Byeong Hun An takes his talents to La Jolla, California, for his debut at this week's Farmers Insurance Open.
An earned enough Non-Member FedExCup Points during the 2015-16 season to earn his TOUR card for this year. With a full schedule ahead of him in 2017, he's easing into it as this week will be just his third start of the season, ranking 169th in the FedExCup standings after a T39 (CIMB) and T63 (WGC-HSBC) during the fall. The youngster has showcased his ability to contend on the European Tour, posting 10 top 10s in 40 starts. It's taking him a little longer to find his groove on the PGA TOUR but the upside remains. Gamers in season-long and dynasty league should be trying to buy low while they still can.
Beau Hossler heads to Torrey Pines for this week's Farmers Insurance Open, his first PGA TOUR start since joining the professional ranks.
The University of Texas standout ended his college career on a sour note when a torn labrum forced him out of the championship match against Oregon. He needed shoulder surgery but announced his intentions to turn pro, anyways. In an attempt to play his way back into competitive form, he pegged it on the Adams Pro Tour in December. In his first start he finished T22 in a one-round shootout but a few days later he won a two-day event (Cypresswood Open - Cypress Course) with an aggregate score of 11-under 133, winning by three strokes. He cracked the field this week with a sponsor's invite. It will be his fifth career start on the PGA TOUR, missing just one cut previously, with a T29 at the 2012 U.S. Open being the highlight. Despite his limited TOUR knowledge, he will know a bit about this week's venue. Hossler won the 2011 Junior World Championships (Boys Division Age 15-17) played at Torrey Pines South Course.
Benjamin Hebert is a six-time winner on the Challenge Tour and will view this week's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters as a possible chance to gain his first European Tour victory.
Hebert's wins on Europe's second tier came in bunches - three in 2011 and three more in 2014 so, if he's working on a three-year cycle of success, 2017 could be his time! The Frenchman missed the cut on his Doha GC debut in 2012 but returned in 2015 to post T10 after closing 68-69-67. Hebert then shot four more sub-par rounds last year to take T20 so it's a course he's comfortable on. There were signs he meant business on the 2017 Race to Dubai when he started out with T4 in the season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. He added T36 in Hong Kong and then returned after the Christmas break to deliver T29 in last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where he was seventh for greens in regulation but couldn't get the putter to work. He's also been in the top five for GIR in this event for the last two years.
Despite plenty of grip-it-and-rip it merchants doing well in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, Alexander Levy is 0-for-3 at Doha GC; he'll try and change that on his return this week.
The attacking Frenchman got off on the wrong foot when shooting 79 on his very first lap of the course in 2014 although he hit back with a 68 in round two. That wasn't enough to make the cut but at least offered a glimpse of what might be to come. However, 71-74 in 2015 and 74-74 in 2016 have resulted in two further early exits. Presumably, if he thought the course wasn't for him he could take the week off so his participation again may be a clue that Levy feels he will eventually shine at Doha GC. A pair of 72s saw him miss the cut in Abu Dhabi last week so he's not making a compelling case on first glance but let's not forget that he put together a run of 7-1-MC-4 in September and October of 2016 and when it all clicks the three-time European Tour winner is of capable of landing the big purses.
Alejandro Cañizares has finished T27 or better in five of his seven starts at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters with two top 10s in the last three years; he's back again for more in 2017.
The Spaniard ended T22 on debut in 2007 and T25 in 2012 before stepping up in 2014 when a closing 65 gave him a share of fifth spot. Four more solid rounds resulted in solo eighth in 2015 when he arrived on the back of T12 in Abu Dhabi. Cañizares reeled of three top 10s in his final nine starts of 2016 to finish 40th on the Race to Dubai - his second highest placing - and got four rounds under his belt in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week. If gamers view that as a warm-up, his course form is certainly appealing.
Ricardo Gouveia finished T7 on his first start in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters last year and returns to the course this week for another crack.
The man from Portugal hit the ground running 12 months ago with an opening lap of 67 and kept it together for the next three days. That was the first of his three top 10s in a rookie season which saw him finish an impressive 54th on the Race to Dubai. Gouveia ended that campaign with three top 25s in his final four starts including a career-high T3 in November's Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. A three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, Gouveia impressed again in Abu Dhabi last week and shot 7-under to post T23. With both course and current form, he could be a viable option for owners looking to balance out their teams with a player beyond the obvious names.
Grégory Bourdy stays in the Middle East this week to try and continue his impressive recent displays in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The Frenchman had a rather patchy record at Doha GC with three missed cuts in six starts but appeared to crack the code in 2015 when closing with a 65 to place T5. He was also third at the midpoint last year until slipping back to T13 after a closing 74. Bourdy has played three events on the 2017 schedule, missing the cut at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa but responding with T25 in the Hong Kong Open. He returned to action in last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship but couldn't break 70 in any of his four rounds and had to settle for T60. With the rust off, it's reasonable to expect an improved performance at Doha where he's really found his feet recently.
Jaco Van Zyl will make only his second appearance in the CommercialBank Qatar Masters at Doha GC this week, five years after his first.
It seems somewhat surprising that the South African is in his sixth full year on the European Tour and making only his second visit to this tournament, but perhaps the numbers tell the story. Back in 2012 he carded three 71s (the event was weather disrupted) to finish T35. Not bad, you'd have thought, but fitting into a slightly underwhelming Middle East record in which he has gone sub-70 just three times in 36 rounds. He's made 11 starts in the region and whilst he's been around for the weekend eight times he has never cracked the top 20. He came close last week in Abu Dhabi (T23) and was T18 the week before in the BMW South African Open.