The 31-year-old has played the Open Championship seven times, with top results of eighth in 2009 and seventh in 2013. Links golf is a favourite for the eight-time Sunshine Tour champ, who has won tournaments on three different continents.
Chambers Bay is new territory for the US Open and it puts everyone on a level playing field. Unlike the bombers’ paradise courses of the PGA Tour, the eight-year-old track is a pure test of golf and will require shotmaking.
It’s a venue where Aiken should flourish because of his ability to handle tough courses.
Of late he’s been plodding along on the European Tour and making cuts, but not firing on all cylinders. He shared 43rd at the Irish Open a three weeks ago and tied for 35th a week prior to that at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
Aiken’s only experience at majors on American soil are missed cuts at the 2011 and 2012 PGA Championships.
He competed in the Memorial Tournament a fortnight ago and played three superb rounds, but slid down the leaderboard with a Sunday round of 76. In the end he tied for 26th place, which was not a shabby result after playing for such a short time in the United States.
The Johannesburger did not tee up in last week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic and will surely have played extra practice rounds at Chambers Bay. From Thursday we’ll see whether his wily links skills can translate into success in the US Open.