5 Amateur Golfers Every Fan Needs to Know
They are the PGA Tour stars of the future, or at least that's their greatest hope.
The top collegiate and amateur players have become that way in relative obscurity, out of the public eye and media scrutiny. But as they make their journeys toward the PGA Tour, they'll hit spectacular shots and post great rounds.
They are names you most likely don't know but, one day soon, will.
Here are five of the very best amateurs.
When you begin to list colleges or universities that have produced great golfers, you’d have to go well down that list to find someone from the University of Washington.
That will change, however, as soon as Chris Williams becomes a former Huskie.
A lot of players go through their college careers and point to high finishes as highlights.
Williams, a junior at Washington, won three collegiate tournaments last year. He also won the NCAA Division I Southwest Regional, the Washington State Amateur and the Western Amateur.
No wonder he was the winner of the Mark H. McCormack medal as the No. 1 player on the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Among the elite amateur players in the world, Australia’s Brady Watt might be the one who flies most under the radar.
The 22-year-old is second in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and he’s certainly playing that way.
He won four times and had seven runner-up finishes in Australia.
Early this year, he had control of the Master of the Amateurs tournament at world-famous Royal Melbourne through three rounds before succumbing to a windy final day that included a four-putt.
Fans in the United States will get to know him better this summer when he plays some big amateur events, including the U.S. Amateur.
You’ve no doubt heard about Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old who will become the youngest player ever in the Masters. That wasn’t a typo. He's 14 years old.
Tianlang won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand, shooting a one-under 71 in the final to win by a shot to qualify.
He came out of nowhere, but he did have previous success, winning the Junior World Golf championship’s 11-12 category.
How he will fare in the pressure of the Masters will make for interesting viewing.
One thing’s for sure: What he has done has made him a hero to millions of Chinese youngsters.
Justin Thomas is one of three highly ranked members of the University of Alabama golf team which, not surprisingly, is second-ranked in Golfweek’s rankings.
He won the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate not long after being a member of the United States team that won the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey.
He’s won the Jones Cup, made it to the finals of the U.S. Amateur Championship and even made the cut at the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic.
In case anyone thought Julien Brun’s freshman season at Texas Christian University was a fluke, the native of France started the 2012-13 season by winning the first tournament of the year.
Julien, ranked fourth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, won three times last year.
Even more impressive was his win last September in the Allianz Golf Open Toulouse Metropole, a European Challenge Tour event.
He became the sixth amateur to win a Challenge Tour event.
Brun is one of 27 players on the 2013 Ben Hogan Award watch list. That award is given annually to the nation’s top college golfer.