There are 21 rookies on the PGA TOUR in 2018-19. This page provides a subjective ranking updated weekly. The Rookie of the Year is voted by PGA TOUR members who make at least 15 starts.
Given the disjointed and, at times, confusing experience that was the 2019 Genesis Open, there wasn’t much of a sense of continuity throughout the tournament. Monitoring the leaderboard through any medium not only required some experience in consuming the sport but also some calculus in determining what would happen next and when.
Because the 36-hole cut fell on Saturday afternoon and with a fair chance that golfers would not be re-paired in the final round so that the tournament would conclude on Sunday, the possibility of long-shot contenders was elevated.
Not taking anything away from Derek Lamely, but being out of sight and out of mind has its advantages when chasing one’s first PGA TOUR title. When he prevailed as a rookie at the 2010 Puerto Rico Open, he started his fourth round in the first group off the 10th tee because the field wasn’t re-paired due to delays caused by inclement weather. (He closed 63-66 to win by two.)
Only three of the 11 rookies in the field at Riviera Country Club survived the cut. After two rounds, Kyle Jones sat in a two-way T8 and four strokes back of the co-leaders. When he signed for a 1-under 70 following his third round, he had risen into a four-way share of sixth place, albeit nine swings adrift of 54-hole pacesetter Justin Thomas.
As expected, the field was not re-paired for the finale, and Jones garnered television time for contending, but a final-round 76 left him in a four-way T33. That opened the door for K.H. Lee, who scored 70 in the final round to finish in a three-way T25. For the week, Lee led the field in both proximity to the hole and strokes gained: approach-the-green.
Coincidentally, Jones and Lee were recipients of the last two sponsor exemptions into the field of 144.
Elsewhere, for the first time this year, current PGA TOUR rookies appeared on the Web.com Tour. It’s not part of the original plan for any PGA TOUR member, of course, but it’s a viable alternative when playing time in the big leagues is limited due to low position in the overall pecking order.
At the LECOM Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, Brady Schnell finished T43, 17 strokes back of champion and 2014-15 PGA TOUR rookie, Mark Hubbard. (You may remember Hubbard as the golfer who successfully proposed to his then-girlfriend, Meghan, beside the green at the 18th hole at Pebble Beach in 2015.)
José de Jesús Rodríguez missed the cut at the LECOM.
LOW ROOKIE: K.H. Lee, T25. First time.
CAREER-BEST FINISHES (AND TIES): K.H. Lee (T25).
* - In the field at the Puerto Rico Open as of Feb. 17.
NOTE: None qualified for the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
Through the Genesis Open
Rank Name FedExCup Rank Best Finish Starts Cuts Made Top 10s 1 Cameron Champ 13 Win 11 9 3 2 Adam Long 20 Win 9 2 1 3 Sungjae Im 31 T4 12 8 2 4 Chase Wright 85 T7 11 4 2 5 Anders Albertson 83 T5 10 5 1 6 *Jim Knous 127 T10 8 3 1 7 *Cameron Davis 115 T17 9 6 - 8 *Seth Reeves 148 T7 10 5 1 9 *Wyndham Clark 132 T18 9 7 - 10 *Adam Svensson 135 T18 9 5 - 11 *K.H. Lee 149 T25 11 4 - 12 *Kramer Hickok 147 T23 10 4 - 13 *Hank Lebioda 151 T29 7 4 - 14 *Sepp Straka 160 T13 7 2 - 15 *Kyle Jones 162 T23 10 4 - 16 *José de Jesús Rodríguez 168 T28 9 5 - 17 *Brady Schnell 182 T28 7 3 - 18 *Martin Trainer 185 T28 8 3 - 19 *Chris Thompson 205 T45 7 2 - 20 *John Chin 208 T45 9 2 - 21 *Joey Garber 210 T57 7 2 -
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 to be a rookie if he has previously played in more than seven (7) Official PGA TOUR Money events as a professional in any prior season.