On TOUR: The Top 5 alums to watch this weekend
May 16, 2018
By Brendan Stasiewich , PGATOUR.COM
- May 16, 2018
- The AT&T Byron Nelson marks the fifth time that T.J. Vogel has qualified into a tournament on a Monday. (Getty Images)
There’s no shortage of talent at the AT&T Byron Nelson this coming weekend in Dallas, and as usual, Mackenzie Tour alumni can be included in that group.
With 12 Mackenzie Tour alums competing this week, we highlight five that we think could finish strong, and perhaps pick up their first PGA TOUR victory.
Aaron Wise - Winning seems to be second nature for the former Oregon Duck. He’s accomplished that feat at the junior level, the NCAA level, the Mackenzie Tour level and the Web.com level. There’s just one more step to go for the American to complete a cycle of sorts: A PGA TOUR victory.
If he was nervous a few weeks ago in contention at the Wells Fargo Championship, you couldn’t tell. If not for Jason Day being, well, Jason Day, down the stretch, the 21-year-old may have already captured his first victory. Wise made a beautifully executed up-and-down from 35-yards out on the final hole of the championship to finish T2- avoiding a bogey that would have been just his second of the day, and first of the back-nine; nerves of steel.
Looking back at his Mackenzie Tour days, Wise became the youngest tournament winner in Tour history at 20 years, 1 month and 10 days at the 2016 Syncrude Oil Country Championship. Look out for Wise not only at the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, but at each event he plays on Tour this season.
T.J. Vogel – Perhaps the most compelling story going into the AT&T Byron Nelson, T.J. Vogel gets into the field based on his 66 at the Monday qualifier. It goes without saying that Monday qualifying on the PGA TOUR is incredibly impressive; from 2016-2017 the average qualifying score was just a hair under 66.
T.J. Vogel has now Monday qualified for five PGA TOUR events this season alone. Ridiculous.
His five is just one shy of Patrick Reed’s all-time record of six in 2012. Safe to say things have turned out okay for Reed, who earned his first green jacket in April.
Vogel has the tools to win on the PGA TOUR. His best finish this year was a T16 at the Valspar, where he battled back from an opening round 73 to fire back-to-back 69’s on the weekend. Vogel is just one year removed from a good finish on the Mackenzie Tour, finishing 10th on the money list.
Sam Ryder – Ryder broke onto the PGA TOUR scene with a fifth-place finish at the Houston Open earlier this year. Ryder is playing on Tour this season after catching lightning in a bottle last year on the Web.com Tour, recording six top-10’s and a win to finish second on the money list. Ryder played on the Mackenzie Tour for two seasons from 2014 to 2015, winning the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops in 2015.
Corey Conners – The lone Canadian on the 5 To Watch this week. Conners grew up in Listowel, Ontario, a small town of about 7,500 people, so it’s been a remarkable journey for him to make it all the way onto the PGA TOUR.
Conners has gone into the final round with a chance to win twice on Tour this season, holding the solo lead after each of the first three rounds of the 2018 Valspar Championship, and playing in the final grouping of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
A final-round 77 derailed his Cinderella run at the Valspar as he finished T16, and a final-round 76 at Corales Puntacana knocked Conners to T13.
You can bet the 26-year-old is eager to find himself in that post-Saturday position again, motivated to put those two Sunday finishes behind him.
J.J. Spaun - Spaun has two top-10 finishes on TOUR so far this season, with his best finish being a second place showing at the RSM Classic. Spaun will have some fire in his belly this week after missing out on the cut at THE PLAYERS Championship by a single stroke.
Spaun was the top player on the PGA TOUR Canada in 2015, winning in Thunder Bay and adding a T2 and T3 finish during the season. The 27-year-old is currently 55th in the Race for the FEDEX Cup.
Other Mackenzie Tour Alumni competing:
Ben Silverman, Taylor Gooch, Ethan Tracy, Conrad Shindler, Joel Dahmen, CT Pan and Nick Taylor