On the heels of a three week run featuring two small-field signature events and the U.S. Open, many PGA Tour players with limited status have found themselves somewhat sidelined. With a 156-player field and many of the Tour’s top players taking time off, this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic provides an opportunity for those players who haven’t had many in nearly a month. As we’re nearing the closing stretch of the PGA Tour regular season, it’s a chance to check in on some of the game’s non-stars competing in the Rocket Mortgage Classic who are performing well this season.

Aaron Rai – Rai has a unique statistical profile. Though he lacks some speed, he’s one of the most accurate drivers of the golf ball on tour. Over the course of his professional career, Aaron has progressively become a better iron player, currently ranking seventh on the PGA Tour this season Strokes Gained: Approach, marking a significant leap after he ranked 46th in 2021-22 and 35th in 2022-23.

He is a steady, consistent ball-striker, posting two top-10 finishes this season while making the cut in 11 of his last 13 PGA Tour starts. Rai’s primary deficiency is his putter, a weakness which keeps him from contending on a more regular basis. He opened yesterday with a bogey-free 66 (-6), two behind 18-hole leader Akshay Bhatia. He could factor late in this tournament as he mounts a push to make the Playoffs, which begin in just over a month.

Davis Thompson – Having turned 25 at the beginning of June, Davis Thompson is an exciting young prospect. A well-rounded player with plenty of firepower, Thompson has the game and the pedigree to compete on a wide range of golf courses. With a 2020 Jones Cup win, multiple collegiate titles, and a Korn Ferry Tour victory under his belt, the former top-ranked amateur in the world has demonstrated a knack for winning at every level of his young career.

Now in his second full season on the PGA Tour, Thompson seems to have found his footing. Most notably, he finished T-9 in his most recent start at the U.S. Open, gaining strokes on the field at Pinehurst in every category. He also finished tied for runner-up at the Tour’s opposite field event in Myrtle Beach back in May, one of the 13 cuts he’s made in 18 starts this year.

Thompson currently sits 58th in the FedEx Cup standings, putting him in position for a late-season run at cracking the top 50 and earning a spot into all of next year’s signature events. He opened with a 68 (-4) on Thursday in Detroit, and is certainly a player to keep an eye on both for the rest of this tournament and going forward.

Keith Mitchell – Three players currently rank in the top 10 in both Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Strokes Gained: Approach in 2024: Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Keith Mitchell. Since Mitchell played his first season on the PGA Tour in 2017-18, he’s been an elite driver of the golf ball, ranking in the top 10 in SG: Off the Tee for more seasons than not.

The huge difference for Mitchell this season is his remarkable jump in iron play. In six full seasons on the PGA Tour prior to 2024, Mitchell had lost strokes per round with his irons in four seasons, typically ranking towards the bottom of the Tour. Last season, he ranked 160th out of 193 qualified players. This season he’s ninth, by far the best mark of his career. He’s absolutely flushing the ball, which has led to eight finishes between ninth and 20th across 16 starts this calendar year. Keith has been quite consistent, he just hasn’t been a factor late in golf tournaments.

Why? Well, his short game and putting just haven’t been at a level good enough to compete late on Sundays. Keith opened with a 70 (-2) yesterday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name climb the board over the next three days.

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.