Nick Bonfield looks at five US Open outsiders who have the potential to do something special at Pebble Beach

US Open outsiders worth backing at Pebble Beach

The US Open is a Major Championship unlike any other, with the USGA setting up the host courses in a manner many deem to be bordering on unfair.

As such, the list of past winners is extremely strong. It’s the sports sternest examination and, as a result, you see far fewer players surging through the field with one low round. You need to be at the top of your game for four days to win the US Open. Naturally, the game’s top players are best prepared to do that.

Related: US Open betting tips 2019

However, it’s still a golf tournament, and that means there’s a degree of inherent unpredictability. No one expected Jack Fleck to outduel Ben Hogan in the 1955 US Open, or Lucas Glover to reign supreme at Bethpage Black in 2009.

So who might this year’s surprise packages be? Let’s take a look at some US Open outsiders who could feature Pebble Beach

Marc Leishman – 80/1

Marc Leishman remains one of the most underrated players in world golf and he’s more than capable of winning a Major – he came close at the 2013 Masters and missed out in a play-off for the 2015 Open. He’s a good wind player and he comes into the event off the back of a tie for 5th at the Memorial Tournament. He has five top-fives so far on the PGA Tour this season and has solid stats across the board, particularly when it comes to iron play. He looks a very generous price this week.

Kevin Na – 120/1

After a seven-year wait for a second PGA Tour title – the 2018 Military Tribute at The Greenbrier – another followed last month in the Charles Schwab Challenge. In Kevin Na terms, this constitutes prolific. The Korean-born American has enjoyed a good spell of late – three top tens, including a 5th and a win in his last six starts – and his record at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is very encouraging. He’s doesn’t play the event every year, yet he’s still registered two top 25s and two top 5s since 2012. Na is also relatively straight off the tee and one of the best putters in the game.

Jim Furyk – 125/1

Jim Furyk’s playing career understandably took a back seat during the course of his Ryder Cup captaincy, but he’s back playing some good golf again in 2019. He memorably finished second at the Players Championship, and while he’s not been setting the world on fire of late, two top 27s in his last three starts suggest his best may not be far away. Furyk is one of the grittiest competitors on tour – arguably the most important attribute at a US Open – and he leads the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy – probably the second. Other than driving distance – a weakness, admittedly – his stats are very good across the board. He also finished 16th in the last US Open at Pebble Beach.

Erik Van Rooyen – 175/1

I’ve been impressed with Van Rooyen of late, particularly some of his performances in Major Championships. He played some lovely golf in the 2018 Open Championship to be in and around the lead over the first couple of days, and his tie for 8th at the USPGA Championship also made people sit up and take notice. While he hasn’t won this season, his form has been very impressive – he has six top-20 finishes in his last nine starts, including two second places – and I don’t think he’s far away from taking the next step. His ball-striking is excellent and he’s used to windy conditions having grown up in South Africa. I’d definitely recommend an each-way bet.

Bernd Wiesberger – 200/1

I’m surprised at how long Wiesberger’s odds are. I know he’s had his injury issues of late, but he won the Made in Denmark a couple of weeks ago and got through to the final day in the Belgian Knockout the following week. In fact, four of his last five events have yielded top-23 finishes. He hasn’t played much golf in America of late and his Major record is far from impressive, but he’s a quality golfer and I have a feeling something good is just around the corner. 

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