Hole19's Players to Watch in 2018
As we look forward to a great year of golf, we got to thinking that it would be a sound idea to consider noteworthy 'Players to Watch in 2018', essentially focusing on a group of guys that we think could very easily make their mark over the next twelve months or so.
Following on from our relative success in 2017, we thought we'd get our crystal balls out again and give it another bash.
Anyways, without further ado, here's a few lower-profile golfers that we'll be keeping an eye on and expecting big things from in 2018.
Another member of the much heralded 'Class of 2011' which includes Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger, Ollie Sniederjans will be keen to match his fellow high school graduates by securing a first PGA Tour win during the 2017/18 season.
The former number one amateur golfer in the world certainly has the game to win on Tour, of that there's no doubt. Six top-10s in his PGA Tour career to date, including a second place at the Wyndham Championship and a third place at the RBC Heritage, all readily demonstrate progress towards a victory before too long.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth will get most of the headlines from the 'Class of 2011' for the foreseeable future, and rightly so. While that's undoubtedly the case, we expect Ollie to muscle in and write his own over the next 12 months.
He hits a mean stinger too!!
Given that Peter Uihlein was our pick for 2017/18 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, it pretty much follows that he would be made one of our 'Players to Watch in 2018'.
After five years on the European Tour, the 28-year-old managed to make it into the Web.Com finals last year and won the Nationwide Children's Hospital Open thus earning him a card for this season to pit his wits against the best on the PGA Tour.
Starting 2018 just outside the top-50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Uihlein will have a good chance of making it to Augusta National in April if he can perform well between then and now. We back him to do just that.
Catch the winner interview from the Nationwide Children's Hospital Open below:
Last year was one in which Austin Connelly undoubtedly made a pretty big impression. Not only did the 21-yeard-old power to a T-15 finish in his first major outing at Royal Birkdale, but a second place at the KLM Open in September and a few other finishes in the top ten seem to suggest that a first professional win is just around the corner.
Despite being of diminutive stature himself, his game is mighty. Having secured a European Tour card he will now be looking to make a statement this year and believes he will come away a stronger golfer if he can spend a few seasons on the European circuit.
We think Austin could easily have a successful 2018.
Catch a player profile on the young Canadian below:
After his return to the PGA Tour scene back in October, Bae remarked that it felt as though he were a rookie embarking upon his first start in professional golf all over again.
With two years of mandatory military service behind him, the 31-year-old will be looking to return his game to its pre-2015 level. We think he's got what it takes to do just that within the allocated 24-month special exemption window.
He's a two time PGA Tour winner and this year we could see him complete the hat-trick.
One of those two wins was at the 2014 Frys.com Open:
Having secured a first European Tour title at the British Masters back in October, last year was certainly a satisfying one for Paul Dunne.
There's plenty more to aim for in 2018 for the young Irishman, not least a place in Thomas Bjorn's Ryder Cup side when things get going in September. If he can tame his driver then we think he is in for a progressive move up the Official World Golf Rankings and could, once again, contend at a major championship - only this time as a professional golfer.
We think Dunne has all the ability to win again this year and tipped him to play an important role for the Europeans later this year.
You can relive his final round 61 highlights from last year's British Masters below:
Who will you be keeping an eye on this year? Which of our 'Players to Watch' do you think could have a good year? Let us know below.