Around this time last year,I formulated an entry vocalizing five golfers who had not yet won professionally who I thought were up and comers and potential stars in the making. The list included five names: Emilano Grillo, Luke Guthrie, Tommy Fleetwood, Kevin Chappell, and Kelly Kraft. Out of the aforementioned list, only Englishman sir Tommy Fleetwood hasn't met my expectations and am willing to discard him from any future prominence professionally. Guthrie has been a productive commodity with a plethora of above average finishes but hasn't quite reached the winner's circle. Chappell enjoyed a tremendous 2016 Players Championship only falling behind world number one Jason Day and finished the 2015 campaign with three consecutive top twenty five finishes. Grillo has had a very disappointing start to this season but very much unlike Fleetwood I foresee the Argentinian turning the corner when accounting for his length off the tee and his Ballesteros-esque short game prowess. Finally with Kraft, the recent Web.com tour graduate has hovered around the cut line most of the events which I fully realize isn't a clear path when seeking out future stardom but completely coincidentally, he's enjoying a career week at the RBC Canadian Open. If a couple breaks go his way in Oakville,Ontario then my list could be welcoming it's first winner shortly. Similarly to last year,I will list my five chosen ones in alphabetical order and entailing in a brief synopsis for each player. I can only hope you'll thoroughly enjoy this entry!
Bronson Burgoon(06/02/1987) Arguably was already given a edge due to possessing one of the tour's great names, the great Bronson Burgoon, or soon to be great Burgoon has yet to crack a top ten finish but it's the tools he carries in his repertoire leave me especially intrigued. When scouring Burgoon's statistical line for 2016, I'm noticing an individual who's posted consistent, more specifically average results but his clear strength is his short iron game. Those reading this will surmise that I'm grasping at straws trying to build up the potential of Burgoon, but keep the following in mind. To win on the PGA Tour, length off the tee which isn't particularly Bronson's strong suit doesn't hurt but watching a weekly event, you'll notice a good portion of the field who are absolute bombers off the field but falter around the greens. A course such as Torrey Pines South the current venue used for the Farmers Insurance Open likely won't lay claim to Bronson's first victory as at 7,698 yards it doesn't necessarily play into a professional who only averages 282 yards off the tee but at courses that require accuracy and precision he'll enter the event with a sizeable advantage because of his sharp shooting from one hundred and fifty yards in. He came close at the Honda Classic earlier in the spring(relatively close) and it's at a layout that favours accuracy off the tee dissuading the likes of Dustin Johnson or Big Break alum Tony Finau from firing their tee shots a country mile with no real repercussions. Burgoon is a poor man's Jordan Spieth/Zach Johnson, someone that will never overpower a golf course and has to strategically plot his way around to succeed. I hope and firmly believe that we'll see Bronson as a champion shortly
Si Woo Kim(06/28/1995) For those that have the misfortune of listening to me overconfidently boast about particular prognostications, these lucky few will not be surprised in the least with the inclusion of Si Woo Kim on this list. He's someone that I like to think, even though I'm not naive enough to realize I didn't, that I discovered on tour and have no qualms of proclaiming this twenty one year old the next prodigy. He came awfully, awfully close to prevailing at last week's Barbasol Championship, and a win would've eliminated his name from this list but as it stands, it won't be long until he's hoisting a trophy. Aside from any statistical advantage Si is atop of the leaderboard, it's his poise and confidence in high pressure situations at the tender age of twenty one that has me drawing comparisons to a Rory McIlroy type of arch. Whether it's a case of a player not knowing what he's on the verge of accomplishing or what, if watching last week's final round in Alabama you could easily attest to the fact that he at least on the exterior asserted no fear, a,championship type quality that all great players showcase. Even though I expect this particular summarization to be one big 'I told ya so moment', I'll continue on the prognostication trail by making the bold prediction that by this time next year, leading up to the PGA Championship he'll have already won two events on tour along with an additional major. Hideki Matsuyama, Ryo Ishikawa are two Asian players who've displayed relevance success on the World stage but both will quickly have the best Asian born players tag erased, as Si Woo Kim will have a equal impact to that Se Ri Pak did on the ladies professional tour. The Asians eventually invaded and begun to dominate the LPGA, the question I must pose is how much longer until we see a parallel impact on the men's tour. If my forecasting skills are valid, not much longer at all!
Zander Lombard(01/18/91995) Easily the most obscure name I've included on this list, but his potential merits such. The South African 'phenom' will look to position himself as the next great South African golfer taking the torch from Ernie Els and Retief Goosen and will one day join Louie Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, the only question that remains is if he'll take up residence on the PGA Tour or continue plotting away on the European Tour. In the last month and a half, his results have began to flourish and it's only a matter of time until he engages in his breakthrough moment. So most will be asking, what kind of golfer is Zander Lombard? Well, as full disclosure I was considering a few golfers to make this list of five and Zander just made the cut for this entry and I must admit I've seen very little of him, but it's what I have seen gives me reason for extreme optimism. I was up early one morning(way too early I may add) and I turned on my television and started viewing the second round of the BMW International Open. This round for whatever reason they were featuring a high quantity of Zander's work and I saw a few things that I will soon point out. First, his abilities off the tee remind myself of one Jason Dufner. Not the tallest guy, listed at 5'11, but it's his techniques that bring out the comparisons to the Auburn alum Dufner. Turning professional as a teenager is a risky proposition, a trait that is becoming far too frequent but this quick notorious results from the likes of Jordan Spieth, it's not exactly swaying away the youngens from making the plunge. To cite a further example getting away from my early Friday morning BMW viewing of Zander was at the Open Championship at Troon. Now, I could write an entire article pertaining to my displeasure regarding Troon's difficulty(it wasn't major quality) but regarding the play of young Lombard, he made the cut, his first made cut in a major leading me to prescribe the opinion that Zander is the best figure to have Lombard in his surname since the days of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi.With a Dufner swing, a 2016 stellar season what's not to like going forward?
Jamie Lovemark(01/23/1988) Admittedly Lovemark came close to cracking this esteemed list a year ago, so no chance he was missing out on back to back years. Lovemark is everything that Lombard and Burgoon are not, an incredibly long hitter. While I may enjoy the aspects of a grinder's game moreso than I gravitate to a long hitter, talent is talent and can't be overlooked. Throughout the golf media, the terminology of best player to never win a major is unquestionably overused, but maybe it's time to consider Jamie as the"best player to never win a PGA Tour Event". In his relatively infant PGA Tour career, he's already accumulated six career top ten finishes, and conceivably one can only knock on the door often without getting tired of doing so, unless you're Sheldon Cooper. I already hinted at his incredibly long driving accolades, he averages a whopping three hundred and four yards off the tee which ranks fifth on tour but it's the putting that needs vast improvement for him to elevate to that next level. An alarming statistic is that he sits 172nd in three put avoidance the rule of thumb is to win any tournament, even one three put can be observed as one too many in the attempt to reign victorious on the tour. Lovemark has been blessed with too many physical gifts not to finally conquer an event, expect that to come in 2016.
Trey Mullinax(06/29/1992) As a fan of most SEC programs, the affinity I have for this University of Alabama alumni is unquantifiable. In lieu of his eighth place ranking on the Web.com tour, he's all but played his way onto the PGA Tour for the 2016-2017 campaign. The strengths of his game are plentiful, versatility being a strong component but the caviot is how do you measure performance on a tour that as a general statement select courses that don't meet the challenge requirement that the top show would offer. When I analyze a soon to be Web.com tour graduate, some features I look for is will the skills that made him dominant translate to all platforms. In the case of Mullinax, I believe it does as the length comes naturally(312 yard average) but more importantly and apologies if I'm beating a dead horse but the clutch putting accolades that he possesses will be paramount if he ever proves my prophecy correct and wins at that next level. The last point I wanted to make about Trey and I think it's a good one is that the quality of competition he faced while competing in the SEC could be construed as advantageous as well. The University of Florida and Auburn historically recruit exceptionally well so given the luxury of playing against future PGA Tour pros such as Trey did will only serve as a confidence boost when he suits up with the best next season. There's always that one Web.com graduate who shows immediate dividends, reminiscing back to the early triumphs that fellow graduates Zach Johnson and Chad Campbell displayed and if I'm correct about my premonition, Mullinax will be a prime winning candidate very shortly.