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Golf expert's U.S. Open sleeper pick: Back Collin Morikawa for major success at Pinehurst

Golf expert's U.S. Open sleeper pick: Back Collin Morikawa for major success at Pinehurst

The 156-player field for the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina is set, with world number one Scottie Scheffler entering as the betting favorite. However, golf expert and analyst Sia Nejad believes another player has a strong chance of lifting the trophy - Collin Morikawa.


Morikawa, currently ranked 12th in the world, will be aiming to add a third major title to his resume after victories at the 2020 PGA Championship and 2021 Open Championship. Despite being priced at +1600 in the betting odds, Nejad believes the 27-year-old American has all the tools to succeed at Pinehurst.


Collin Morikawa / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA


"Collin Morikawa has both the ball-striking ability and short game needed to compete at the highest level," Nejad told SportsLine. "His iron play and wedge game are truly elite. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him in contention come Sunday evening."


Morikawa showed promising form ahead of the season's third major, finishing runner-up to Scheffler at last week's Memorial Tournament. He gained over 13 strokes total on the field and was third in scrambling percentage during the event.


While Nejad thinks Morikawa provides great value at 16/1, he has advised bettors to avoid recent U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm at 25/1. Rahm was forced to withdraw from an event last week due to a foot injury and has played just 28 competitive rounds this year.


As well as backing Morikawa, Nejad is also high on several other potential sleepers who could pull off an upset. He named one player priced at over 45/1 who "has the acumen and short game to surprise people" if finding his best form.


To get Nejad's full list of picks, including his best bets, outright winners, and players to fade, check out his detailed analysis exclusively at SportsLine ahead of Thursday's opening round at Pinehurst. It promises to be another action-packed week at one of golf's true test of champions.


Read more: Padraig Harrington Credits Sacrificing Burgers for Success on the Golf Course


Why is Viktor Hovland considered a Dark Horse this year?



Viktor Hovland has as good a chance as anyone out there to win it all this year. The kid's been playing some really solid golf lately. Just look at his results over the last few months - he cracked the top 5 in one event and averaged under par scoring in three of his last five tournaments.


That kind of consistent, high-level play is exactly what you need heading into a major. But more than just his recent form, I'm really impressed with how well-rounded his entire game seems to be. He can bomb it off the tee when he needs to, but also places it tight when trying to scramble for pars. And his irons! Man, the kid can strip it down the middle with the best of 'em.


However, Hovland's ability to modify his game for each course is what truly grabs my attention. The Opens require versatility, and he consistently demonstrates his ability to grind out a score regardless of setup. I mean, averaging just 1-over in his last five Opens speaks volumes.


When you combine all that with how well he's taking care of business statistically, making cuts week after week, and even coming close to winning majors before, it's easy to see why the experts are high on his chances. Sure, he's still chasing that first big W, but this kid has all the tools and talent to get it done. As long as he keeps playing the way he has been, don't be surprised to see Hovland's name at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.



2024 U.S. Open odds, field


Scottie Scheffler +300

Rory McIlroy +1000

Xander Schauffele +1200

Collin Morikawa +1600

Viktor Hovland +1800

Bryson DeChambeau +1800

Brooks Koepka +2200

Ludvig Aberg +2200

Jon Rahm +2500

Tommy Fleetwood +3500

Justin Thomas +3500

Cameron Smith +4000

Patrick Cantlay +4000

Max Homa +4500

Tyrrell Hatton +5000

Matt Fitzpatrick +5000

Hideki Matsuyama +5000

Tom Kim +5500

Shane Lowry +5500

Jordan Spieth +5500

Wyndham Clark +6000

Tony Finau +6000

Sahith Theegala +6000

Sam Burns +6500

Corey Conners +6500

Will Zalatoris +6500

Min Woo Lee +7000

Keegan Bradley +7000

Sepp Straka +8000

Russell Henley +8000

Jason Day +8000

Dustin Johnson +8000

Cameron Young +8000

Byeong Hun An +8000

Sungjae Im +9000

Si Woo Kim +9000

Justin Rose +9000

Robert MacIntyre +9000

Denny McCarthy +10000

Dean Burmester +10000

Adam Scott +10000

Sergio Garcia +13000

Alex Noren +13000

Brian Harman +13000

Billy Horschel +15000

Harris English +15000

Rickie Fowler +15000

Christiaan Bezuidenhout +15000

Thomas Detry +18000

Tom Hoge +18000

Ryan Fox +18000

Kurt Kitayama +18000

Adam Hadwin +18000

Akshay Bhatia +18000

Aaron Rai +20000

Stephan Jaeger +20000

Erik Van Rooyen +20000

Tiger Woods +25000

Mackenzie Hughes +25000

J.T. Poston +25000

Victor Perez +25000

Nicolai Hojgaard +25000

Lucas Glover +25000

Adrian Meronk +25000

Taylor Moore +30000

Seamus Power +30000

Eric Cole +30000

Daniel Berger +30000

Chris Kirk +30000

Cam Davis +30000

Tom McKibbin +30000

Taylor Pendrith +30000

Richard Mansell +30000

Nick Dunlap +30000

Martin Kaymer +30000

Beau Hossler +30000

Phil Mickelson +35000

Adam Schenk +35000

Austin Eckroat +35000

Webb Simpson +35000

Matthieu Pavon +35000

Mark Hubbard +35000

Jake Knapp +35000

Harry Higgs +35000

Davis Thompson +35000

Brendon Todd +40000

Nick Taylor +40000

Gary Woodland +40000

Emiliano Grillo +40000

S.H. Kim +40000

Matteo Manassero +40000

David Puig +40000

Chesson Hadley +40000

Adam Svensson +40000

Mac Meissner +40000

Greyson Sigg +40000

Matt Kuchar +50000

Tim Widing +50000

Justin Lower +50000

Ryo Ishikawa +60000

Peter Malnati +60000

Takumi Kanaya +80000

Rikuya Hoshino +80000

Max Greyserman +80000

Frankie Capan III +80000

Ben Kohles +80000

Zac Blair +100000

Sam Bennett +100000

Gordon Sargent +100000

Brian Campbell +100000

Benjamin James +100000

Maxwell Moldovan +100000

Brendan Valdes +100000

Sam Bairstow +150000

Rico Hoey +150000

Isaiah Salinda +150000

Grant Forrest +150000

Luke Clanton +150000

Eugenio Chacarra +150000

Brandon Wu +150000

Francesco Molinari +150000

Nico Echavarria +200000

Jason Scrivener +200000

Carter Jenkins +200000

Willie Mack III +250000

Taisei Shimizu +250000

Stewart Hagestad +250000

Santiago De la Fuente +250000

Robert Rock +250000

Riki Kawamoto +250000

Omar Morales +250000

Neal Shipley +250000

Logan McAllister +250000

Jim Herman +250000

Frederik Kjettrup +250000

Christopher Petefish +250000

Chris Naegel +250000

Casey Jarvis +250000

Brandon Robinson Thompson +250000

Ashton McCulloch +250000

Andrew Svoboda +250000

Joey Vrzich +250000

Hiroshi Tai +250000

Bryan Kim +250000

Carson Schaake +250000

Wells Williams +250000

Colin Prater +250000

Jackson Buchanan +250000

Gunnar Broin +250000

Michael McGowan +250000

Parker Bell +250000

Edoardo Molinari +250000

Otto Black +250000

Sung Kang +500000

John Chin +500000

Charles Reiter +500000






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Sarah has a strong background in sports journalism, with a degree in journalism from a top university in the US. She has covered men's professional golf for over 10 years, attending major tournaments around the world and building an extensive network within the men's golf community. Her writing is known for its in-depth analysis, insider access, and ability to bring the drama and excitement of professional golf to life for readers.

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