WATCH OUT: Five Surprise Golfers to Break Out in 2022

Mito Pereira


The 26-year-old from Chile recently received a promotion to the PGA Tour by winning three events on the Korn Ferry Tour, which he joined in 2017. While success on the Korn Ferry doesn’t always translate to a long-term career on the big Tour, Pereira has made a nice transition, with consecutive top-ten finishes at the Barbasol Championship and the 3M Open.


The former Texas Tech player then went and represented his country in the Tokyo Olympics, just losing out on a bronze medal as one of the six players in the playoff that eventually lost out to C.T. Pan. It took him a while to win, but it can be contagious, regardless of the level.


Although [Griffin] is 79th in the FedEx Cup standings, he was able to play in all six major championships played during the season and made the cut in three of them…


Maverick McNealy


The three-time first-team All-American at Stanford turned professional in 2017 and has been making steady progress ever since. As a rookie on the PGA Tour in 2019-2020, he made the FedEx Cup playoffs and advanced to the BMW Championship before finishing 68th in the final standings to secure his card for another year.


This season he is 51st in the FedEx Cup point standings and while he has yet to win on Tour, he has a pair of top-five finishes including as the runner-up to Daniel Berger in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He qualified for the Players and the PGA Championship but failed to make it to the weekend in either event.


Lanto Griffin

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Griffin has had a bit of a setback from his 18th place finish in the FedEx Cup in 2020 after winning the 2019 Houston Open and making it the Tour Championship in his second stint on the PGA Tour at the age of 31. Although he is 79th in the FedEx Cup standings, he was able to play in all six major championships played during the season and made the cut in three of them, with a tie for 33rd at the Open Championship, his best finish.


Hank Lebioda


Although the 27-year-old out of Florida State is 87th in the FedEx Cup Standings, he has shown flashes of brilliance that bode well for the future. After four missed cuts in a row in March and April, Lebioda qualified for the weekend in eight consecutive events, with three top-ten finishes in succession in the Travelers Championship, the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the John Deere Classic.


That run moved him from 158th in points to 83rd, before dropping back to 87th after withdrawing from the 3M Open due to an illness in his family after making the cut. His game seems to be trending in the right direction and he could be a factor next season.


Rickie Fowler


It’s hard to categorize any accomplishment by Rickie Fowler as a surprise, but he’s definitely dropped off the radar after a disappointing couple of seasons, falling to 125th in the FedEx Cup and 106th in the Official World Golf Rankings. The five-time PGA Tour winner last recorded a victory over two and a half years ago in the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, but recently finished in a tie for eighth in the PGA Championship, signaling a possible return to form.

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