Sepp Straka … In his only prior trip, he sat T5 entering the final round, closed with 74 and landed at a forgettable T26. That was in 2019 and he was a PGA TOUR rookie at the time. Now in his second event of his third season and with a T14 at Silverado already on the board, he arrives equipped to consider finishing the job. The strength of the 27-year-old from Austria is his balance throughout the bag, and now he has experience. And since a T8 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in early July, he’s 5-for-7 with four top 20s.
Sam Ryder … Never found a rhythm in 2019-20 – let’s face it, few could – but he still turned just 12 cuts made into a third consecutive Playoffs appearance. Despite that career-low total, he established a (modest) career best with four top 25s including in two of his last five starts of the season. When he’s in a groove, all cylinders are firing and for extended stretches, so now that he’s three months into a steady pace of competition and with the new season serving as a reset, perhaps he’ll rekindle the kind of all-around game that yielded ranks of T54 in greens hit and 23rd in Strokes Gained: Putting with which he ended his sophomore season of 2018-19.
Patton Kizzire … The lanky 34-year-old is making his tournament debut. He should find Corales to fit his game nicely. He completed 2019-20 ranked 25th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 15th in conversion percentage inside 10 feet, T42 in putting: birdies-or-better and inside the top-third on TOUR in par-5 scoring.
Seamus Power … Not only is the Irishman a great fit, he’s already proven why. In the inaugural edition in 2018, he tied for fifth while leading the field in par-4 scoring and ranking T8 in putts per GIR. That remains his career-best finish in individual competition. Concluded last season with three cuts made in five starts, two going for a top 15. Although he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs, he finished the season slotted T34 in greens hit, T15 in proximity, T24 in putts per GIR and T21 in par-5 scoring.
Justin Suh … Remember when he was poised to be the fourth horseman of 2019? Hey, everyone progresses at his own pace, but that he was in the same conversation with Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland just 15 months ago underscores just how much damage that trio has done in the interim. Suh is 23 now and he’s taking advantage of playing time on the LOCALiQ Series. In the first four events, he’s recorded three top 10s and a T33, and those chased a T21 at the Barracuda Championship. He’s foregoing the fifth event on that mini-series in favor of a sponsor exemption at Corales. A good showing likely will trigger the addition of the Southern Cal product to the new Rookie Watch.
NOTE: Sleeper is a relative term, so Rob uses unofficial criteria to determine who qualifies. Each of the following usually is determined to be ineligible for this weekly staple: Winners of the tournament on the current host course; winners in the same season; recent major champions; top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking; recent participants of team competitions.
Source: PGA tour