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Stock Up, Stock Down for Golf's Top Young Stars

Mike DudurichContributor IMay 26, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Golf's Top Young Stars

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    Hideki Matsuyama took a big step forward with his 10th-place finish at the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
    Hideki Matsuyama took a big step forward with his 10th-place finish at the Crowne Plaza Invitational.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    It's not easy to win on the PGA Tour, even if you're in that group of players known as golf's top young stars.

    There are ups and downs, hot streaks and cold streaks and some difficult times mentally as the talented youngsters attempt to find their way around the PGA Tour landscape.

    Patrick Reed is the poster boy for the stock-down crew, having plummeted since his win at the WGC-Doral Classic. Webb Simpson's been on that trail since winning the U.S. Open in 2012.

    Rory McIlroy leads the stock-up boys thanks to his spectacular win last week at the BMW Championship.

    Here's a list of the leaders in both of those groups.

Stock Down: Harris English

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    Harris English has the game to become a superstar.
    Harris English has the game to become a superstar.Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Three missed cuts in his last five starts say it all for Harris English.

    His season started off very nicely, with six top-10s in 11 starts. And that run included a win at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, where he posted a 21-under score of 263.

    He's only 24, and youngsters go through peaks and valleys before they become great.

    His last top-10 finish was in February.

    Definitely stock down.

Stock Down: Patrick Reed

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    Patrick Reed has been very quiet since mid-March.
    Patrick Reed has been very quiet since mid-March.USA TODAY Sports

    You remember Patrick Reed, right?

    The young man who proclaimed himself a top-five player in the world after just 56 starts on the PGA Tour? The kid from Augusta State who beat an elite field at the World Golf Championships-Doral Classic and gave the television interview that may haunt him for a long time?

    Since then? He's done nothing: a T-52 and T-48 and three missed cuts.

    The alleged top-five player has also dropped to 26th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Stock Down: Jason Day

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    Big things were projected for Jason Day this season.
    Big things were projected for Jason Day this season.USA TODAY Sports

    Through no particular fault of his own, Jason Day falls into the stock-down category.

    Expectations were at their highest for Day coming into this season, and he got off to a nice start, winning the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.

    But because of nagging injuries to his wrist and thumb, he's only played one more event. He finished 20th at Augusta National and was clearly bothered by the ailments.

    The extremely talented Australian originally hurt his wrist at the 2013 U.S. Open, and the thumb injury occurred while winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

    When he gets healthy, he'll surely be a stock-up guy.

Stock Down: Webb Simpson

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    Webb Simpson, believe it or not, is a major champion.
    Webb Simpson, believe it or not, is a major champion.MARCO GARCIA/Associated Press

    It probably seems like a long time ago to Webb Simpson, but he did win the first tournament of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, the Shriners Hospital for Children Open back in October.

    Since then, more of the malaise that has enveloped him since June of 2012 when he won the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.

    He's made $2.1 million, a nice reward for a season that has rarely seen Simpson's name anywhere near the top a of a leaderboard.

    Certainly not the kind of major championship followup Simpson would have hoped for. Definitely a stock down guy.

     

Stock Down: Rickie Fowler

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    Two of golf's biggest young names, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy
    Two of golf's biggest young names, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroyAssociated Press

    Part of the post-Masters buzz was the performance of Rickie Fowler at Augusta National Golf Club.

    He finished tied for fifth, continuing his good play in majors. He's made the cut in 13 of the 17 majors he's qualified for and has a pair of top-five finishes, so maybe he's going to turn out to be a high-quality player.

    But since the Masters, he's posted two missed cuts, a T-38 and T-77.

    So much for momentum.

Stock Up: Seung-Yul Noh

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    Seung-Yul Noh made a big impression last year.
    Seung-Yul Noh made a big impression last year.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    In 2013, Seung-Yul Noh missed more cuts than he made (13-11).

    Needless to say, it wasn't a great year for the 22-year-old native of South Korea.

    That was then, this is now. Not only has Noh figured out how to make cuts (he's made 13 in 17 starts), but he also became a winner on the PGA Tour when he captured the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

    He leads the PGA Tour in sand-save percentage at 67.07.

    Although he has missed two of his past three cuts, his stock is up.

Stock Up: Hideki Matsuyama

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    Much was expected of Hideki Matsuyama this season.
    Much was expected of Hideki Matsuyama this season.John Raoux/Associated Press

    Hideki Matsuyama had his best finish since February when he tied for 10th in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in late May.

    The 22-year-old Japanese star has been basically invisible since the WGC-Accenture Match Play. In six events since then, he's had a pair of missed cuts and a withdrawal. There's nothing better than a T-23 at the Players Championship to his credit.

    That seemed to turn around last week, especially when he put up a third-round 64 to get into the hunt.

    Put Matsuyama in the stock-up category.

Stock Up: Jordan Spieth

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    Jordan Spieth keeps appearing high on leaderboards every week.
    Jordan Spieth keeps appearing high on leaderboards every week.Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    There have been no downward arrows in the fledgling PGA Tour career of Jordan Spieth.

    Since he burst onto the scene last year, Spieth has maintained an onward and upward path.

    Other than a T-37 at the Byron Nelson Championship, Spieth has put together four top-15 finishes, including a T-2 at the Masters and T-4 at the Players Championship.

    Big stages obviously don't intimidate him, and he's not all that far from taking the top spot in one.

Stock Up: Rory McIlroy

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    Rory McIlroy made what could be a big breakthrough at the BMW Championship.
    Rory McIlroy made what could be a big breakthrough at the BMW Championship.Associated Press

    Rory McIlroy has been good in 2014; very good, actually.

    Six top-10s in eight starts is good enough, but then he came from seven strokes behind in the final round to win the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW Championship, last week.

    It was his first win on that side of the ocean in 18 months, and it put him back into the group of favorites for the U.S. Open in a couple weeks.

    A healthy and happy McIlroy (he appeared to be both in the BMW) is good for golf.

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