Revealed: The Number Of Birdies You Need To Make To Win The US Open At Pinehurst No.2

Hosting the US Open for a third time, Pinehurst No.2 has more than earned its reputation as a true test of golf, but how many birdies does it take to win there?

Michael Campbell and Martin Kaymer celebrating winning the US Open at Pinehurst No.2
How many birdies do you need to make to win the US Open at Pinehurst No.2? The data reveals all...
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The US Open has visited plenty of top tier venues over the years, but Pinehurst No.2 is fast becoming a favourite of mine. Like many other golf fans, I believe that the US Open should be hard, and despite complaints about the difficulty already being lobbed around by certain players, I say let the carnage unfold for just one week a year.

It's not abnormal to see the US Open won at a score around even par (or worse), but often the strategy for success is trading off the inevitable, albeit high number of expected bogeys with a decent amount of birdies.

In the interest of understanding what it takes to win here, and perhaps who might be the best bets this week, I decided to go back through the scorecards of previous winners, and I learned how many birdies it takes on average to win the US Open at Pinehurst No.2...

How Many Birdies Do You Need To Make To Win The US Open At Pinehurst No.2

After searching the archives, I unearthed the scorecards of previous Pinehurst No.2 champions Payne Stewart (1999), Michael Campbell (2005) and Martin Kaymer (2014).

The number of birdies made by these three champions was 14.6 per tournament on average. That's around 3.65 per round, but an interesting trend caught my eye that could provide some insight to the weekend scoring at Pinehurst No.2.

Third-round scoring was the least lucrative in each of the three editions, perhaps indicating a tendency to reserve the toughest pin positions for moving day. Michael Campbell, who won in 2005 at a score of level par, made almost as many birdies or better (16) as Martin Kaymer (17), despite ending up nine-shots worse off than the German's winning score.

That in itself highlights the importance of par at this course, With Kaymer making half the number of bogeys (8) in comparison to Campbell (16).

Martin Kaymer hitting a tee shot at the 2014 US Open (Pinehurst No.2)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How Does Scoring At Pinehurst No.2 Compare To Other US Open Venues?

Another course that has hosted the US Open three times since 1999 is the iconic Pebble Beach. Tiger Woods (2000), Graeme McDowell (2010) and Gary Woodland (2019) were all successful by the sea, but how does the winners birdie average compare to Pinehurst No.2?

Scoring was much less frugal at Pebble Beach, with Tiger Woods making a whopping 21 birdies when winning in 2000. The birdie average for the three winners combined was 17.6, a total of three more birdies per tournament than Pinehurst, averaging at 4.4 per round.

Tiger Woods hitting a tee shot at the 2000 US Open (Pebble Beach)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How Does Scoring At Pinehurst No.2 Compare To Recent History?

In the past two editions of the US Open, at LA Country Club and Brookline, both Wyndham Clark (20) and Matt Fitzpatrick (19) have scored well above the birdie average for a champion at Pinehurst No.2.

In fact, in the last five runnings of this Major Championship, all five winners have scored 15 or more birdies (or better) over four rounds on their way to securing the title.

Wyndham Clark hitting a putt at the 2023 US Open (LA Country Club)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Statistically that suggests that we could be in for one of the tougher scoring weeks in recent memory, which should provide plenty of drama and jeopardy throughout the week. Bring it on!

Barry Plummer
Staff Writer

Barry Plummer is our Staff Writer, joining in January 2024 after seven years as a PE Teacher. He now writes about instruction, working closely with Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches to provide hints and tips about all aspects of the game. As someone who came into golf at a later age, Barry is very passionate about supporting the growth of the game and creating opportunities for everyone to access it. A member at Sand Moor Golf Club in Leeds, he looks forward to getting out on the course at least once a week and making up for lost time in the pursuit of a respectable handicap.

Barry is currently playing:

Driver: Ping G425

Hybrid: TaylorMade Stealth 4 Hybrid

Irons: Mizuno JPX 921 4-PW

Wedges: TaylorMade RAC 60, Callaway Jaws MD5 54

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour