5 Outsiders to Watch at the US Open
It’s been hard to look beyond the favourites and biggest names ahead of this year’s U.S. Open, as they have been dominating the conversation. Dustin Johnson returned to the world number one position after his dominant victory at the weekend, while major winners Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, and defending champion Brooks Koepka seem ideally suited to the demands of Shinnecock Hills.
The formidable Jordan Spieth cannot be discounted, while the unquestioned winners of the sentimental prize, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are each looking to achieve a triumph that would be shattering in terms of headlines.
However, looking away from these main contenders, we have picked out five golfers who are moving somewhat under the radar with the bookmakers. These potential winners are all at least 60/1 on the latest betting and may spring something of a surprise on Sunday.
The former world number one has fallen to 67th on the OWGR and was required to make it through the 36-hole Sectional Qualifier to secure his spot at Shinnecock, maintaining a record of appearing in each major since the 2001 Open Championship.
Recently posting a top ten finish at the Byron Nelson, the likeable Australian has enlisted the services of a local caddie this week. His starting weakness has been on the greens, but the long game remains solid, and that provides a foundation to score on this testing layout. Should he see putts drop early on Thursday, perhaps this is the major that marks the awakening of a sleeping giant.
Some may have written the Englishman’s career obituary in 2016, but Ian Poulter has defied the odds to restore himself as being a contender again. Runner-up at THE PLAYERS Championship last year, the 42-year-old dramatically won the Houston Open in April, paving his way back onto the major stage, and the Ryder Cup legend’s performances have been solid in the months since.
Shinnecock Hills may not appear to be ideally suited to the game of Poulter, but he’s a man enjoying a second upward trend, and that may secure the major victory that his resume as lacked to date.
The German’s spectacular victory at Pinehurst in 2014 is woefully underappreciated, and incredibly it was his most recent win on tour, having slumped outside the world’s top 100 after a troublesome wrist injury. However, he has returned and finished in a tie for eighth at the recent Italian Open, which illustrates that form is decent coming to Long Island.
Like Adam Scott, it’s about time that Kaymer reminded us of just how good he can be. Should any of that magic unearth itself – as unlikely as it may seem – don’t be shocked to see the 33-year-old make an appearance on the leaderboard during the weekend.
Since finishing in a tie for fifth at the Masters, the young Australian hasn’t been in great form, though remains capable of producing striking results in the biggest championships, as he showcased three years ago in the US Open at Chambers Bay.
You must gaze all the way back to the days of David Graham to find an Australian winner of America’s national title, but this 24-year-old has the tools required to become a supreme figure in the game. Perhaps it’s time for the Queenslander to showcase that potential once again.
The 51-year-old has enjoyed something of a renaissance since reaching the half century, winning twice on the PGA Tour Champions this season. He has remained active on the main circuit, however, and has posted solid results among courtesy of impressive rounds, not to mention coming through the Sectional Qualifier for the US Open.
Reliable and consistent, with an immaculate putting stroke, it would be a shock if the veteran was to become the oldest major champion in history, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was to better many of the field half his age at Shinnecock.
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