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10 players ready to break through on the PGA Tour

Winning on the PGA Tour is a challenge. The competition is stiff and the opportunities slim, so getting into the winner’s circle is a huge accomplishment. But as we turn the calendar to 2022, here are 10 players who seem close to securing that first life-changing victory.

Matt Fitzpatrick

The Englishman is already an elite player. He’s ranked 24th in the world and has won seven times on the DP World Tour. Now it’s just a matter of time before that first win comes in the U.S.

He had five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour while splitting time between the U.S. and Europe, including at the Players Championship and Riviera.

Mito Pereira

Pereira knows how to score. After a three-win promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour last summer, he immediately posted two top-five finishes on the PGA Tour, then lost out in a playoff for the bronze medal at the Olympics.

It won’t take him long to find the winner’s circle.

Will Zalatoris

While leading the Korn Ferry Tour standings in 2020, Zalatoris got a few chances to play in PGA Tour events. He never went back to the Korn Ferry.

Nobody played the majors better than Zalatoris, who was second in the Masters, sixth in the U.S. Open and eighth in the PGA Championship. A win is inevitable.

Scottie Scheffler

Scheffler has been ticking off bucket list items that usually come after winning on the PGA Tour, like playing on the Ryder Cup team, reaching No. 12 in the world rankings and posting eight top-10 finishes last year.

The fact he hasn’t won is starting to get concerning, however.

Maverick McNealy

The Las Vegas resident was the top amateur in the world when he was playing at Stanford. As a pro, he’s gotten better each season and flirted with victories last year at Pebble Beach and Napa.

His arrow is only pointed up. A win is not far off.

Harold Varner III

Varner has become a PGA Tour version of an ATM machine, cashing a lot of checks on tour, including making more than $2 million last season. What he hasn’t been is a closer when he gets in contention.

Now in his seventh full season on tour, it’s time to put up or shut up.

Sepp Stratka

Stratka is a streaky player who will miss a bunch of cuts in a row, then post a top-five finish. He’s the kind of player who can get hot for 72 holes at any given time, and those are the guys that tend to break through to get wins.

He showed he has talent, leading the Olympic competition the first two rounds in Tokyo.

Brandon Hagy

Another streaky player, Hagy missed 15 cuts last season but also had three top-six finishes.

He’s flirted with enough leaderboards over the past three years that it’s time to close one out and join fellow Cal Bears Max Homa and Collin Morikawa as a PGA Tour winner.

Stephen Jaeger

Jaeger was the top player on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, so now he needs to show he can play at the next level.

Six wins on the Korn Ferry Tour are nice, but he needs to translate that to the big tour, something he failed miserably at his first time around in 2018.

David Lipsky

He’s won in Europe. He’s won in Asia. He won on the Korn Ferry Tour. Of all the Korn Ferry graduates to join the tour this year, the Las Vegas resident has the most well-rounded game.

His issue will be getting enough opportunities in 2022 after not playing well during the fall season and falling down the priority list.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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