Primed for a breakout: Eight players to break out in 2019

Looking for players primed for a big 2019? Here's who we like to have breakout campaigns in the new year.


Sports fans love to gush over new players. Whether it is an exciting rookie or a seasoned vet that has finally broken through, these stories peak the interest of enthusiasts in an unparalleled way.
Adam Thielen is a perfect example of this phenomenon in the NFL. An undrafted free agent in 2013, Thielen earned a contract with the Vikings and essentially walked onto an NFL team. He served as a special teams player for the majority of his first four seasons and then burst into the national spotlight in 2017. Now 28 years old, Thielen is widely considered one of the best wide receivers in the league.
Golf has the rare opportunity to create a new Adam Thielen every week. PGA Tour victories are extremely hard to come by but those who claim them reach a new height in the world of golf. All of the hard work and dedication is finally rewarded.
This fall season has already given us Kevin Tway and Cameron Champ, but they are not the only up-and-comers primed for breakout seasons in 2019.

Sam Ryder – 28 Years Old – Florida Native – Joggers Wearer

Joggers or no joggers, Sam Ryder flushes the ball and should find himself in the hunt a great deal.

Ryder has been slowly learning his way in professional golf. This 2nd year PGA Tour pro spent time on the Mackenzie and Web.com Tours before earning his way to the big show. He makes a ton of bridies and has four top 10s in his last nine PGA Tour events. He finished one shot out of the playoff at the Safeway and then fired a final round of 62 to finish 3rd in Vegas. Ryder is currently top 5 in strokes gained tee-to-green and when he makes putts he will find himself in contention.
(For the record, The Fried Egg crew is split on his joggers, but I am working hard to enlighten my colleagues who are stuck in the fashion dark ages.)

C.T. Pan – 27 Years Old – Chinese Taipei – C.T. does not stand for Chinese Taipei

Although the shortest on this list at 5’6” (ahem, Skip Bayless), C.T. might just be the one who has me highest. He was one of the best players in the country in college and has been on a consistent trend as a professional. Pan needed just half a season on the Mackenzie Tour to earn a Web card and just one season on the Web to earn his PGA Tour card. He finished 88th on the FedExCup list in 2017 and 35th last year, narrowly missing out on a trip to East Lake. He has made jumps in nearly every strokes gained category over the last two years and will certainly find himself atop a leaderboard sometime soon.

Abraham Ancer – 27 Years Old – Mexico – Rich man’s Allen Iverson

Putting Abe on this list is sort of cheating. He just won the Australian Open in November but will be looking for his first PGA Tour victory in 2019. Ancer has come a long way since his junior college days and has the ability to grind out scores with the best of them. He has six top 10s in his last thirteen events and is putting the lights out this fall. Abe is up to 60th in the world rankings and will have his sights set on earning a Masters invite this spring.

Beau Hossler – 23 Years Old – CA – Dresses like your dad

Beau Hossler found himself in contention quite a few times in 2019

It is only a matter of time for Beau Hossler. He earned a PGA Tour card last year without status on any tour and worked his way to a top 50 FedExCup finish. He nearly got his first win in Houston in 2018 but lost a playoff to Ian Poulter. Hossler still notched five top 10s and eight top 25s in his first full season. He has been very impressive during the first two round of events and it is only a matter of time before he puts it together on the weekends.

JJ Spaun – 28 Years Old – CA – Looooves Disneyland

Of all the human teddy bears out there JJ Spaun is one of the best. Spaun has risen to the PGA Tour through the Mackenzie Tour and the Web but has been on a consistent trajectory. He has thirteen top 25s and nineteen missed cuts over the last couple years, a very boom-or-bust style of golf. His strokes gained approach numbers are on the right track and he makes a lot of birdies – strong stats if you are going to win on tour.

Keith Mitchell – 26 Years Old – TN – Love child of Hudson Swafford and Harris English?

Swafford (left), Mitchell (center) and English (right)

The 2019 season is young but Keith Mitchell has put together strong strokes gained numbers through four events. The second year player is in the top 15 in SG off the tee, around the greens, and putting. Unfortunately he is 211th in strokes gained approach. The Georgia grad has also averaged 4+ birdies each of the last three seasons in professional golf. Mitchell is a streaky player but was able to get into contention a few times during his first year on tour. When he tightens up the iron game he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Luke List – 33 Years Old – WA – Cameron Champ’s biggest rival

 The saying “if they would just make a few putts they would win” is severely over used. Obviously if a world class player rolls in a few they will be in contention. HOWEVER, if Luke List would just make a few putts he would be amazing. List is known for his prodigious length off the tee but has always struggled near and on the greens. For three years, he has not finished better than 148th in strokes gained putting. Still, he has increased his top 10s each of those last three seasons and came close to a win at the Honda in 2018. He already has two top 5 finishes this year.

Corey Conners – 26 Years Old – Ontario, Canada – Huge hockey fan (true Canadian)

I am very excited about the crop of Canadian players. Adam Hadwin already has a victory, and now we also have Corey Conners, Adam Svensson, Austin Connelly, and Ben Silverman making their rise. Conners has shown the most promise but has gotten in his own way a few times. His best chance last season was when he lead after 54 holes at the Valspar but a final round pairing with Tiger went sideways quickly. Similar to List, Conners needs to improve a little on and around the greens but he can compete with anyone off the tee and approaching the green.
These players embody a mix of attributes that are high valued on Tour. Bombers such as List, Conners and Mitchell have the ability to overpower golf courses. Meanwhile, Pan, Ryder, Spaun, Ancer and Hossler are extremely consistent from tee to green and by no means short. Buy low on these players for a big 2019.