We’re going to crown a U.S. Open champion — we hope — on Father’s Day Sunday at Erin Hills. We’ve got a leaderboard jammed with players all hungry for their first major title. Many are in their 20s, some in their 30s. Some are svelte, some are muscular. At Erin Hills, all types of players are thriving.
So, who’s going to win the second major of the year? After an unpredictable first three days, the answer is hard to predict. Instead, here are five things to look for on Sunday at the U.S. Open.
- More good scoring. There’s been a lot of social-media bellyaching about the volume of birdies and eagles at Erin Hills. Expect more on Sunday, as more rain is anticipated overnight Saturday. There’s not much any golf course can do to defend par against the world’s best without some heat and some wind.
- Plenty of nerves. Looking at the leaderboard, you won’t see a player who has won a major until T-17, where you’ll find 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and reigning Masters winner Sergio Garcia. With so many vying for that first major, there will certainly be some nervousness.
- Records going down. In the first 116 U.S. Opens, only six players had reached 10 under or greater at any point. Right now, there are five players at 10 under or better at Erin Hills. Rory McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open at 16-under total, and that’s in play on Sunday.
- The end (for now) for Ernie. Ernie Els’ exemption ran out at the Masters in April, and it will run out, barring a miracle, on Sunday at the U.S. Open. He’s been in this event for 25 consecutive years. The USGA could give him an exemption in future years, but this season has been somewhat of a farewell tour for The Big Easy. He deserves some love.
- Another first-time major winner. If Oosthuizen and Garcia don’t pull off something unprecedented, then we’ll have a first-time major winner for the seventh consecutive major. With the exception of Jordan Spieth’s two majors in 2015, we’ve only had first-time major winners dating back to Webb Simpson winning the 2012 U.S. Open.