US Open predictions: First-round leader and threeballs

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Matthew Fitzpatrick has form on this course after winning the US Amateur at Brookline and can win his three-ball
Matthew Fitzpatrick has form on this course after winning the US Amateur at Brookline and can win his three-ball

The first round of the US Open starts at 11.45am and the weather forecast for the opening day at The Country Club in Brookline is an interesting one. 

With a calm morning expected to be followed by a windy afternoon, players lucky enough to have been handed an early tee-time for round one may get the chance to forge ahead. 

The greens at Brookline are already firm and running extremely fast so the later starters will require a silky touch to handle them as they dry. 

Riley can make early move

Davis Riley is the sort of player who may take advantage of a morning tee-time and make an early impact in the US Open. 

Riley is one of the most promising players on the PGA Tour and the 25-year-old has shown this season that when he gets hot, he takes some stopping. 

In the Valspar Championship at the end of March, Riley fired an incredible third round of 62 on a difficult course. 

More recently, he has posted a pair of 64s in the AT&T Byron Nelson, and his PGA Tour form figures from his last five tournaments are 5-9-13-4-13. 

Bursting with form and confidence, and teeing off soon after the first groups, this powerhouse could make the early running. 

Consistent Schauffele can handle tough start

Another American to watch out for on day one is Xander Schauffele, who has carded rounds of 66, 72, 66, 68 and 72 on the Thursday of his previous five US Opens. 

Given how difficult the US Open assignment typically is — and how easy it is to destroy your scorecard — Schauffele deserves huge respect for those starts. 

He knows the course from competing in the 2013 US Amateur at Brookline and can exit the starting gates smartly again in the US Open. 

Wind will not faze in-form Fox

Ryan Fox and Matthew Fitzpatrick are a dynamic duo who may be able to hang tough in the forecast afternoon breezes at Brookline. 

Both men have cut their teeth in some difficult weather on the DP World Tour and will not be frightened by any wind. 

Fox tees off at 7.20pm in a three-ball with Richard Bland and Rikuya Hoshino. 

The New Zealander seems likely to be the leading protagonist in that group. 

He has contended in the Irish Open and the Scottish Open in the past — showing his ability in a breeze — and his DP World Tour form of late has been fantastic. 

He boasts DP World Tour form figures of 1-15-9-8-2-54-2. 

Ryan Fox comes into the US Open on the back of finishing second at the Dutch Open
Ryan Fox comes into the US Open on the back of finishing second at the Dutch Open

Fitzpatrick has fond Brookline memories

Fitzpatrick is a Sheffield man with a great affection for this week's venue. 

He won the 2013 US Amateur at Brookline and has been a regular visitor to the course since then. 

Nine years after scrambling superbly to triumph in that US Amateur, his game has progressed to make him a regular contender on the PGA Tour. 

Fitzpatrick has posted seven top-10s this year and is expected to shed his maiden tag soon. 

With Dustin Johnson distracted by LIV Golf talk and Webb Simpson yet to find top gear after neck problems, Fitzpatrick may be the leading light of his group.

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