6 Outsiders to Follow at the US PGA
The likes of Y.E. Yang, Shaun Micheel and Rich Beem were considered unlikely and surprise champions at the PGA, but any player who etches their name on the Wanamaker Trophy has to overcome the vast majority of the world's top 100 golfers, an achievement that cannot be understated.
However, there are those who drift under the radar, especially with attention fixed on favourites including Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, but who could be the intruder that claims their own piece of history at TPC Harding Park?
We take a look at six names who may feature on the leaderboard in San Francisco.
It was unthinkable that Danny Willett could have gone from the high of being Masters champion to the low of 462nd in the Official World Golf Ranking in little over two years, but those were the depths from which the Yorkshireman has emerged from, winning in Dubai and Wentworth, returning himself comfortably within the elite top 50.
The next step in his admirable revival would be contending for major success again, something the former Ryder Cup player showed signs of last year.
Similarly, Tom Lewis has experienced a tumultuous career, lauded as a youngster, a leading amateur in The Open and quick winner on the European Tour, the Englishman had seemingly disappeared before securing a second title in Portugal, backing that up with a victory on the Korn Ferry Tour that secured his place on the PGA Tour in 2020, a season that was highlighted at the weekend by his joint-second place finish in the World Golf Championship, where the 29-year-old shot rounds of 61 and 66 on Saturday and Sunday.
That is something positive to build on in California.
Known for his colourful and outspoken exploits on social media, the American has won on the PGA Tour and showed recent form at the 3M Open, finishing T-3rd. His solid game from tee-to-green could thrive at Harding Park, but he will need to sharpen up on the greens should he become a shock contender on Sunday.
T-64th is his best result in a major, not inspiring confidence, but he will surely improve on that in his home state.
Former Australian Open winner, Abraham Ancer is yet to triumph on the PGA Tour, but he has impressed many with his play, not least a starring role for the International Team at December's Presidents Cup. His recent play has been strong, not least a runner-up at the RBC Heritage, positioning this 29-year-old as an outsider contender at the PGA.
It's time for Mexico to have a new figure to rival the stature of the great Lorena Ochoa.
Finishing 3rd last year at Bethpage Black was a breakthrough moment in America for the formidable Englishman, who wowed many observers with his run of victories in Europe. That success hasn't yet been replicated in the United States, but he will take confidence from a strong run at the recent Memorial Tournament, played at a brutally difficult Muirfield Village, which should stand him well at the PGA.
No English player has won this championship since Jim Barnes, who claimed the first two editions in 1916 and 1919.
Booking his place late in the field on Sunday after securing his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Barracuda Championship, the 28-year-old from Massachusetts also recently finished T-3rd in the 3M Open, so he arrives at Harding Park full of confidence and in great form.
While he may not win this major championship, few competing will feel better about themselves, which could count for something as the week develops.
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