Darkhorse picks for the US Open

by Derek on June 15, 2011

in US Open

Sergio Garcia

It’s that time of year again.  The best players in the world are getting in last minute practice for the start of the US Open at Congressional on Thursday.

The last 2 US Opens have produced champions who weren’t picked by many pundits to win.  There are probably 50 players with a reasonable chance this week.  So instead of picking who I think it most likely to win, I’m picking 5 “under-the-radar” players that I think could win this week.

Lucas Glover - The 2009 US Open winner disappeared in 2010 but roared back this year with a great win last month at Quail Hollow.  He’s sitting 4th right now in the Strokes Gained – Putting stat, which means he’s rolling the ball really, really well.  And given the USGA’s obsession with keeping the winning score at even par, you know the greens and pin positions are going to be ridiculously hard.  Plus, .

Michael Whitehead – Michael who?  He’s the guy that got Tiger’s spot after he withdrew.  This is his first event as a professional.  Is he likely to make the cut?  Probably not, but it would be a great story if Tiger’s replacement ends up winning the US Open in his first professional start.

Harrison Frazar – Obviously Harrison is coming off a big week with his first victory on the PGA Tour.  Normally, he wouldn’t be on my radar as somebody who has an outside chance to win, but sometimes when guys get hot, they stay hot for a few weeks.  Of course sometimes they also have a post win hangover and don’t sniff the cut a week after a win.

Sergio Garcia – Garcia was not guaranteed a spot this week because he’s no longer in the top 50 in the OWGR.   He originally had not planned on trying to qualify, but at the last minute decided to play in the Memphis sectional event.  He earned one of 4 spots and ensured that his streak of 47 consecutive major starts will continue.  He obviously wants to be there this week and hopefully will bring his “A-game”.  He’s been playing pretty good golf this year and it’s always great to see a qualifier in contention on Sunday.

Adam Scott – I don’t know if Adam Scott is “under the radar” or not.  But I do know that he damn close to winning a major on Sunday at Augusta.  The long putter seems to be working for him and Tiger even loaned him Stevie for the week.  Could having Williams on the bag be the missing ingredient that Scott needs to finally break through in the Majors?


[Image Flickr/Keith Allison]

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

PJ June 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

I like the Scott pick. Always felt like he has had the game tee to green, but lacked putting which guarantees you won’t win, and desire, which only gets worse by not winning. He’s on track with the long putter, and has gained huge confidence in his overall game recently. Add Steve Williams who will not accept anything but 100% effort, and you might have a US Open winning combination.


Derek June 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I have to say that this was a tough list to put together. Ryan Palmer and Ryan Moore were both on the list at one point as was Peter Uihlein. I could have easily picked 10 guys for this list. I honestly think heading into it, this was the most wide open US Open we’ve seen in the last 10 years.

Of course McIlroy’s 65 today puts him in the driver’s seat, but I won’t be a big believer until he’s still there on Sunday afternoon.


PJ June 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

I should add that Sergio is seemingly the exact same as Scott. Tee to green game is exceptional and desire is definitely improving. That said, I’m not so sure he’s got putting figured out well enough yet to win the US Open.


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