It may seem as if
every rising young golfer comes from somewhere else—particularly Australia or
South Africa—but Uncle Sam's cupboard isn't bare. In addition to the promising
young Americans who have already emerged ( Anthony Kim, Kevin Na), there are
some serious up-and-comers waiting to break through. Here are five you may not
have heard of yet but almost certainly will in the future.
Stats: the tall (6' 4") Californian who plays at Southern Cal had a
breakout June, winning the NCAA title as a freshman and then losing in a
playoff as an amateur at the Nationwide tour's Rochester Area Charities
Showdown. He's 3 for 3 in making cuts on the PGA Tour, with his best finish a
39th at the Buick Invitational, at which he had a first-round 66.
easily turned pro after a hot run this year but will stay in school until at
least next summer.
2. RICKIE FOWLER,
Stats: A freshman at Oklahoma State, Fowler was the youngest player on this
year's victorious Walker Cup team (3--1 individual record) and won two
prestigious amateur titles (Sunnehanna and players). He has a win and a fourth
in his first two collegiate starts and shot a seven-under 63 at olympia Fields,
which tied Vijay Singh's course record.
says he'll spend four years at Oklahoma State and graduate. If he keeps
winning, we'll see.
3. JEFF OVERTON,
Stats: the '05 Indiana grad is one of only six players to make it through all
three stages of Q school and earn a PGA Tour card in the same year he
graduated. A late surge last year helped him keep his card, and now he's 108th
on the money list, with a tie for second at the Wyndham Championship.
Skinny: Cut from
the Zach Johnson mold, Overton's been on a slow but steady upward curve since
4. COLT KNOST,
Stats: after wrapping up his career at SMU last spring, Knost, the 2007
Conference USA player of the year and winner of three collegiate titles, won
the U.S. Publinks and the U.S. Amateur and turned pro. He finished 49th in his
first Tour start, at the Texas Open, and since then was 38th at the Frys.com
open and missed the cut at the Fry's Electronics.
but can he handle the sky-high expectations?
Stats: Now a freshman at UCLA, Francis was the most accomplished junior player
since Tiger Woods, winning the first of his 147 titles at age four. In addition
to winning the 2006 U.S. Junior, he also won the Junior Worlds four straight
times, which broke Woods's record of three. Francis made his PGA Tour debut
this summer, at the John Deere and U.S. Bank, but missed both cuts.