There are 21 rookies on the PGA TOUR in 2018-19. This page provides a subjective ranking updated weekly. The Arnold Palmer Award winner is determined in a vote by PGA TOUR members who make at least 15 starts.
K.H. Lee started the week of the RBC Heritage as third alternate in the field of 132. He gained entry when fellow rookie Martin Trainer withdrew, and then paced the five rookies who retained their commitments with a share of 48th place.
It’s unlikely to be a result that Lee will remember with much jubilation, but merely cracking fields of invitationals as a rookie is harder than it seems. To finish with fanfare is a bonus. So, it’s unfair to label it as a poor performance that ended a brief trend in the tournament.
See, the last two champions of the RBC Heritage were PGA TOUR rookies. Wesley Bryan prevailed as a true rookie in 2017; in fact, he was one of four inside the top-six finishers. Last year, then-non-member Satoshia Kodaira broke through in a playoff at Harbour Town. He then accepted TOUR membership and became rookie-eligible.
Still, the fact that Lee’s six-way T48 was but the best the rookies in play could muster deserves context. The last time as many as five rookies competed in the same non-major and none finished better was when Emiliano Grillo bested eight rookies with a T55 at the 2016 Charles Schwab Challenge.
Among the non-members in the field at Harbour Town who have yet to exhaust rookie eligibility in a previous season, Eddie Pepperell’s T16 led the way. In six starts this season, he’s totaled the equivalent of 248.904 FedExCup points. That would slot him 100th among members. The target for Special Temporary Membership is 266.136 points.
Both Justin Harding and Matt Wallace missed the cut last week. Harding would rank 150th among members with an equivalent of 136.621 FedExCup points in six starts. Wallace would sit 116th with 199.318 points. The RBC Heritage was the Englishman’s eighth start of 2018-19, so he cannot qualify for rookie eligibility in a future season even if he falls short this season.
With playing time limited on Hilton Head Island, four rookies gave it a go at the Web.com Tour’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship in Alabama. Chris Thompson led the way with a T10, while Kyle Jones finished T26. Both Seth Reeves and Joey Garber missed the cut. Six PGA TOUR rookies have totaled seven starts in three Web.com Tour events in 2019.
LOW ROOKIE (Corales): K.H. Lee, T48. Fourth time. (Previous: T25=Genesis; T7=Honda; T14=Valero.)
CAREER-BEST FINISHES (AND TIES): n/a
* - In the field at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as of April 21.
# - Top-10 alternate at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as of April 21.
+ - In the field at the Web.com Tour's Dormie Network Classic at Briggs Ranch as of April 21.
Through the RBC Heritage
Rank Name FedExCup Rank Best Finish Starts Cuts Made Top 10s 1 *Cameron Champ 34 Win 14 9 3 2 Adam Long 40 Win 15 4 2 3 Martin Trainer 74 Win 14 7 1 4 *Sungjae Im 22 T3 19 13 5 5 *Wyndham Clark 87 T7 15 12 2 6 *K.H. Lee 95 T7 17 9 1 7 *Chase Wright 130 T7 15 5 2 8 *Anders Albertson 132 T5 14 6 1 9 Kramer Hickok 136 T10 15 8 1 10 *Cameron Davis 144 T16 14 8 - 11 #+Jim Knous 152 T10 13 7 1 12 *Hank Lebioda 149 T17 12 8 - 13 *Seth Reeves 173 T7 14 6 1 14 *Sepp Straka 158 T13 12 5 - 15 *Adam Svensson 169 T18 14 7 - 16 #José de Jesús Rodríguez 176 T23 14 7 - 17 #+Brady Schnell 190 T12 11 4 - 18 *Joey Garber 199 T10 11 4 1 19 *Kyle Jones 189 T23 15 5 - 20 #John Chin 204 T21 11 4 - 21 Chris Thompson 222 T45 9 3 -
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 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.