Two Wake Forest alums are flying under the radar at the US Open in 2024

These two golfers have been knocking on the door at majors for a while.
Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris - The Masters
Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris - The Masters / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The US Open begins this week at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young, two players who have had high major finishes and went to college just an hour and a half up the road at Wake Forest, come into the tournament under the radar.

Two Wake Forest alums are flying under the radar at the US Open this week

The two 27-year-olds both played at Wake Forest for their collegiate golf. They also have remarkably similar profiles as players. They are seen as skilled ball strikers who hit a lot of greens but may struggle with the putter from time to time. Both men are currently outside of the top 100 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting.

However, both have also come incredibly close to being major champions. Zalatoris has a runner-up finish in the Masters (2021), US Open (2022), and PGA Championship (2022). The PGA Championship was his closest brush with major championship glory as he lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas. In the 2022 US Open, he had a putt that would have forced a playoff on the 72nd hole but he missed it.

Cameron Young's closest brush came in the 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews. Young eagled the 72nd hole to get a solo second-place finish to Cameron Smith. He was also a contender in the 2022 PGA Championship that Thomas won.

The most surprising thing is that there is only one PGA Tour victory between the two of them. Zalatoris won the FedEx St. Jude Championship in 2022 for his lone PGA Tour victory although he has had other close calls. Plus, Zalatoris has had to work hard to get his body right after back surgery took away basically his entire 2023 season.

Neither player has had top finishes as of late. Both of them finished T9 at the Masters earlier this year, but since then neither one of them has a top 25 finish.

This would suggest to many that they are not ready to contend at this week's championship. However, we know that both men are great ball strikers. Typically, tough tests like the US Open identify who the best ball strikers are. The main question is whether they can putt well enough to contend.

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Perhaps being so close to where they played their collegiate golf will bring something out of them this week. They may not be favorites for the championship, but both Zalatoris and Young are two players who could fly under the radar and wind up contending at Pinehurst this week.