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US Open Field 2012: Unknowns Poised to Win Their First Major

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12:  Sergio Garcia of Spain watches a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Sam QuinnContributor IIIJune 13, 2012

The U.S Open is among golf's more unpredictable tournaments. In recent years, several sleepers, such as Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover and Geoff Ogilvy, have seemingly come out of nowhere to win their first major championship at the U.S Open. 

If Tiger Woods hadn't made his incredible comeback on one leg in 2008 against Rocco Mediate, you'd have to go back all the way to 2004 to find a second-time winner (Retief Goosen).

This year may be no different, as there are several sleepers who could leave the U.S Open with their first major championship. 

When talking about winning a first major, Sergio Garcia has to come up. He's probably the best golfer in the world without one, and until he gets it, he's going to hold that label. 

He has finished in the top four at every major, including a third-place finish in the U.S Open in 2005. He played very well late last year and seems to be rounding in to form at exactly the right time. He's peaking, and he should give a solid performance this week. 

But Garcia has been around forever, and it's never fun to call him your major sleeper. 

Jason Dufner is currently sitting at 25/1 odds and is playing some of the best golf of his life. He's finished in the top 10 in four of his last seven tournaments. He's struggled in majors in the past, but finished second at the 2011 PGA championship and appears to be ready to take the next step as a major champion. 

Dufner's strength is his driving. It's a pretty simple concept: You're always going to have an advantage when you're closer to the green than everyone else. If his drives are accurate, he'll be competing deep into the weekend. 

Another guy to keep an eye on is Peter Hanson. He came his closest to victory last year when he finished seventh, but he has always been in the hunt, with three consecutive top-20 finishes. Like Dufner, he's playing very well right now, with five top-five finishes this year. 

Hanson is a long shot like the others because he's never actually won a major, but he has improved every year at the U.S Open since 2009. He may not win, but if he continues to improve, he should at least be in the hunt. 

Keep an eye out for these three and other sleepers. The U.S Open tends to bring out the best in a few underdogs every year. Tiger Woods isn't dominant anymore, and there is no clear cut favorite, so expect a wild few days of golf this week at the Olympic Club. 

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