Golf Barometer: Lowry Is Locked In

Golf Barometer: Lowry Is Locked In

This article is part of our Golf Barometer series.

It seems like just yesterday Phil Mickelson hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy at the 2005...errr...make it the 2021 PGA Championship, but U.S. Open week is already upon us as the South Course at Torrey Pines reappears on the rotation for the first time since 2008. There's no such thing as "overplaying" the highlights from the legendary Tiger-Rocco saga that year, which might go down as the most memorable edition of our nation's own major championship. 

Before a combination of 156 PGA Tour regulars and open qualifiers battle this challenging layout again, let's take a look at several players who have shifted in fantasy value ahead of the season's third major.

VALUE RISING

Louis Oosthuizen

Pacing the entire PGA Tour in SG: Putting while also ranking top-5 in SG: Total, Oosthuizen has racked up nine top-25s and a trio of top-3s in 15 starts this season. He resides top-30 in both the FedEx Cup standings and the Official World Golf Ranking, most recently enjoying a stretch that includes finishes of T18-T2-T8 since the Valspar Championship. Looking ahead to Torrey Pines, the South African owns four career top-10s in the U.S. Open and he's missed the cut in just one of his last 17 major championship appearances. Oosthuizen has yet to miss a cut through nine events played to begin the 2021 calendar year.

Shane Lowry

Coming in at 41st or better in each Strokes Gained subcategory aside from putting, Lowry has placed T9 or better in three of four starts dating to

It seems like just yesterday Phil Mickelson hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy at the 2005...errr...make it the 2021 PGA Championship, but U.S. Open week is already upon us as the South Course at Torrey Pines reappears on the rotation for the first time since 2008. There's no such thing as "overplaying" the highlights from the legendary Tiger-Rocco saga that year, which might go down as the most memorable edition of our nation's own major championship. 

Before a combination of 156 PGA Tour regulars and open qualifiers battle this challenging layout again, let's take a look at several players who have shifted in fantasy value ahead of the season's third major.

VALUE RISING

Louis Oosthuizen

Pacing the entire PGA Tour in SG: Putting while also ranking top-5 in SG: Total, Oosthuizen has racked up nine top-25s and a trio of top-3s in 15 starts this season. He resides top-30 in both the FedEx Cup standings and the Official World Golf Ranking, most recently enjoying a stretch that includes finishes of T18-T2-T8 since the Valspar Championship. Looking ahead to Torrey Pines, the South African owns four career top-10s in the U.S. Open and he's missed the cut in just one of his last 17 major championship appearances. Oosthuizen has yet to miss a cut through nine events played to begin the 2021 calendar year.

Shane Lowry

Coming in at 41st or better in each Strokes Gained subcategory aside from putting, Lowry has placed T9 or better in three of four starts dating to the RBC Heritage while missing just two cuts all season. He's gained strokes on his approach shots in six consecutive measured tournaments, and Lowry ranks 11th among the U.S. Open field in SG: Tee-to-Green over his past 24 rounds. Lowry has already nearly tripled his official earnings from the 2019-20 campaign, despite making only three more starts to this point. 

Garrick Higgo

The 22-year-old's success on the European Tour this spring proved to be no fluke this past week at the Palmetto Championship, where Higgo rallied to a one-shot victory over six players bunched in a tie for second at 10-under-par. Higgo's maiden win on the PGA Tour was preceded by multiple triumphs overseas this year at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open and the Canary Islands Championship, so he's rapidly ascended to 39th in the OWGR. This season on the Euro Tour, Higgo ranks second in putts per GIR, ninth in stroke average and 14th in driving distance. 

Kevin Streelman

Streelman has rattled off four straight results of T26 or better since the Wells Fargo Championship, a stretch that includes a top-10 at the PGA Championship. He hasn't won since the 2014 Travelers Championship, but the 42-year-old can still keep up with the modern game as he ranks 21st in SG: Off-the-Tee and third in proximity from 175-200 yards over his last 24 rounds. On the season, Streelman resides 28th in SG: Approach, 19th in GIR percentage, 34th in total driving and 27th in proximity. Additionally, he made the cut at Torrey Pines the last time it was used for the U.S. Open back in 2008.

Ian Poulter

Poulter used a hot putter at the PGA Championship to post a T30 at Kiawah, but he's since gained a combined 13.9 strokes from tee to green en route to T3-T25 finishes at the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Palmetto Championship. The Englishman's stellar short game should come in handy on a tough track like Torrey Pines, as Poulter currently ranks top-15 on Tour in both SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Putting. He's also third in scrambling, second in one-putt percentage and 35th in driving accuracy.

VALUE FALLING

Kevin Kisner

Kisner missed the cut in five consecutive stroke-play events from the PLAYERS through the PGA Championship before tying for 40th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, but he hopped back on the MC train last week at Congaree Golf Club. He's lost a cumulative 12.5 strokes on his approach shots over his past three starts, and he ranks just 153rd in SG: Tee-to-Green this season. His lack of power off the tee will make a potential bounce-back effort at Torrey Pines that much tougher.

Mackenzie Hughes

Much like the aforementioned Kisner, Hughes' short game hasn't been good enough to save him from lousy ball-striking metrics as he's lost an average of 2.6 strokes from tee to green per tournament over his last 10 measured starts. The Canadian hasn't made a cut since mid-April's RBC Heritage, failing to advance to the weekend in five straight events dating to the Valspar Championship. From a season-long perspective, Hughes sits outside the top-180 on Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, GIR percentage and proximity. 

Byeong Hun An

An finished the 2020 calendar year in the top-75 of the OWGR, but he's since fallen to 131st while failing to qualify for the U.S. Open. He's placed outside the top-40 in 11 consecutive tournaments dating to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and is certainly in danger of missing out on the FedEx Cup Playoffs if things don't improve. An is 190th or worse on Tour in driving accuracy, GIR percentage and SG: Putting.

Dylan Frittelli

Frittelli will be in attendance at Torrey Pines this week, but he's lost a total of 1.9 or more strokes to the field in six straight starts with five missed cuts along the way. Among the field at the upcoming U.S. Open, he's a dangerously low 142nd in FIR percentage over his past 36 rounds, which is a recipe for disaster with thick rough lining the fairways and penalizing wayward tee shots.

INJURY UPDATE

Jason Day

Day skipped out on the Memorial Tournament due to ongoing issues with his back while also awaiting the birth of his fourth child, but he also elected not to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open via sectionals. It'll be his first absence in a major championship since the 2012 Open Championship, and he's now gone since late-February's WGC-Workday Championship without a top-25 result. Day remains outside the top 100 in the FedExCup standings, though he's 19th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 36th in SG: T2G through 46 measured rounds this season.

Matthew Wolff

It's been a frustrating 2021 campaign for Wolff, who's been absent from PGA Tour action since his DQ from the Masters in April when he signed for an incorrect scorecard. He remains listed in the field for the U.S. Open, but has seen his odds to win dip as low as 200/1 with so much uncertainty surrounding his current form. Wolff's last top-25 finish came at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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