We take a look at 10 players you should be looking out for this season.
10 Players To Look Out For In 2020
World Ranking: 97
Career Highlight: Winning 2018 U.S. Amateur, Low Amateur at 2019 Masters and US Open.
A lot has been written about Hovland of late and rightly so. After his showing as an amateur and several strong tournaments as a professional, everyone knows what an exceptional young talent he is and it seems ridiculous to peg him as one to watch. But 2020 should be the year he gets in the winner’s circle at long last and he has a good chance of making his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits.
Europe’s captain Padraig Harrington has already acknowledged his affinity for the Norwegian’s game and the pair even played two rounds together at the 2019 BMW PGA Championship. Back then Harrington spoke of his phenomenal play and complete lack of fear which could indeed stand him in good stead when confronted with the pressures of the Ryder Cup. Obviously he has to make sure he qualifies first…
2. Sungjae Im
World Ranking: 33
Nationality: South Korea
Career Highlight: Won Genesis Championship, Web.com Tour Rookie of the Year 2018, PGA Tour Rookie of the Year 2019
The depth in women’s golf in Korea is quite frankly ridiculously strong. At the time of writing there are 23 players in the top-50 women’s rankings whereas there are just four Koreans in the top 100 male players with the best placed amongst them being 21-year-old Sungjae Im. Regardless of the disparity, Im looks to be a superstar who could conquer the men’s game.
During his rookie season on the PGA Tour, he was a model of consistency and made an astounding 480 birdies in 122 rounds which put him number one in that statistic. It is surely only a matter of time before he gets his first PGA Tour win given that kind of skill.
3. Scottie Scheffler
World Ranking: 67
Career Highlight: Two time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour.
As far as meteoric rises go, Scottie Scheffler’s is arguably the hottest on the planet right now. At the start of 2019’s calendar year, he was ranked outside of the world’s top 1,500 players but two wins on the Korn Ferry Tour and an ability to make cuts week in, week out has seen him graft his way into the top-100.
Importantly, Scheffler has no significant weakness to his game. Sure he could get slightly more accurate off the tee and marginally better from the sand, but when he averages 313 yards off the tee and currently averages five birdies a round, then the strengths of his game most definitely outweigh those minor issues.
4. Akshay Bhatia
World Ranking: 2,061
Career Highlight: 2019 Walker Cup winner
Anyone currently working with George Gankas is sure to receive a lot of attention right now, just look at how big Matthew Wolff has become. Well another player working under his tutelage is American Akshay Bhatia. The 17-year-old recently turned professional after an amateur career that included a runners-up finish at the 2018 US Junior Amateur and two silver medals at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics. He also provided two points from three matches at the 2019 Walker Cup. He is definitely a player to keep an eye on just for the sheer joy of watching his swing.
World Ranking: 110
Career Highlight: Two-time winner on the European Tour
Already a two-time winner on the European Tour, Italian Guido Migliozzi turned professional in 2016 off +4. Things didn’t start well as he missed eight cuts in first 10 Alps Tour events but he quickly rectified that with three wins and found himself competing on the European Tour. Once again he struggled right away but out of nowhere he would win twice from seven events. Because of this, we fully expect him to burst into the world’s top-100 soon and no doubt he will have aspirations to make his Ryder Cup debut in Wisconsin. Given the depth of European golf at the moment he would have to play some outstanding golf to qualify. No doubt he has the talent to do so and it helps that he hits it a long way and makes a lot of putts.
6. Victor Perez
World Ranking: 51
Career Highlight: 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner
France has been screaming for a star golfer of late. Thomas Levet, Gregory Havret, Victor Dubuisson, Alex Levy – many have had good runs but not quite taken the next step up. Victor Perez could rectify this. The 27-year-old has clawed his way up the golfing ladder going from the Alps, to Challenge, to European Tours with consistency and solid showings. He does not appear to be afraid of winning either as he has had wins every year since 2016, including the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, a tournament with a quality field. Given it came in his first season with a European Tour card, more should be on the horizon.
7. Calum Hill
World Ranking: 119
Career Highlight: Won twice in 2019 on the Challenge Tour
Robert MacIntyre may be the darling of Scottish golf at the moment but one Scot who should not be overlooked is Calum Hill. He rarely misses a cut and looks to be comfortable on the big stage as shown by his performance at the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills. It was his first major at one of the toughest courses on the planet and yet after two rounds he had made the cut and looked good heading into the weekend. A third-round 81 curtailed any dreams of victory but that isn’t a score to be scoffed at given Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy had all strayed into the 80’s during the week. A three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, keep an eye out for Hill in 2020.
8. Matthew Jordan
World Ranking: 178
Career Highlight: Won once on Challenge Tour
With 12 golfers currently residing in the top-100, the state of golf in England cannot be ignored. Indeed that could become 13 in the not too distant future as Wirral-born Matthew Jordan continues to rise up the rankings. In 2019 he played 23 times; winning once, earning 7 top-10s and only missing one cut to boot. Given his father and grandfather were excellent golfers, this should come as no surprise but sport is littered with youngsters who have failed to live up to their relative’s careers.
Right now, this is not the case for Jordan who had a stellar amateur career to springboard him into the professional game. In 2017 he competed in the Walker Cup, and also won the St Andrews Links Trophy and Lytham Trophy. At one stage he also had a handicap of +7 so expect him to add to the strength and depth of top English golf this coming year.
9. Muni He
World Ranking: 373
Career Highlight: Won 2019 LPGA Q-Series Tournament to secure LPGA Tour card
With the power of social media we are able to see youngsters show their golfing talent in ways that previously were impossible. The problem with this is that all too often these social media stars do not deliver on their early promise and struggle to make it out on Tour. Well that definitely isn’t the case for Muni He. Right now she has 273,000 followers on Instagram and has just won the 2019 LPGA Q-Series Tournament by three-strokes which in turn secured her LPGA card for this season.
This will be her second season out on the LPGA – her best finishes in her rookie year were tied 27th and tied 35th. To many they seem uninspiring but not many golfers find success in their first seasons on Tour. It takes time to get accustom to Tour life and now she has been to the Q-Series twice, and completed her rookie LPGA year, she is primed to make the next big jump.
10. Atthaya Thitkul
World Ranking: 224
Career Highlight: Two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour.
She is 16-years-old and already a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, need we say more? Back in 2017 she won the Ladies European Thailand Championship at the age of 14, which made her the youngest golfer ever to win a professional event and even more impressive was that it came only eight years after she took up the game. In 2019 she won the same tournament which fully earmarked her as a superstar in the making. Currently the world’s top women’s amateur golfer, it is believed she will turn professional in 2020.
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