Punch Shot: Pick for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year


Emiliano Grillo last week became the third player in four years from the famed high school class of 2011 to win the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year Award, following Jordan Spieth (2013) and Daniel Berger (2015). Could another one of their classmate's follow up in 2016? Who will take home this season's ROY honors? Our writers weigh in:


Ollie Schniederjans.

Another member of the heralded high school class of 2011, Schniederjans still boasts tons of potential – as much as Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas – even if it has taken him until now to reach the PGA Tour. The former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world spent all four years in school and, at times, took his lumps. But it proved good preparation for a professional career that will be filled with adversity.

The 22-year-old apprenticed for a year on the Web.com Tour, winning once, and impressed observers with his firepower off the tee and relentless approach. He might endure a few lulls – after all, he missed eight cuts in 20 Web.com starts last season – but he has shown an uncanny ability to make the most of his opportunities when in contention. 


The race for this season’s PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award will likely come down to which University of Alabama product makes the smoothest transition to the big leagues.

Both Trey Mullinax and Bobby Wyatt are a year removed from Tuscaloosa and have the potential to be impact players in 2016-17 from what many believe to be a deep rookie class, but Mullinax has the edge among the year’s first-timers.

The 24-year-old had a consistent, if not flashy, season on the Web.com Tour to earn his Tour card, winning the Rex Hospital Open in May and finishing in the top 25 in six of 22 starts.

He also has all the tools to be a contender on Tour - ranking last season seventh in driving distance (318 yard average), third in putting average, and 25th in scoring average (69.71) - and he's already off to a solid start, finishing tied for 22nd at the season-opening Safeway Open.

As Grillo proved last year, an early victory can go a long way in the ROY race and Mullinax will be among the favorites later this fall at the RSM Classic, where he tied for 26th last season in just his third Tour start.


He may not have won last year on the Web.com Tour, but C.T. Pan had a remarkably solid season that sets him up well to make a big splash as a rookie.

Pan had a standout amateur career, both at the University of Washington and in elite amateur events. He turned pro last year and promptly ascended through the Web.com ranks, finishing 11th on the season-long money list. What’s more, his finishing kick was strong: six results of T-11 or better over his final 10 starts.

Pan turns 24 next month, and his game has few flaws. He finished second in the all-around ranking last season on the Web.com Tour, ninth in putting, and 12th in ball-striking.

He may not have had as flashy of an amateur career as peers like Bryson DeChambeau or Jon Rahm, but Pan’s talent didn’t leave him far behind. Expect him use the next 10 months or so to ensure his name joins theirs in any discussion of the PGA Tour’s latest crop of young talent.