U.S. Open: Top 10 sleepers for Erin Hills

Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Daniel Summerhays was a surprise contender at last year’s U.S. Open. Who will follow in his footsteps at Erin Hills this year?

The 117th U.S. Open field is bursting with outstanding players. It’s no surprise that the big names are getting most of the attention leading up to Erin Hills. Between Dustin Johnson’s title defense, Jon Rahm’s rapid rise and Phil Mickelson’s ongoing quest for the career Grand Slam, there’s no shortage of potential storylines as the big event nears.

That being said, there’s no reason that we can’t give some focus to the lesser players in the field. From Erik Compton in 2014 to Cameron Smith in 2015 to Daniel Summerhays just last year, there are always one or two players who manage to make an unexpected run at the title. In this feature, I’ll identify some names who look like they could be in for that kind of week this time around.

The title of “sleeper” is a pretty broad one — it can describe any under-the-radar contender, really — but I do have two hard-and-fast rules: no top 50 players, and no PGA TOUR winners from the current season. In addition, as the U.S. sectional qualifiers won’t be staged until next Monday, many potential sleepers are not yet eligible for this list. This feature is populated by exempt players and international qualifiers; we’ll do projections for the others next week.

Without further ado, let’s get to it. Here are 10 intriguing sleeper picks for the U.S. Open. Each player’s current position in the Official World Golf Ranking is listed next to his name.