2016 Quicken Loans National: 10 Players to Watch

Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange

1. Rickie Fowler, United States

Rickie Fowler and his caddie Joe Skovron at the 2016 U.S. Open on June 16, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The highest-ranked player in the field this week at No. 6 in the world, Fowler has struggled with three consecutive missed cuts in the Players, the Memorial and the U.S. Open. He's too good for this to continue and could be ready to snap out of it at Congressional. Last year in the Quicken Loans National, he posted four rounds in the 60s and finished second, three shots behind winner John Merrick at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia. He also tied for 21st in 2013 at Congressional and tied for 13th in 2011 at Aronimink. Before his recent slump, Rickie posted six top-10 results this season, including a playoff loss to Hideki Matsuyama of Japan in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.


2. Patrick Reed, United States

Patrick Reed at the 2016 Masters Tournament on April 7, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Although Reed was another one of the top players who missed the cut in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, he leads the PGA Tour with nine finishes in the top-10 this season, including seconds in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Valero Texas Open. He is making his third start in the Quicken Loans National. Two years ago, he held the 54-hole lead before closing with a 77 at Congressional to slide to a tie for 11th. Reed is the fifth and odd-man-out for the U.S. Olympic team right now and needs a victory to close the gap on Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler if he wants to land on the team that goes to Rio in August.

3. Marc Leishman, Australia

Marc Leishman at the U.S. Open on June 18, 2016. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
The third-best Aussie in the world behind Jason Day and Adam Scott, Leishman finished in a tie for 18th in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, dragged down only by a 77 in the third round. It was his third straight finish in the top 20, as he also tied for 13th in the Dean & DeLuca Invitational and tied for 11th in the Memorial Tournament. Leishman, whose only victory on the PGA Tour came in the 2012 Travelers Championship, held the 36-hole lead in the 2014 Quicken Loans National at Congressional after a 66 but played the weekend in 73-74 and slid to a tie for eighth. He also tied for seventh in 2010, closing with 67-68, when the tournament was played at Aronimink in Pennsylvania.

4. Jim Furyk, United States

Jim Furyk at the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club on June 17, 2016. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
The 46-year-old Furyk showed that his game is coming around in his fifth tournament back from left wrist surgery when he closed with a 66 last week to tie for second in the U.S. Open before his home state (Pennsylvania) fans at Oakmont. That was his first top-10 result since a tie for fourth in the Deutsche Bank Championship last September during the FedEx Cup playoffs, a week before he went out because of the injury in the BMW Championship. Furyk, who claimed his 17th PGA Tour victory last year in the RBC Heritage, tied for third the first two years of what is now the Quicken Loans National and tied for seventh in the third playing of the event, all at Congressional, but has not cracked the top 30 in four appearances since.

5. Charley Hoffman, United States

Charley Hoffman at the 2016 Masters Tournament on April 8, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Making his ninth start in the Quicken Loans National, Hoffman finally finished in the top 10 in the tournament two years ago at Congressional when he shot 68-69 during the weekend to tie for third, one stroke out of the playoff in which Justin Rose of England beat Shawn Stefani. That was his best result in the tournament since he tied for 19th in 2007, its first year, when he shot 69-67 in the middle rounds. Hoffman captured the Valero Texas Open in April for his fourth victory on the PGA Tour during a stretch in which he finished in the top 20 in four of five tournaments. However, he missed the cut in the Players and tied for 37th in the U.S. Open, so he's trying to find that earlier form this week.

6. Byeong Hun An, South Korea

Trying to turn his Temporary Special Membership on the PGA Tour into full-time playing privileges, An will tee it up in the Quicken Loans National for the first time this week. The youngest U.S. Amateur champion at 17 when he won in 2009, he nearly earned a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour earlier this year when he lost in a playoff to Brian Stuard at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. An, who has won three times as a pro including the 2015 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on the European Tour, posted a solid tie for 23rd in the U.S. Open at Oakmont after tying for 11th in the Memorial Tournament. He also tied for ninth earlier this season in the WGC-Dell Match Play.


7. Brendan Steele, United States

File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
Steele's tie for 15th in the U.S. Open at Oakmont was his fourth top-20 result in his last five starts, also including a tie for 13th in the Valero Texas Open, a tie for 14th in the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 20th in the Memorial Tournament. His best result this season was a tie for third in the WGC-HSBC Champions, coming close to adding that to his only PGA Tour victory in the 2011 Valero Texas Open. Steele is making his fifth start in the AT&T National and he posted his best result in Tiger Woods' tournament two years ago at Congressional, when he bounced back from an opening 74 with a second-round 66 and eventually finished in a tie for fifth.

8. Kevin Chappell, United States

Still trying to break through for his first victory on the PGA Tour after finishing second three times this season and five times in his career, Chappell will make his sixth start in the Quicken Loans National. His best result was a tie for 18th last year at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia, where he tied for the 54-hole lead with eventual winner Troy Merritt by shooting 64-68-67 before closing with a 77. Chappell is 10th in the FedEx Cup point standings this season thanks to ties for second in the Players Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the RSM Classic. His only pro victory came in the 2010 Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae on what is now the Tour.


9. Bill Haas, United States

Bill Haas at the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia on April 8, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
One of Haas' six PGA Tour victories came in what was then the AT&T National in 2013 at Congressional, where he opened with a 70 before playing the last three rounds in 68-68-66 to win by three strokes over Roberto Castro. Last year, when the tournament was played at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia, he shot 64 in round three en route to a tie for fourth. Haas came close to adding to his victory total earlier this year when he shot 67-67 in the middle rounds of the Valspar Championship but couldn't hold the 54-hole lead, closing with a 72 and eventually losing to Charl Schwartzel of South Africa on the first playoff hole. That was one of his four finishes in the top 10 and seven in the top 25 this season.

10. Jon Rahm, Spain

After tying for 23rd to finish as low amateur in the U.S. Open last week at Oakmont in his first major, Rahm will make his pro debut this week in the Quicken Loans National. The 21-year-old, who was No. 1 in Golfweek's Men's College and Men's Amateur rankings, had 11 victories in his career at Arizona State, second only to Phil Mickelson's 16. Rahm, who captured the 2014 World Amateur Championship and won the Spanish Amateur Championship the last two years, received the Ben Hogan Award as the best college golfer in the nation the last two years. He has played in five PGA Tour events in the last two seasons, with his best result a tie for fifth in the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and he also tied for 10th in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba earlier this season.


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