Matthias Schwab can shine in rookie season
Hotshot Hossler should continue to progress
The Austrian greatly impressed at Vanderbilt University and looks almost certain to forge a successful professional career. He was the best European in the world when he ended his amateur days.
Schwab turned 23 on December 9 with a European Tour card in his pocket, having produced a magnificent bogey-free, six-under-par weekend at Q-School in November. He carded no worse than a bogey during the entire six-round marathon.
Schwab, revered by peers for his calmness, tied for 14th in the 2013 Lyoness Open as an 18-year-old. He started life in the paid ranks with nine top-15 finishes in 16 Challenge Tour spins last season.
This cool dude is accurate and consistent, and he looks the most dangerous rookie on the European Tour this season – a player likely to shoot up the world rankings from 559th place.
The Scot is slightly younger than Schwab and slightly ahead of him in the world rankings. Both are capable of making their mark on the European Tour this season, with Neil starting to realise the potential that made him 2014 Amateur champion.
Neil, who is full of power and swagger, has always looked set for stardom. He greatly impressed Rory McIlroy in a practice round before the 2015 Masters and it was only a matter of time before strides were made in the pro ranks. From July onwards, Neil came to life on the Challenge Tour, earning an upgrade with 15th spot in the final standings.
The Q-School champion obliterated the opposition in Spain, cruising to an eight-shot success, closing with a bogey-free final-round 63. The 21-year-old slugger can be expected to do plenty of damage on the European Tour and should soon make a mockery of his world ranking of 1,929.
Horsfield posted some incredible numbers as a junior in Florida and the Manchester-born big hitter looks ready to threaten victories at low-scoring tracks on the European Tour. Injury issues, coupled with Nike quitting golf, slowed the progress of super Sam but he starts 2018 fully fit, comfortable with his equipment, and a danger to all.
The 22-year-old will start 2018 outside the top 300 in the world golf rankings, but he can be fancied to have moved comfortably inside the top 100 by the end of the season. The Californian ace has been on the radar since qualifying for the US Open at the age of 16, but the months to come should see him actually challenging for silverware.
Four years at the University of Texas were followed by a strong Web.com Tour campaign which included two runner-up finishes, and this calm, composed youngster quickly settled on the US Tour, with tenth place in the Sanderson Farms Championship and seventh in the Shriners Open.
Injury problems stopped Hossler becoming a US Tour force sooner, but he is fighting fit for 2018 and looks the complete package. Big Beau could soon follow fellow Californian and potential superstar Patrick Cantlay into the winner's enclosure.
Canada is crying out for a top-class golfer, with Mike Weir close to retirement, Graham DeLaet appearing unable to get over the US Tour winning line in front, and Adam Hadwin probably not quite good enough to claim the highest honours. Conners, world number 670, has the potential to fly the Maple Leaf with distinction over the next few years.
The runner-up spot in the 2014 US Amateur Championship put Conners on the golfing map and the 25-year-old graduated from the Web.com Tour to the US Tour last term. He has already had five starts on the US Tour this season, making the cut in all of them, and it may not be long before he steps up a gear to become a title contender, surging up the rankings in the process.
This boy looked like the real McCoy when finishing fourth in the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur but he broke his wrist in two places in a car accident the following November. His comeback started at the 2017 Valspar and has gathered pace since, setting up a potentially bright year ahead.
McCoy won on the Canadian Tour in June – an eight-shot triumph in the Freedom 55 Financial Open – then topped the leaderboard at the Web.com Tour Q School in the second week of December. The 23-year-old will play mainly on the Web in 2018, but he looks good enough to make a splash on the US Tour whenever an invite comes his way.
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