Park before. But as soon as I played the course, I liked it. It's a fair test of golf. You get rewarded for good shots. It suited my eye. I like big trees that frame holes and you've got a lot of definition to work the ball off stuff. I really enjoyed the golf course this week," said Rory after winning the WGC-Matchplay at this week's venue in 2015. That's the obvious good news; the bad is the huge difference in form since the re-start. Rory connected seven top fives from October to March but is now without a top 10 in five outings. He's admitted to finding it weird without crowds so, even though Rory is Rory, the brave will certainly consider laying him week.

Last four events: 32-11-41-32
Course form: Win - W7 L0 (2015) Match Play
Last 50 starts - Win: 8%, Top 5: 40%, Top 10: 60%

Jon Rahm - Spaniard has eyes on first major

Rahm hadn't played the course before being called in for interview on Tuesday. He said: "I can tell you in a couple hours once I've played nine holes, but it looks like obviously this West Coast weather, a little bit cooler, chances of rain. Rough is going to be nice and healthy and thick, and it looks like fairways, from what I've seen, are decently narrow, right, so major championship golf, we just need to play good in every part of your game and have confidence in every part of your game." As for the cooler weather this week, he noted: "Where I grew up in Spain is pretty much like this. It's almost closer to what we play on The European Tour, which I've done decently well on." He can say that again and Rahm boasts a great record in California too having won his first two PGA Tour events there. Add in the incentive of trying to wrestle back his World No.1 status and he looks set for a big week.

Last four events: 52-1-69-27
Course form: -
California form: 17-2-3-9-5-6
Last 50 starts - Win: 8%, Top 5: 38%, Top 10: 58%

Bryson DeChambeau - Muscle man needs to improve majors record

Listening to player quotes this week suggests there's plenty of chance to pull driver this week and that's obviously good news for the game's longest hitter. As Tony Finau said on Tuesday: "I think distance is a big key this week, and you know, you mentioned the rough, we talked about the rough. You've got to hit the fairways. But if I am going to miss a fairway, I want to miss it as far up as I can to give myself a chance to still hit the green." DeChambeau ranks 1st for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee so can hit it straight as well as miles although he was out of whack last week when losing 7.770 strokes Tee To Green (his putter helped him salvage T30). Despite his excellent results at regular Tour level, the obvious concern for DeChambeau backers is that he's not had a top 10 yet in 14 major starts.

Last four events: 30-MC-1-6
Course form: -
California form: 5-13-35-15-41
Last 50 starts - Win: 12%, Top 5: 24%, Top 10: 42%

Xander Schauffele - Big-event record gives American appeal

Schauffele is taken extremely seriously in majors now and deservedly so. The American has four top fives and a T6 in just 11 appearances at this level and that includes second places at the Open Championship and the US Masters. The former shows he can handle the cooler conditions which will be prevalent this week and he arrives on the back of a tied sixth in last week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Also in his favour are some relevant stats. Schauffele is 7th for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, 6th Tee To Green and 5th in Par 4 Scoring Average (Harding Park is a par 70 so has two extra ones). Add to that the fact that he's a local Californian and is used to the weather/greens.

Last four events: 6-13-14-20
Course form: -
California form: 23-MC-3-15-25-9
Last 50 starts - Win: 4%, Top 5: 22%, Top 10: 32%

Dustin Johnson - DJ finding right tune again

DJ won two of his three matches at the WGC-Match Play here in 2015, only failing to advance due to a narrow 20th hole loss to Charl Schwartzel. After his opening win, he stated: "I thought the course was great. I think it's fantastic. I like it much better than the previous course (Dove Mountain in Arizona). For me it sets up a lot better." With two rounds of 80 at Memorial and a WD at the 3M Open with a bad back, there are some concerns but he played down his ailments at St. Jude and went on to finish tied 12th, striking the ball nicely again. Johnson has four wins in California, including two along the coast at Pebble Beach, so this par 70 which requires strong driving is certainly one where he can thrive and add to a fine US PGA record which shows five top 10s including second place last year.

Last four events: 12-WD-MC-1
Course form: W2 L1 (2015) Match Play
California form: 10-32-35-9-45-16
Last 50 starts - Win: 10%, Top 5: 28%, Top 10: 44%

Patrick Cantlay - Californian looks ready to peak

One of the quietest players in golf does his talking on the course and comes into the US PGA on the back of a run of 18 straight cuts. A Californian, some local advantage kicks in too and a 65-67 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational last weekend suggests he's ready to peak. Cantlay is starting to make his mark in the majors too and after T12 at the 2018 Open Championship he finished T9 (Masters), T3 (this event) and T21 (US Open) in the three American majors last year. Cantlay ranks 4th on Approach this season and 34th Off The Tee.

Last four events: 35-32-7-11
Course form: -
California form: 17-11-40-21-15-MC
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 18%, Top 10: 34%

Webb Simpson - US Open champ has major San Francisco memories

Simpson won the 2012 US Open over the road at Olympic Club and that was created by the same designers as this week's venue even though it's a much shorter test. That said, he won two of his three matches at Harding Park in the 2015 WGC-Match Play, his one loss (1 down) coming to eventual runner-up Gary Woodland. He said that week: "This is the first time playing this course this year and I really enjoy it. Tee to green it's really similar to Olympic." While consistent in the majors (26 cuts out of 34), he's had just one top five and a further top 10 since that 2012 breakthrough. The good news is that last year he posted 5-29-16-30 in the four majors and he's taken his game up a notch having won twice in his last seven starts.

Last four events: 12-MC-8-1
Course form: W2 L1 (2015) Match Play
California form: 16-36-17-39-MC-66
Last 50 starts - Win: 6%, Top 5: 28%, Top 10: 40%

Collin Morikawa - Youngster knows course well

Another local Californian but this time that equates to extra inside knowledge. "I've played there (Harding) maybe around 10, 15 times throughout my college career. Stanford hosted their event there one year. So I've seen it quite a bit. I haven't really played it ever too early in the morning. San Francisco's weather in the morning could be freezing, and we've been playing in 95-degree, very humid weather so far since quarantine, or since we've restarted. But that's a course that I feel familiar with. I can name any hole for you right now. I can tell you what spots you want to miss it." Even without that course knowledge, Morikawa would have been on the radar due to his elite ball striking which has already yielded two wins on the PGA Tour for the second season pro. His one taste of major action resulted in a solid T35 at last year's US Open.

Last four events: 20-48-1-MC
Course form: -
California form: 26-21-10-35-MC
Last 50 starts - Win: 7%, Top 5: 23%, Top 10: 33%

Conclusion

There are some more obvious options but I'm going to put trust in a player who is at much bigger odds than normal for a major on American soil.

Dustin Johnson was runner-up in last year's PGA on a big, long track and it's interesting to hear several players such as Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau stress that monster drivers will be at an advantage at Harding Park.

Yes, it's not long on the scorecard at just over 7,200 yards but the ball won't fly far so length will be an asset.

A strong wind player, DJ has a fantastic record by the coast, winning twice at Pebble Beach, and shook off concerns about his bad back with a T12 at St. Jude last week. And let's not forget, just three starts earlier, he won the Travelers Championship.

He's got nine top fives in majors, including two in his last four, and given his suitability for this week's venue, the [6.8] for a top five is worth chancing.

Collin Morikawa knows this course just about better than anyone in the field so I'll also take the [4.8] about the youngster posting a top 10.

He has the game to go with that extra knowledge and already has a win and a second since the re-start.

A top 20 last week was achieved with weekend laps of 67-66 (9th SG: Off The Tee) so this looks a great chance for the fearless youngster announce his arrival in majors.

Dave Tindall,

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