Gary Gilchrist: Keys to the US Open at Merion

Two weeks in a row now where weather is going to play a factor.

Last week rain threatened the start of the Wegman’s LPGA Championship when I was there and this week the course is saturated, making things really interesting here for the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club.

I’m really looking forward to this week with three of my students playing and playing well coming in with Morgan Hoffmann, D.A. Points and Peter Hedblom.

These wet conditions could lend to some low scores when factoring in that the course is playing under 7,000 yards and with five par 4s under 400 yards and two others under 415 yards.

Don’t let that fool you though. Merion features tremendous versatility with its layout, shapes of the greens and varying length of holes among being a narrow and tight most of the way.

This course also features tremendous history from Bobby Jones winning his first U.S. Amateur here to Ben Hogan’s famous 1-iron in 1950 on No. 18 to Lee Trevino capturing his first major while outdueling the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus.

With all that history surrounding this place. This year’s US Open could be one to remember.

Here are my keys to success this week for the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA:

1. Placement off the tee

Finding fairways is always key in US Opens. The rough is long and thick here at Merion and the fairways are narrow and tree lined. Tee shots on these longer holes here are going to be crucial. Driving it off line here brings bogey or worse into play.

2. Quick start

Merion this week features just two par 5s, and they just so happen to come within the first four holes.

No. 1 is a shorter little dogleg right at just 350 yards followed by the 556-yard par 5 at No. 2. Many players will make some birdies quickly here with another birdie chance at No. 4, the only other par 5.

A quick start on a stage like the US Open can do wonders for a player, and really build confidence for the rest of the event.

3. Manage par 3s

The par 3s here are beasts to say the least. Three of the four are set at 230+ yards, really showing the versatility of this course and the original design.

They collectively might be the toughest set of par 3s in major championship history. Bogeys are most certainly going to happen, especially bringing the longest of them all into play on No. 17.

The player who manages their game the best of these par 3s this week is most likely going to at the top of the leaderboard or most certainly in contention.