2024 U.S. Open sleeper picks to watch: Who might break out at Pinehurst

Harry Higgs

Harry Higgs late last month at the Visit Knoxville Open.

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He won three weeks ago. 

And two weeks ago. 

And he survived last Monday, in a seven-for-two playoff for a berth in this week’s U.S. Open.

But here’s the very, very best part about Harry Higgs, should you be looking to invest ahead of the festivities at Pinehurst No. 2:

He’s currently around 350-1 to win. 

Interesting, right? 

Of course, the victories have come on the Korn Ferry Tour. And before that, he hadn’t won on any PGA Tour level since July of 2019, also on the Korn Ferry. His latest success may also just be a blip. 

Or it could be something more. At the least, Higgs’ momentum is unquestioned. 

“If I prepare as I know I should and I’m nice to myself,” Higgs said two weeks ago, “I can do some great things on this tour [the Korn Ferry] and I believe I can do some great things on the PGA Tour as well.” 

With that, let’s continue to dig. Below, members of our staff have each made a long-shot selection to assist you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook. It’s an enjoyable endeavor for us. Deploy it as you wish. 

On to our analysis.

2024 U.S. Open sleeper picks to watch

Ryan Barath

Sleeper pick: Zac Blair, +40,000. Blair has been playing pretty well recently and got into the field through sectionals. He’s not an overly long player, but Pinehurst will be playing firm and fast, and every player is going to miss a lot of greens, meaning his WAY above-average chipping and putting could help him around No. 2. 

Alan Bastable 

Sleeper pick: Lucas Glover, +15,000. Don’t let Glover’s U.S. Open record (11 MCs — and a  win! — in 15 starts) scare you off. He’s quietly having a steady year (just two MCs) and remains among the Tour’s best ball-strikers. Hitting greens at No. 2 is essential and that’s what Glover does best.  

Adam Christensen 

Sleeper pick: Aaron Rai, +15,000. The double gloves he uses for extra grip will be an advantage in the humid Southern climate, giving him a slight leg up on the competition. He’s also extremely accurate off the tee and above average in approaches and around the greens. If he can magically conjure up a good putting week, maybe he can pull off a miracle. 

James Colgan 

Sleeper pick: Peter Malnati, +40,000: The last time a major came to Pinehurst, Martin Kaymer won by putting EVERYTHING around those mightly turtleback greens. Malnati ranks near the top on Tour in nearly every putting statistic, and at his odds, I’ve seen worse values.

Nick Dimengo    

Sleeper pick: Keegan Bradley, +8,000. It’s Keegan time. Not only is he slowly rediscovering his form — coming off a T2 finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge in May — but something just feels right about picking Bradley to win his second career major right now. Maybe it’s still the “Full Swing” effect where I’ve got a soft spot for him, but, more than anything, I like the fact that he finished T4 here a decade ago. I’m laying down the money for him to win and enthusiastically looking forward to watching him go to work.

Connor Federico  

Sleeper pick: Phil Mickelson, +25,000. Lefty’s 54th birthday just so happens to fall on U.S. Open Sunday this year. If the oldest man to ever win a major is ever going to make another run at one, why not at Pinehurst, one of the most notorious short-game tests in all of golf? If Mickelson, after his past few embattled years, could finish off the career grand slam on his birthday and Father’s Day, it would go down as one of the greatest stories in the history of the sport.

Viktor Hovland and caddie Shay Knight at the Puerto Rico Open in February.
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By: Nick Piastowski

Jack Hirsh

Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala, +4500. Sahith Theegala may only have one PGA Tour win, but he’s playing like someone who should be among the favorites every week. He was right there at the PGA Championship until a Sunday 73 took him out of contention. He has five top-10s and all in the biggest events of the year. You say his wildness off the tee makes him a liability at a U.S. Open, I say his creativity makes him a perfect dark horse candidate.

Jessica Marksbury

Sleeper pick: Justin Rose, +8,000. Quite a nice price for a former U.S. Open champ, who also showed some fine form at the PGA Championship with a T6 finish.

Zephyr Melton 

Sleeper pick: Nick Dunlap, +30,000. Last summer, Dunlap had a little bit of success at Pinehurst as he won the North-South Amateur. This year, he returns to the Carolina Sand Hills a PGA Tour winner. Why not throw down a little cash on the long shot? 

Nick Piastowski 

Sleeper pick: Akshay Bhatia, +15,000. I’m a sucker for story lines. But Bhatia grew up near nearby Raleigh, where good friend Grayson Murray also grew up. I’d also like to use this space to toss out Harry Higgs, who’s hotter than anyone and is listed around 350-1. 

Josh Sens

Sleeper pick: Tiger Woods, +15,000. Of course, he’s not the force he once was. But he’s still Tiger Freakin’ Woods, listed on your betting board at 150-1.

Sean Zak 

Sleeper pick: Alex Noren, +8,000. People have been sleeping on Noren all year long. He may not win at Pinehurst, but he’d be a very juicy top-10 bet. 

Josh Berhow

Sleeper pick: Tom Hoge, +15,000. He hits a lot of greens and is one of the best putters on Tour from mid-range distance. I give him the slight edge over my backup sleeper pick, Corey Conners.

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.