2017-18 Rookie Ranking
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
There are 23 rookies on the PGA TOUR in 2017-18. This feature provides a subjective ranking updated weekly. The Rookie of the Year is voted by PGA TOUR members who make at least 15 starts.
SNAPSHOT: One week after Corey Conners held the outright lead after each of the first three rounds of the Valspar Championship, only to drift into a share of 16th place in the finale, Talor Gooch was chasing redemption for the rookie class at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Alas, he’d suffer a similar fate.
Gooch sat a respective T2, solo third and T6 after each of his first three rounds at Bay Hill last week, but faded into a 10-way tie for 26th place with a 76 in the finale, 14 strokes back of champion Rory McIlroy. The rookie hit 13 greens in regulation and converted five birdies on Sunday, but he also three-putted four times en route to 34 total putts and squared four bogeys, one double and a triple.
Because it’s a 120-man invitational, simply gaining entry into the API is a challenge for all rookies. Only six cracked the field last week, Gooch pacing the five who made the cut.
Success is also rare for rookies at Bay Hill. When Tyrrell Hatton (T4) and Tommy Fleetwood (T10) populated last year’s leaderboard, they were non-members who had yet to officially qualify as rookies, so you have to go all the way back to Bud Cauley’s T4 in 2012 for the last true rookie who recorded a top 10.
Like Gooch, current non-member Sam Burns backpedaled in the final round. He went just 1-for-10 in scoring opportunities and signed for a 5-over 77 to finish in a five-way T49. With the equivalent of 8.000 FedExCup points tacked on, he’s now 79.641 from qualifying for Special Temporary Membership with two sponsor exemptions remaining. Like all golfers, Burns can also gain entry into many tournaments via open qualifying and top-10 finishes.
Elsewhere, former University of Florida standout Sam Horsfield led all non-members at Bay Hill with an eight-way T14. It marked his first TOUR appearance since missing the cut at the 2017 Wyndham Championship. The native of England had posted a fourth-place finish in Perth in February and a runner-up finish at the Tshwane Open in South Africa earlier this month. He has not exhausted rookie eligibility.
LOW ROOKIE: Talor Gooch, T26. Fourth time (T16, Shriners; T18, Sony; T20, Genesis).
CAREER-BEST FINISHES (AND TIES): None.
* - In the field at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play as of March 18.
# - In the field at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship as of March 18.
Through the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
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NOTE: A player’s rookie season ("Rookie Year") is defined as the season in which he becomes a PGA TOUR member (including Special Temporary Members) and plays in 10 or more events as a member or finishes in the Top 125 on the Official FedExCup Points List, the Top 125 on the Official PGA TOUR Money List or qualifies as a Top 125 - Nonmember, whichever occurs first. Further, for purposes of this definition, a new member (including Special Temporary Members) shall not be eligible for the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year if he has previously played in more than seven (7) Official PGA TOUR Money events as a professional in any prior season.