2022 U.S. Open: 10 Best Bets to Win First Major Title

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay Win 2022 Zurich Classic
Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay celebrate after winning the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 24, 2022 in Avondale, New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Sarah Stier via Getty Images)

Five of the past six U.S. Open winners, including defending champion Jon Rahm, had not previously won a major championship.

With varying levels of uncertainty surrounding a number of the game’s best players, The Country Club could very well become the site of the next first-time major winner.

Here’s our list of the top majorless notables:

1. Will Zalatoris

Will Zalatoris
Will Zalatoris plays a shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills on May 22, 2022 in Tulsa, OK. (Photo by David Cannon via Getty Images)

Could this guy get any closer to his first win? He was runner-up to Justin Thomas last month at the PGA Championship, the second time this season he has lost in a playoff. That performance at Southern Hills was just his sixth major start as a professional, but already his fifth top-10 in a major… We said it repeatedly with Scottie Scheffler, and we’re saying it now with Will the Thrill: it’s happening soon… The 25-year-old possesses the kind of elite precision needed for a U.S. Open currently ranking first on Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, second in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and sixth in greens in regulation.

Odds: 22-1
OWGR Rank: 14th
PGWW Rank: 2nd
Best U.S. Open: 1st (2011)
Last Six: 1, 18, 8, 5, 2, MC

2. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele plays a shot from the 14th tee during the third round of the 2022 PGA Championship at the Southern Hills on May 21, 2022 in Tulsa, OK. (Photo by Montana Pritchard / PGA of America via Getty Images)

Way overdue for his first major championship win, it would make perfect sense to predict it happening this week… In five U.S. Open starts, Schauffele has five finishes of T7 or better. The four-time Tour winner has underwhelmed a bit this season, which was very much not expected after winning a gold medal at The Olympics in Tokyo last summer, but now he comes into the season’s third major off a string of four consecutive top-20s, possibly catalyzed by his win while paired with Patrick Cantlay at the Zurich Classic in late April… The world No. 12 currently ranks seventh on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green and boasts a top-3 scoring average in both the third and fourth rounds.

Odds: 22-1
OWGR Rank: 12th
PGWW Rank: 12th
Best U.S. Open: 3rd (2019)
Last Six: 18, 13, 5, MC, 35, 12

3. Sam Burns

Sam Burns Wins 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge
Sam Burns reacts after putting to win the Charles Schwab Challenge in a playoff at Colonial CC on May 29, 2022 in Fort Worth, TX. (Photo by Tom Pennington via Getty Images)

Burns’ fourth full-time season on Tour has been a resounding success. He opened with a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship, he won the Valspar Championship, and just a few weeks ago, he outdueled world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler to take the Charles Schwab Challenge. In all, it is eight top-10s in 2022 for the man currently sitting second on Tour in points… Now, the 25-year-old just needs to prove himself in the majors. He has not been terribly relevant in any of his eight major starts so far, but a T20 at the PGA Championship was encouraging and shows that he is trending in the right direction… He currently ranks fourth on Tour in strokes gained: total.

Odds: 22-1
OWGR Rank: 9th
PGWW Rank: 8th
Best U.S. Open: 41st (2018)
Last Six: 4, 1, 20, MC, MC, 1

4. Matt Fitzpatrick

Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick plays his shot from the 13th tee during the final round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills CC on May 22, 2022 in Tulsa, OK. (Photo by Andrew Redington via Getty Images)

The Englishman has been strong in the majors so far, chasing a T14 at The Masters with a T5 at the PGA Championship… For the season, the Northwestern product has finished in the top 10 of an impressive fifty-percent of his starts (7/14), and many would be surprised to know that he has the Tour’s fourth best scoring average and is second in strokes gained: total… Now, he just needs to learn to close tournaments. Or at least on U.S. soil; on the European Tour, he has landed in the winner’s circle seven times – with his most recent victory coming last fall at iconic Valderama.

Odds: 25-1
OWGR Rank: 18th
PGWW Rank: 13th
Best U.S. Open: 9th (2016)
Last Six: 10, MC, 5, 2, MC, 14

5. Tony Finau

Tony Finau Wins The 2021 Northern Trust
Tony Finau plays his shot from the 5th tee during the final round of THE NORTHERN TRUST at Liberty National Golf Club on Aug 23, 2021 in Jersey City, NJ. (Photo by Sarah Stier via Getty Images)

When Finau won THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first leg of the FedExCup playoffs in August, which broke an absurdly long streak of top-10s without a victory, fans wondered if the flood gates would open and the 32-year-old would find himself in the winner’s circle much more often. That has not been in the case in the 2022 season, who not only has not won again, but suffered through an awful slump from October through April… Fortunately, things are now suddenly trending back in a positive direction for Finau. After a T2 at the Mexico Open at Vidanta at the beginning of May, he had two so-so finishes before a T4-2 streak in his last two starts, the latter coming after a 62-64 weekend in Canada. That should give him considerable momentum heading into the U.S. Open where he has a mixed bag, with three missed cuts and three top-15s in six tries.

Odds: 33-1
OWGR Rank: 15th
PGWW Rank: 14th
Best U.S. Open: 5th (2018)
Last Six: 2, 4, 30, 41, 2, 35

6. Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Cantlay lines up a putt on the 9th green during the second round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 22, 2022 in Avondale, LA. (Photo by Chris Graythen via Getty Images)

Sitting fourth in the OWGR, Cantlay is the highest-ranked golfer in the world without a major victory. The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year arrives at Brookline determined and in excellent form with a win while teamed up with Xander Schauffele at the Zurich Classic among three top-3 finishes in his last four starts… Cantlay was T15 a year ago at Torrey Pines, and there is no obvious reason why he has not been more successful in the majors… There is a reason they call him Patty Ice: no moment appears to be too big for him.

Odds: 25-1
OWGR Rank: 4th
PGWW Rank: 6th
Best U.S. Open: 15th (2021)
Last Six: 3, MC, 2, 39, 26, MC

7. Cameron Smith

PGA Tour's Cameron Smith 2022 U.S. Open
PGA Tour’s Cameron Smith plays his shot from the 3rd tee during a practice round prior to the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club on June 13, 2022 in Brookline, Mass. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins via Getty Images)

Nobody on Tour can suddenly explode into contention out of nowhere than the Aussie, who leads the Tour in birdie average and finished a record 34-under-par in his January victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions… While he has yet to break through in a major, he won March’s THE PLAYERS Championship, which is the next best thing. Unfortunately, there are also few golfers who can play their way out of a tournament than Smith, and that 76 or 77 round always seems to be looming with him… He was T4 in his 2015 U.S. Open debut, although that is looking like an outlier with his last five starts in the event all being poor… It helps that he boasts one of the world’s best short games, which is always a great help on a difficult track.

Odds: 16-1
OWGR Rank: 6th
PGWW Rank: 4th
Best U.S. Open: 4th (2015)
Last Six: 48, 13, 13, MC, 3, 1

8. Viktor Hovland

Viktor Hovland
Viktor Hovland plays a shot on the 4th hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC on June 2, 2022 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)

The 24-year-old from Norway is not in his best form, but even without a top 20 in more than three months, he still stands 17th in points on the Tour… To say he feels comfortable playing the U.S. Open is an understatement: in 2019 he finished T12 as an amateur, breaking one of Jack Nicklaus’ records in the process, and following that up with a T13 the following year as a professional… We figure he is really itching to get back out and give it a try, as he was forced to withdraw from last year’s edition after a freak sand incident led to an eye problem that he is long recovered from. He will emerge from his slump, it’s just a matter of when.

Odds: 28-1
OWGR Rank: 8th
PGWW Rank: 15th
Best U.S. Open: 12th (2019)
Last Six: 51, 21, 41, 27, 18, 33

9. Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel Wins the 2022 Memorial at Muirfield Village
Billy Horschel plays his shot from the 5th tee during the final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC on June 05, 2022 in Dublin, OH. (Photo by Andy Lyons via Getty Images)

The Florida native enters Boston as the world No. 11, his highest career position, and comes off a big win at the Memorial Tournament… He’s admittedly struggled in the majors, but he’s too good for that to continue and seems due for a major breakout… He is very streaky, even against mediocre fields, so that victory at Jack’s place could be a huge indicator… As a side note: Horschel is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. Could the Boston vibe help?… In his two major starts this season he’s made the cut but finished way off the pace (43 Masters, 68 PGA)… Owns one top-10 finish in the U.S. Open (2013).

Odds: 50-1
OWGR Rank: 11th
PGWW Rank: 16th
Best U.S. Open: 4th (2013)
Last Six: 1, MC, 68, 21, 43, 9

10. Sungjae Im

Sungjae Im Wins 2021 Shriners Open
Sungjae Im hits a shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin on Oct 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Alex Goodlett via Getty Images)

The young Korean had to sit the PGA Championship after testing positive for COVID, which was really a shame because Im has been making his mark in the majors early in his career, and finished T8 at The Masters in April. He arrives at Brookline in excellent form, notching five straight finishes of T21 or better, including a T10 at The Memorial. His tee-to-green game has been excellent in his fourth Tour season, which is well illustrated by the fact that he has missed the cut in just two of 18 starts.

Odds: 40-1
OWGR Rank: 21st
PGWW Rank: 25th
Best U.S. Open: 35th (2021)
Last Six: 10, 15, 21, 8, 35, 55


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