Patrick Cantlay earned his maiden victory on the Web.com Tour last week in Colombia. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
This week’s Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com boasts a strong field containing a mix of proven winners and young, up-and-coming players. Below is a glance at six players, aged 23 and younger, to keep an eye on this week at Trunp International.
Luke Guthrie (23) -- The Illinois alum and 2012 Web.com Tour graduate has racked up five top-30 finishes in his first seven starts this season. Last week at The Honda Classic, he finished alone in third place for the best finish of his young TOUR career.
Peter Uihlein (23) -- A former Oklahoma State standout and U.S. Amateur champion, Uihlein has posted four consecutive top-25 finishes on the European Tour and currently ranks 50th on its Order of Merit. Uihlein made 3 of 5 cuts in 2011 as an amateur playing on the PGA TOUR but was 0-for-2 last year after turning pro.
Ryo Ishikawa (21) -- In 49 events on TOUR, the young Japanese star has made less than half (24) of his cuts. One of those, however, was last year in Puerto Rico where he notched a career-best runner-up finish. Currenlty 188th in the FedExCup standings.
Patrick Cantlay (20) -- The Web.com Tour’s money leader, Cantlay earned his first professional victory last week at the Colombia Championship. He burst onto the scene in 2011 when, as an amateur, he carded a second-round 60 for the 36-hole lead at the PGA TOUR’s Travelers Championship.
Jordan Spieth (19) -- After a very successful amateur career that includes an NCAA team title at Texas, a No. 1 amateur ranking and low amateur honors at the 2012 U.S. Open, Spieth turned pro in December. He tied for 22nd at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am.
Si Woo Kim (17) -- Carded a closing 68 to earn his TOUR card with one shot to spare in the final round of q-school last year but cannot become a member until his 18th birthday in June. Missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am in his first-ever start on the PGA TOUR.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The day began with Rory McIlroy withdrawing due to pain in his wisdom tooth and ended with Luke Guthrie atop the leaderboard with two rounds to play in The Honda Classic.
Guthrie, a rookie on the PGA TOUR, shot 63 to get to 9 under and one shot clear of Michael Thompson.
Boo Weekley and Graham DeLaet are another shot back after shooting 67 and 68, respectively.
For McIlroy, it marks the third time this season he's failed to make it to the weekend after missing the cut in Abu Dhabi and failing to advance out of the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
One of McIlroy's closest friends, Graeme McDowell will be playing this weekend.
McDowell shot 68 Friday and is one of six players at 6 under, along with Lee Westwood and Geoff Ogilvy.
Westwood, who moved to the area in the offseason, has finished in the top 10 here in two of the last three years.
Overnight leader Camilo Villegas.
The 2010 winner of this event, Villegas shot 77 -- a difference of 13 strokes from his opening round -- to miss the cut by a shot.
Other notables heading home early include Henrik Stenson, John Merrick, Ryo Ishikawa, David Duval and Paul Casey.
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Luke Guthrie carded the best round of his PGA TOUR career on Friday, and it gave him the lead at The Honda Classic.
Guthrie, 23, shot a 7-under 63 in the morning wave to reach 9 under for the week, good for a one-shot lead over Michael Thompson at PGA National.
Guthrie's previous best was a 64 in the final round of the 2012 John Deere Classic and in this year's third round of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
After a lesson with University of Illinois men's golf coach Mike Small, his coach in college, Guthrie felt that his game was coming around. He even told Small in a conversation on Thursday night that he thought he was on the verge of something special.
"He asked me how I was going and I said this is the best offense I've had on a golf course in awhile," Guthrie said. "I was really hitting good, crisp shots, firing at flags, and I felt like I could have shot 5 under yesterday pretty quickly. I was pretty excited to get back out here and kept it rolling."
He certainly kept it rolling, with birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 15. He then closed with four birdies on his final nine for a bogey-free round.
Guthrie said he came into 2013 with two goals. One was getting in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship -- which he did not achieve. But he's now in position to achieve his second goal.
"First goal I didn't achieve, I'll share, that I wanted to get to the Match Play," Guthrie said. "But besides that, win a tournament. I keep it pretty simple. I want to win."
Guthrie would also be playing in his first final group -- if his score holds up -- on Saturday. To put it mildly, he's excited.
"I'm pumped for it," he said. "I don't think I've got to the final group yet. I was about three groups off at the John Deere last year I think. I can't wait for that."
Luke Guthrie made just 10 Web.com Tour starts in 2012 -- and finished third of better four times. (Ferrey/Getty Images)
Among the rookie graduates from the Web.com Tour and Q-school, who will have the best season in 2013?
If he putts as well as he did when he first turned pro, Luke Guthrie should have no problem having a John Huh-type year as a rookie in 2013. -- Ryan Smithson, Producer
I look for a player that has paid his dues, shown steady progression, faced adversity and recovered. Luke List fits all those requirements. In three years at Web.com he progressed from 78th to 4th on the money list and arrives on the PGA TOUR as a complete player mentally and physically. -- Fred Albers, PGA TOUR Insider
What I like about Luke List: A half-dozen top 10s on the Web.com Tour that included a win and two runner-up finishes; led in driving distance, just outside the top 50 in GIR and 36th in putting. What I like more: His game passes the eyeball test among fellow players. -- Brian Wacker, Producer
Ben Kohles. He opened his pro career with consecutive wins on the Web.com Tour. Perhaps just as telling is that he ranked first in driving accuracy and 24th in greens hit last year. -- Mike McAllister, Managing Editor
Russell Henley gets the edge thanks in part to a high starting position in the reshuffle, but he has all of the tools, too. Seemed to experience a coming of age late in the year on the Web.com Tour with a pair of playoff victories amidst a run of four consecutive top 10s. -- Rob Bolton, Fantasy Insider
It is really hard to win on the Web.com Tour. Not only did Ben Kohles do it the first time he teed it up on the Web.com Tour, but he won in a playoff ... and then backed it up with another win in his next start. He's sure to be a factor on the PGA TOUR in 2013. -- Anne Szeker, Producer
What Luke Guthrie did after turning pro after the NCAA Championships was phenomenal. The Illini standout lost in a playoff in his first Web.com Tour start, then went on to notch two wins among his seven top-10s and finish second on the money list in just 10 starts. And did we mention Guthrie had top-20 finishes in three of his first four PGA TOUR starts, including a tie for fifth at the John Deere Classic? -- Helen Ross, Chief of Correspondents
Ben Kohles' two wins in his first two pro starts was one of the great stories of 2012, and an indicator of a guy who won't be fazed by life on golf's biggest stage. -- John Schwarb, Producer
Coming Thursday: Of the five players at the top of the 2012 FedExCup standings (Snedeker, McIlroy, Woods, Watney, Mickelson), who will have the most productive season in 2013?
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Having spent part of the fall finishing up the final 13 credit hours toward his business degree at Illinois, Luke Guthrie made a big impact with two wins in just 10 Web.com Tour starts last season. He'll have a bigger learning curve on the PGA TOUR but judging by his 2012 results, he's a quick study.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Guthrie, who led the Web.com Tour in putting, scoring and the all-around category, picked up his two victories in consecutive weeks. But the first had to be particularly special, coming courtesy of a stellar 65 on Sunday and assuring him of a TOUR card in just his sixth Web.com Tour start of the year. – Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Not only did Luke win two events but he posted seven top 10 finishes in just 10 starts on the Web.com Tour. He was consistent, thanks to his putting. Guthrie averaged 1.674 putts per green, the best on Tour. – Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Figures to thrive in shootouts, but the unknown is how he'll react to adversity. His pedigree is strong, but it doesn't showcase as much luster as more seasoned recent amateurs and fellow Web.com Tour grads Morgan Hoffmann and Russell Henley. Therefore, if weighing a veteran commodity against Guthrie, you'd be using only your heart if you went with the 2013 rookie. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Final money list ranking
|Albertsons Boise Open Presented by Kraft
WNB Golf Classic
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 8
Rounds played: 36
Top-10 finishes: 7
|Web.com Tour ranking*
Driving distance: 56th
Driving accuracy: 44th
Greens in regulation: 17th
Putting average: 1st
Scoring average: 1st
* - Did not play minimum number of rounds to officially qualify
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Luke Guthrie in 2013? Fill out the forrdm below and let us know
Have a question for Luke Guthrie? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats with Guthrie, a two-time winner on the Web.com Tour who will be a PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year candidate in 2013. Guthrie will be making his fourth career PGA TOUR start this week at the Frys.com Open.
Guthrie, who turned pro this summer after a stellar career at Illinois, is 3-for-3 in finishing in the top 25 on the PGA TOUR. His best finish was a tie for fifth at the John Deere Classic in July, which he achieved after shooting 64 on the final day. On the Web.com Tour, it's been even better. He tied for second in his second start, then reeled off three more top-10s in a row. After missing his first cut, he won the Albertsons Boise Open Presented by Kraft and the WNB Golf Classic in successive weeks.
If you want to ask Guthrie a question, now is your opportunity. Just fill out the form below.
Also, we are now taking video submissions of questions. If you would like to send a video of you asking your question, please email the video to email@example.com. Please keep video to 20 seconds or less, shoot landscape style, and include your name and where you’re from in the text of your email.
Direct Connect video is posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM, so please check back then for the Guthrie interview.
All times Eastern
Tuesday, Oct. 9
2 p.m. – Luke Guthrie
5 p.m. – Nicolas Colsaerts (subject to move earlier)
Wednesday, Oct. 10
Following 11:10 a.m. Pro-Am – Ernie Els
Following 11:40 a.m. Pro-Am – Bryce Molder
Note: All times Eastern. Interviews will be streamed on PGATOUR.COM.
Tuesday, July 10
Jordan Spieth -- 2 p.m.
Luke Guthrie -- 2:30 p.m.
Patrick Rodgers -- 3 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11
Steve Stricker -- After morning Pro-Am
Zach Johnson -- TBD
Kyle Stanley -- TBD