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Whilst the 2022 golf season may have already begun before the turn of the year, but it begins to ramp up once again in and here’s some players to keep an eye on this year.

Guillermo Mito Pereira Hinke


The Chilean, better known simply as Mito Pereira, is hardly a shock inclusion in the list but will surely pay to follow over the next year.

The 26-year-old has a decent junior resume, backed up with a runner-up at the Junior Open Championship, and as an amateur he beat several home professionals in the 2013 Las Brisas de Chicureo Open. The latter may mean little in the grand scheme of things but it’s worth noting that current world number 30, Joaquin Niemann, won the same event four years later.

In 2016, Mito became the youngest ever player to rank at the top of the SMA rankings after his first full season saw him land a win, two runner-up finishes, a third and three further top-10s, whilst his first year on the Korn Ferry Tour was highlighted by three top-15 finishes and a third in Nashville, just a shot shy of the play-off between subsequent PGA Tour winners Lanto Griffin and Abraham Ancer.

A single top-10 and couple of top-20 finishes were nowhere near enough to keep his KFT card in 2018 and, having returned home, he recovered from a broken collar bone to again show his class on his home tour where 17 starts were rewarded with one runner-up, three top-five finishes, two top-10s and four top-20s.

Missing KFT Q-School qualification by just one place in 2020 seemed to give him impetus and he followed up an early third-place in Panama with his maiden victory just a week later. That win, amongst a familiar Spanish-speaking crowd, came courtesy of a 72nd hole eagle and final round 64, giving him a two-shot victory from four shots off the pace overnight.

Perhaps it was a good thing that promotion was suspended through the ‘lockdown’ period and, whilst he started the comeback events slowly, by April this year he had hit his stride, steadily making his way through to the weekend before a couple of top-30s preceded a loss in a three-way play-off at the Huntsville Championship.

Two finishes on the front page were enough to think he had chances to gain his card this year and he didn’t disappoint, landing back-to-back wins via a play-off at the Rex Hospital and a four-shot win in South Carolina, the total of three victories giving him a fast-track to the top league.

Highly touted before his start at the Rocket Mortgage in July, the Chilean has since rewarded his faithful each-way backers with four top-six finishes in the space of half-a-dozen starts including a tied-fourth at the classy Tokyo Olympics.

Form has dropped recently with his usual impressive approach and tee-to-green going missing at the RSM and Houston, but that he can finish top-30 without being anywhere near his best gives an indication of what we may expect after a short break and all guns firing.

Clearly look for him in events around the Southern states and South America, but he’s certainly not averse to winning at any course that calls for accuracy, will take to windy conditions and recent figures may just allow us a few points more than we deserve.

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Taylor Moore


The 28-year-old Arkansas graduate certainly has a story to tell the grandchildren.

Winner of his first event at the age of 7, the Texan rejected other sporting options before opting for golf at 14 and has never waned from the desire to play against the top of his profession.

Through a stellar junior career, his first season on the Mackenzie Tour in 2016 saw him run-up on his debut before his first victory just four events later when beating a decent field including runner-up Corey Connors by three shots and up. Three further top-five finishes were enough to see him rank 3rd in the Order of Merit and gain a card for the Korn Ferry Tour.

Consistent, if not brilliant, Moore played on the development tour for the next 61 events (from 2017 to mid-2019) recording a total of one runner-up, eight top-10 and eight top-20 finishes but the story does not tell of three months off due to a sudden collapsed lung whilst playing in Scottsdale, an injury that was bound to take time to recover from.

A best of tied-10th was never going to eventually qualify for the final stages of the tour and whilst his physical recovery was continuing, an interview with suggests it was the mental side that was to blame for a series of poor results.

”I really had two major things happen that were completely out of my control and I don’t think, at the time, I necessarily dealt with them in the best way,” Moore said. “I think overall I was just kind of frustrated and a little bit upset that I missed that amount of time, and I really wasn’t playing great golf.”

Cue a mental coach and obvious improvement in fitness, and a huge upturn in form was to follow with eight top-10 finishes preceding his maiden win at the aptly named Memorial Health Championship at Panther Creek, Illinois. A weekend of 60-65 was enough to secure a three-shot win and the lowest score in the event’s six-year history.

Just a week later, Moore finished runner-up at the Price Cutter Championship before a couple of top-10 finishes ended his Korn Ferry career for the present.

From just five starts at the top level, two missed cuts certainly do not spoil a couple of top-30 finishes, and the latest an 8th at the RSM continues a decent run of stats – a couple of top-20s in his tee-to-green play and around-the-green. Yes, the irons need a touch of work but he’s hard-working, fit and where he wants to be.

”I’m just stoked to have the opportunity to prove myself out on the big tour and play how I know I’m capable of, against some of the other best golfers in the world.”

You’re not the only one.

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Greyson Sigg


There were a host of second-season players to put up and the temptation was to put up Taylor Pendrith, who looks certain to make his name over the next few months thanks to enormous driving. However, I’m always taken with those with a touch of feel about their game and 26-year-old Greyson Sigg could be the next Georgia Bulldog to put his name against a trophy.

There is no coincidence that that particular university has a production line of quality golfers – indeed eight took part in the latest U.S Open at Torrey Pines and nine in the FedEx play-offs – and coach Chris Haack clearly does a great job. He’ll no doubt repeat that with Sigg, his future son-in-law.

Haack makes his players work for their place in a team and Sigg says that ”you learn to find yourself and what you like to do at a young age, so when you come out of college, you’re ready to go do a Monday qualifier and (used to) having to shoot 8 under to get through.”

Having led the Bulldogs’ scoring average in 2017, Sigg played on the Mackenzie (Canadian) tour for three seasons, recording eleven top-10 finishes in 38 starts, the best being a third placed finish at the GolfBC Championship when a final round 59 launched him up from a tied-35th overnight.

A naturally straight hitter, Sigg has worked on his short game over the years and the last two years on the Korn Ferry Tour have produced eight top-10s, a runner-up at the 2020 Tour Championship (led after the second and third rounds) and, of course, the two wins at the Knoxville Open (first round 61) and in Idaho, where three rounds of 65 showed the consistency he is renowned for, rewarded with the award for 2020/21 Rookie of the Year.

Seven starts on the PGA Tour have been an education rather than a spectacular start, but four midfield finishes reads well enough. Of the missed-cuts he opened with a killer 77 at the Sanderson Farms, something he couldn’t recover from despite a second-round 69, whilst he missed the weekend in Houston by just two shots and at the RSM on the number. He can also keep fond memories of a weekend at Torrey Pines where the experience of playing with a certain Phil Mickelson will not have gone wasted.

”Making a lot of cuts and everyone keeps texting me great playing when I finish 30th, but I’m not exactly pleased with it and know what I need to do to get better.”

The attitude is right, the team behind him is top grade so let’s be on when he wins!

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Matthias Schmid


Really? Yes.

We can tilt at windmills from week-to-week but, if looking for consistent returns and an expected win, let’s not pick them from the lottery basket yet.

The 24-year-old, whether Matthias or Matti (as he is now known) hasn’t been a well kept secret from many but if coming on again from a very encouraging first year at the top level, he should be landing a win or two in 2022.

As a well-decorated youngster, the German landed back-to-back titles at the European Amateur (at different locations) in 2019 and 2020, a year after European Tour winner Nicolai Hojgaard again proved the merit of the trophy, and further justifying his lofty reputation at the University Of Louisville where he recorded the second-best scoring average in the history of the college.

Bits and pieces on the ProGolf Tour were just a warm-up to qualification (as a Senior at college) for the U.S Open whilst his final couple of events as an amateur saw him finish 14th at his home Open – the BMW International – where he was 6th going into Sunday, and leading amateur at this year’s Open at Royal St. George’s.

In truth there is nothing kept hidden from punters and the record shows that in 11 starts as a pro, Schmid has two top-10s, three further top-20 finishes and a top-25. All that, of course, topped with that runner-up at the Dutch Open where he kept bogey free for 37 consecutive holes, from the 11th on Friday to the 13th on Payday, when he paid the ultimate price for a slightly wayward tee shot on the awkward par-three.

A run of 17-under through those holes shows he can go low when required and his stats for the last few tournaments give him a high standing in driving distance, greens-in-regulation and putting average. In new money, he is top-10 off-the-tee (distance and accuracy) and top-20 in approaches, all leading to that ranking in tee-to-green stats. Sure, there is a little to learn when missing the short stuff but that will surely come.

Attitude is right, the game looks top class and the win is surely just a handful of tournaments away.

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Ricardo Gouveia


Ok, I’ve had a soft spot for Ricardo Gouveia for several years now but there’s enough there to think he can finally make his mark on the new DP World Tour in 2022.

The former University of Florida graduate has been playing in the upper echelons for a while but never really clicked at the top level despite much expected of him after his appearance in the 2014 Palmer Cup side, where he contributed two wins from two singles matches and one from two in the pairs.

A regular winner on the Algarve Tour (where he first caught my eye) his transition to the Challenge Tour was seamless, winning the overall money list after a stellar 2015 season of 18 starts which constituted a couple of victories (including the concluding Grand Final), three runner-up finishes, two third-places and a handful of top-10s. Finishing the year with two top-20s in higher grade looked the perfect catalyst to kick on but it rarely works that way.

Despite managing to keep his card for the next few years, the Portuguese star never managed to find a consistent level of form, the odd-top-10 or 20 interspersed with too many bad tournaments. After a progressive decline in form, the inevitable happened and Gouveia lost his card.

Speaking in his blog on the European/DP Tour site the former top-100 ranked player admitted that he lost his appetite for the game after several personal problems and that even fairly recently he was ”really struggling: I was hitting it all over the place, I didn’t know where the ball was going, and I felt like I didn’t want to be there.”

Back with his old mental coach, the 30-year-old bounced back to top form on the Challenge Tour last season with two wins and seven top-10s, the highlight of those being a one-shot loss to eventual rankings champion, Marcus Helligkilde, after a second-round 74 knocked him back from fourth to 19th place.

We often laud the youngsters that come through and with the likes of the Hojgaard twins, Schmid, Helligkilde etc. often forget the importance of experience and, indeed, failure.

Whilst the latter-named Dane is certainly one to watch, Gouveia may well take inspiration from the likes of J.B Hansen, who he beat into fifth in the end-of-year table in 2015.

Almost exactly one year older, Hansen took a while to get to the top of his game and after several years grinding away has finally made his mark, winning the Joburg Open and the high-class Dubai Championship in a twelve-month period.

Gouviea has only sporadically demonstrated his talents on the big stage and should be the type that thrives on a course demanding accuracy – keep him in your notebooks, I can see a Kristoffer Broberg-type victory coming his way.

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Ewen Ferguson


Scottish golf is in a good place and it was hard to choose between the maidens that have made the main tour, now of course The DP World Tour.

With Robert McIntyre having won his first event and on to better things and Grant Forrest and Callum Hill winning over the last year or so, I looked at Connor Syme and Craig Howie as the next winner before settling on the lesser-known 25-year-old to grab a place or two at a big price.

The Glasgow-born player is the only golfer to have held the British Boys, Scottish Strokeplay and Matchplay titles at the same time, his win at Royal Liverpool in 2013 coming via a comprehensive 10 & 9 victory.  Winning the Scottish Champion of Champions and finishing in third place at the Irish Amateur Open led to a place on the 2016 Walker Cup team where he contributed one win from two singles matches (beating Maverick McNealy) in a comprehensive victory over a certain Bryson DeChambeau et al.

Fast forward a year and Ferguson is mixing it with the likes of former top amateur Julien Brun (watch him too now he is injury-free) and Adri Arnaus on the Alps Tour, whilst his initial full season on the Challenge Tour saw him land eight top-10 finishes from 27 starts.

A year later the Scot saw his best ever finish of a joint second at the Euram Open, just behind compatriot Hill, and that only a few weeks after a bronze medal at the Belgian Knockout event won by Guido Migliozzi.

A concluding top-15 at the Challenge Tour finale was enough to give him a first taste at the top level in 2020 but perhaps, and by his own admission, he wasn’t quite ready for the jump up.

Speaking with the respected golf journalist Martin Dempster, Ferguson stated that, “playing with some of the guys last year made me realise I have to work on this, this and that or I’m never going to be able to get there.”

It wasn’t a good year but perhaps that was the motivation for this former junior star and, although the step back to Challenge Tour remained a pressurised season, 27 starts led to 16 cuts made including two top-10s, a third-place finish and yet another runner-up in Austria – keep an eye out for him over there!

Sometimes there needs to be a shake-up in something to get rid of the old habits and bring in fresh ideas. It might be caddy, management or coach and Ferguson has opted for the latter.

Now working with Jamie Gough, this could be the year that another Scot strikes for gold. As he said himself, “even with my mates, the likes of Bob, Calum and Connor, I thought to myself, they can do this and I can’t. They do this and I don’t do it so well. So I’ve worked on a lot of things and I feel I can do it now, which feels good.”

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Leona Maguire


The LPGA Tour currently looks dominated by a handful of players, in particular the brilliant Jin Young Ko and Nelly Korda who split ten events between them in 2021 but if there is anyone likely to infiltrate them from outside of the U.S or Asia, it is surely the County Cavan born 27-year-old.

We speak of blossoming junior careers but in Maguire we have the perfect example of someone born to golf.

Opting for golf over swimming at a young age, Maguire rose to fame with her twin sister Lisa, both winning multiple junior events before being selected to bring the Ryder Cup on stage at the 2006 closing ceremony at the K Club.

It has never really ended from there, recording a runner-up at the Ladies European Masters as an amateur in 2015, and carding two bronze medals and four further top-20s in her first year as a professional at both the Symetra and Ladies European tours. That year had started with a record-breaking run as World Amateur number one, an honour that sat alongside more than a cabinet-full of trophies, awards and nominations.

It’s tough simply not to just list Maguire’s numerous achievements after that first year so I’ll keep it brief.

In 2019 she won twice on the Symetra Tour with a handful of top-five finishes and won the U.S Women’s Open qualifier, all contributing to her finishing seventh on the money list and gaining her LPGA card, something she justified with an early 2020 fourth placed finish in the Victorian Open on just her second full start.

The remainder of the season was hardly a disappointment with top-20 finishes at the Ladies Scottish Open and the Ana Inspiration, the latter the highest finish in a Major by a female golfer from the Republic of Ireland. Following that Major, Maguire made all the seven remaining cuts to comfortably keep her card to then see further improvement through 2021.

Many times has a progressive career been paused for whatever reason – personal, injury, whatever – but 2021 saw a further leap up the rankings for the much-honoured Maguire.

For the ‘standard’ year her record is impressive enough – two runner-up finishes, three top-10s and half-a-dozen top-20s – but that probably ranks somewhere behind her incredible debut at the 2021 Solheim Cup in Ohio.

Winning either of the main team events when overseas is a great effort but Maguire stood out from both the Solheim and Ryder Cups this year, landing 4.5 points from five (a record for a rookie in either event) by halving the fourball but winning both her foursomes games and her singles match, that by a huge margin of 5&4,

The ‘comedown’ after was to be expected but the 28th at the Pelican Women’s Championship doesn’t tell of her round-by-round positions (1-3-8 through the first three days) and the 12th place finish at the season-ending Tour Championship was a much-desired return to her top form.

I’m not sure we will get a huge price for this hugely impressive star, but given she can compete against the big guns when it counts, they may well help us grab that first win at a price big enough to pay for her inclusion here and one not to be seen for much longer.

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Ayaka Furue


As I write, the 21-year-old Japanese star is safely ensconced in the top ten of the LPGA Q-School final qualifiers*** and should she make it, and she will need a disaster not to, her name is on the list to follow for the next couple of seasons whatever happens in 2022.

It is merely a coincidence that Furue was also a high-class swimmer at junior level but this column is glad she chose golf!

Again, here we have a player with an excellent junior record, winning national events at all ages and finishing top-30 in her home Open Golf Championship in 2016 as an amateur. Of interest is that the winner, fellow amateur and compatriot Nasa Hataoka, followed up as a professional and subsequently went on to win twice and make the play-off of the U.S Womens Open this year.

On just her 18th start on the JLPGA Tour, Furue won the 2019 Fujitsu Ladies before turning professional and ending the season with a 4-2 finish, whilst a shortened 2020 season saw her notch up three wins and the same amount of runner-up finishes from just 14 starts. Rather like Leona Maguire, Furue hadn’t finished yet and this year saw her win the JLPGA rankings list and rank 15th on the Rolex World Rankings list.

The Summer saw this future star prospect finish in the top four at the high-class Major, the Evian Championship, whilst she was 15th going into the final day at the Women’s British Open before finishing top-20. Her last seven events on her home tour have seen three wins, two bronze medals and a fifth, her final victory at the Japan Classic particularly of note given previous winners include Hataoka and LPGA Major winners Shanshan Feng and Jiyai Shin.

All being well, Furue will be receiving a full-time position over in the States and I, for one, can’t wait to see how this excellent tee-to-green player adapts.

***After finishing this article, Furue went on to finish 7th at the LPGA Q-school and gained her card.

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Grant Hirschman

This is where it all gets interesting, with unexposed players mixing it with those that have lost their main cards, and prospects we may not see the best of for a number of years.

The list of ‘follows’ for the KFT is as long as any for the main tours but whilst the likes of Mark Anguiano and Vincent Norrman are of huge interest, the one-and-done for this column is the 26-year-old Oklahoma graduate.

It hasn’t quite happened yet for the collegiate star but  not everyone is a Collin Morikawa and progress is steady, and certainly latest form is enough to think he is ready to make his mark on the second-tier tour.

So far without a victory in a 70-event pro career, Hirschman, who played every college event for four years, can boast five top-10 finishes in that period and, as we know with this damned sport, it takes one piece of fortune to turn those into top-three finishes or better. Indeed, having been forced to arrange a journey into the KFT Q-school, the Oklahoma Sooner Monday-qualified for a place in the Sanderson Farm field in November.

Just a month ago Hirschman told the PGA Tour site that, in the Autumn of 2020, “I decided to chase the speed and I did, but I don’t know if I went about it 100% the right way because my accuracy went all over the place. I went from a guy that was always in the fairway to hitting it 15 or 20 yards further, but I was always off line and it just wasn’t worth it for me. I was playing out of the rough too much. I wasn’t used to it. Catching a lot more fliers. It was harder to control my ball.”

Changes take time and many tour players speak of the difficulty of seeing results when unable to have long periods of restructuring a swing, putting stroke or whatever, especially when playing and travelling from week-to-week. However, this may well have all paid dividends judged on a final-round 64 and a closing 4th at Panther Creek, and even more so when making that trip to the Sanderson Farms Championship and recording 70-67-66-69 for a top-20 finish and a top-11 ranking for both strokes gained around-the-green and for putting..

Results like these suggest something has clicked, they breed confidence and with a latest 10-under total at the final stages of the KFT Q-school for a lone seventh-place finish, this may be the catalyst for a run at the KFT title.

With 12 guaranteed starts on the tour, Hirschman will need to put in a couple of top-10s to get further invites but it looks like he is back in the right frame of mind and playing at the level he is known for.

“I need to believe that I truly belong out there on the PGA TOUR and a week like I had out there is a great reminder,” Hirschman said to Nick Parker of “My caddie, Ryan Boshoven, just kept reminding me the whole week that this is where you need to be each week. He said, ‘Look around, this is where you need to be. You belong. We didn’t do anything great this week, and you finished top 20. This is what you can do every single week.’”

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Calum Fyfe


As mentioned previously, Scottish golf is on a roll and the likes of European Tour winners Robert Macintyre, Grant Forrest, David Law and Callum Hill have all graduated from the Challenge Tour over the past three years. Here’s hoping 24-year-old Calum Fyfe is on the same journey.

As seems to be the way with the vast majority of young progressive players, Fyfe was a top-grade amateur in his field although early financial restrictions meant he could not fulfill many engagements outside of the British Isles. Nevertheless, he won most of the top Scottish amateur competitions, won and subsequently ran-up in the British Boys strokeplay and represented his home country in team events, all leading to the expectation he would be making his way through the grades soon enough.

It took time for him to get here with several seasons on the third-tier EuroPro Tour but after two early-season top-five finishes, he finally came good when posting a record 24-under to win the Castletown Golf Links in September.

Posting a third successive 64 in progressively windier conditions, thoughts immediately turn to his chance at Spey Heath for the Scottish Hydro tournament in a few months time and that’s an event he will no doubt target as one to prime himself for, but now he has proven himself a winner, it will be of huge interest to see how he goes on from here.

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