PGA TourOctober 26, 2015

On the PGA Tour, these guys rookies are good

Emiliano Grillo? Smylie Kaufman? If you've found yourself wondering who these players winning on the PGA Tour are the past two weeks, you're not alone. Here's what Golfweek Senior Writer Alex Miceli tweeted during Sunday's final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open:

Again, that's the senior writer of a major golf publication.

Of course, we should all expect surprises in the fall portion of the PGA Tour's wrap-around season, now in its third session. From Jimmy Walker in 2013 to Robert Streb last year, this softer section of the schedule has been the springboard to some unlikely great campaigns. But so far, 2015 has been even more of an eye-opener.

Kaufman's Sunday 61 in just the second start of his rookie season was nothing short of remarkable. The 23-year-old LSU product who earned his card through the Tour was nine under over his final 11 holes, and then watched everyone from veterans Kevin Na and Jason Bohn to fellow rookies Patton Kizzire and Brett Steigmaier try (and fail) to catch him for the next two-plus hours.

"That was much more stressful than playing," Kaufman said after. "That was like watching an LSU game."

Since 2010, only Tommy Gainey at the 2012 McGladrey Classic (T-29) came from farther back after 54 holes to win than Kaufman, who began the final round in Vegas at T-28. Quite a way to start your PGA Tour career.

And quite a way to start a new PGA Tour season. Kaufman followed in the footsteps of fellow 23-year-old rookie Emiliano Grillo, who won the season opening Open the previous week. It's just the second time since 1960 that two rookies have won the first two full-field events of a PGA Tour season. In contrast, only one rookie, Nick Taylor, won during the 2014-15 season.

From Kaufman to Grillo, this year's class of PGA Tour first-timers has the potential to be historically great. So get cracking on studying up on these new guys. The next tournament is just a few days away.

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