Over the last decade, the U.S. Open has crowned first-time major champions with a high level of consistency. In fact, 10 of the last 13 winners of the national championship have been maiden victors, with the exceptions being Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka, who had won his first the year prior.
This year’s championship will be hosted by the Country Club, a venue that has not been seen in the public light since 2013 for the U.S. Amateur. At a course on which not one player has extensive experience, the playing field is essentially level.
That should be music to the ears of a few of our selections below with odds coming courtesy of Bovada.
2022 U.S. Open Sleeper Picks
Abraham Ancer +6600
The world No. 20 has had a quiet season up to this point but has performed on two of the biggest stages on the PGA Tour calendar. The former Olympian finished in a tie for fifth at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and then contended at the PGA Championship.
Ancer entered the final round at Southern Hills only five strokes off the lead and any round of under-par golf would have secured his place in history.
Instead, he sputtered but did post fantastic ball-striking numbers, including +1.23 strokes gained approach per round and +0.76 strokes gained off the tee per round.
Those types of figures will bode well for him at the Country Club as fairways and greens will need to be hit with a high level of consistency. Finishing in a tie for 32nd in his last start out at the Memorial Tournament, his strong play has not abandoned him and given his quietly apt major championship resume, Ancer could play himself into this week’s mix.
Corey Conners +6600
The Canadian is coming off a solid performance at the RBC Canadian Open where he put together a fantastic final-round effort. Conners propelled himself up the leaderboard by firing an 8-under 62 on Sunday and eventually finished in solo sixth at St. George’s Golf & Country Club.
This outing followed up a tie for 13th at the Memorial Tournament, a tie for 12th at the RBC Heritage and a tie for sixth at the Masters in early April. Combine this with a semifinal showing at Austin Country Club and Conners has maintained his spot as one of the most consistent golfers on the PGA Tour.
Not many players in this week’s field will have experience at the Country Club, but the world No. 30 does. He was a participant in the 2013 U.S. Amateur and made a deep run into the championship before losing in the semifinals to eventual winner Matt Fitzpatrick.
While the course has changed over the last decade, Conners’ game has evolved as well and should still be a perfect match for the venue just outside Boston.
Justin Rose +6600
The Englishman won his lone major championship in the same region of the United States as his 2013 U.S. Open title was just south at Merion.
Merion, near Philadelphia, has a number of similarities to the Country Club and this could bode well for Rose. Combine this potential course fit with his recent play and a renaissance of sorts could unfold in Boston.
The former world No. 1 finished his RBC Canadian Open on a high note as he fired a final-round 60 and connected on a top-five finish. On a course that featured firm and fast greens as well as penal rough off the fairway, Rose thrived as he often has on difficult golf courses throughout his career.
While his 2022 season has been lackluster, he has performed adequately at Torrey Pines, Southern Hills and now St. George’s Golf & Country Club.
Three major championship-style venues have showcased Rose’s best golf and given how he rounded out his play in Canada, he should like his chances at the U.S. Open.
Keegan Bradley +10000
The former PGA Championship winner has enjoyed a strong season and has impressed when conditions are at their most difficult. Bradley had a fantastic Florida swing that featured extraordinary finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship.
He has since added top-10 results at the Zurich Classic and Valero Texas Open before finishing runner-up to Max Homa at the Wells Fargo Championship. The reason for Bradley’s success has been simple: his putter is beginning to get hot.
A top-10 ball-striker on the PGA Tour, it is this club that has often hindered his performances, but not anymore. He posted +0.89 strokes gained putting per round in his T-37 result in his last time out at the Memorial Tournament.
A Boston native, Bradley will have all the fans behind him at the Country Club and if his putter assumes the same position, he could give his home crowd a ton to cheer about.
Russell Henley +12500
The 33-year-old has remained inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings due to a steady dose of good but not great finishes. Henley comes into this year’s U.S. Open off two consecutive made cuts but has not contended for a title since mid-January when he blew a large lead at the Sony Open to Hideki Matsuyama.
Still, most will forget he was actually one of the 54-hole leaders in this championship last year at Torrey Pines as his ball-striking is capable of carrying him into contention.
While his iron play fell short at the PGA Championship, his short game experienced a small uptick and if he is able to marry the two, the Country Club will be his for the taking.
Last year’s U.S. Open marked Henley’s best start in a major championship since the 2017 Masters. He has the statistical profile to thrive in difficult conditions as he consistently hits both fairways and greens and given the recent improvement both on and around the green, he has a great chance to be in the mix come Sunday as he was last year.
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