Five to break through in 2018: Steve Stricker
January 12, 2018
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- Steve Stricker's rookie season in 2017 was a success, but he's still looking for his first win. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Only one member of last year’s ballyhooed rookie class managed to grab a victory on PGA TOUR Champions.
Jerry Kelly actually won twice. It took the Wisconsin native 13 events before he grabbed his first trophy, at the Boeing Classic. He quickly followed up with another victory, just two events later at the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship.
Notably, Kevin Sutherland also had his breakthrough moment last season. The 53-year-old finally won in his 78th start on PGA TOUR Champions, and he picked a great time. By winning the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Phoenix Country Club he also won the Schwab Cup.
Leading up to the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, we’ll identify five returning players, in alphabetical order, still looking for their first win who are mostly like to get it in 2018.
2017 starts: 6
Top 10s: 5
Best finish: 2nd, Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Last victory: 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions (PGA TOUR)
Why he’ll win in 2018: Because he didn’t win in 2017? Much was expected of Stricker in his rookie season, but he chose to play more on the PGA TOUR (13 starts) than Champions. He also was busy captaining the U.S. Team to victory in the Presidents Cup. The guess here is he’ll play at least a few more events, and it would be a shock if he doesn’t get his first taste of victory on PGA TOUR Champions. His best finish came in his debut, but he also managed three T3s. Stricker didn’t have enough rounds to qualify to be counted among the statistical leaders, but if he had he would have ranked seventh in driving distance (290.5), ninth in driving accuracy (79.26 percent), first in greens in regulation (79.86 percent) and second in putting average (1.713). In other words, he’s long, straight, hits a lot of greens and putts it well. It’s only a matter of time.
Steve Stricker holds 3-shot lead at Tucson Conquistadores