PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – When discussing the newest crop of promising prospects on the PGA Tour, don’t forget about Patrick Rodgers.
Sure, other players from his Web.com Tour graduating class have already beaten him into the winner’s circle, as has his roommate Justin Thomas. But Rodgers, 23, is off to a strong start in his first full season, with three straight top-20 finishes entering this week’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
He appears in position to continue that streak in Mexico, having followed an opening 67 with a 5-under 66. Rodgers took advantage of the calm conditions afforded to the morning’s first threesome, and at 9 under he trails Graeme McDowell by three shots.
“I feel like I can generate a lot of birdies out here,” Rodgers said. “I had the mindset that I was going to have some good conditions today, and I needed to take advantage.”
Rodgers played last season knowing that every start counted, as he had only a handful of sponsor exemptions at his disposal after winning early in the Web.com season. He was able to earn his PGA Tour card, and while his unique status situation left him ineligible for both the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Web.com Tour Finals, the unexpected break clearly didn’t cost him any momentum.
“I just feel like I’m being really patient,” he said. “It’s nice now at the start of the season, knowing how many tournaments I can play this year, able to set my schedule. I’m not playing with so much pressure week to week, so it’s been nice.”
Rodgers has had several brushes with contention in his fledgling career, notably a runner-up finish at the Wells Fargo Championship in May and a T-6 finish at the Frys.com Open last month. A breakthrough win, he asserts, isn’t far away.
“I’ve been here a lot of times now,” he said. “I’ve put myself in this position week after week, so definitely learning a lot on the weekends, and I have a lot of confidence that I can finish a tournament off.”