ACE Venturer looks ahead to the new year and picks out four golfers on the European Tour that could make a big impact in 2018.
One man who caught my eye last year was 27-year-old Swede Alexander Bjork. Last season was Bjork’s rookie season but you wouldn’t have known it.
He had three top-10 finishes and was quite consistent all season. In overall scoring he was T3 on the Tour at 112 under par and finished in the top 20 no fewer than 11 times.
He finished 43rd in the Race to Dubai which is no mean feat for a rookie. He is determined to improve on that position this season. The highlight for him last season was a T3 at the HNA French Open and if he continues improving this year I wouldn’t be surprised if he collects his first European title soon.
- Driving Accuracy: 60.6% (62nd)
- Greens in Regulation: 68.6% (78th)
- Putts per Round: 29.0 (29th)
European Tour winner Bernd Wiesberger defeated Tommy Fleetwood at the Shenzen International last year to win his fourth Tour win. It took him to the first extra hole to defeat the Englishman who had come from eight shots back, shooting a 63.
With one win and five top 10s last season you couldn’t say it was a bad one for the Austrian but he is capable of doing better. In seasons 2015 and 2016 he had career-best finishes (9th) in the Race to Dubai and last season was 14th.
His putting last season wasn't too hot and if he can make a few more putts he will be contention a lot more. I’m expecting big things from the 32-year-old and will be following him.
- Driving Accuracy: 63.8% (35th)
- Greens in Regulation: 71.9% (26th)
- Putts per Round: 30.0 (153rd)
It was always going to be hard for Alex Noren to emulate his 2016 season. In five months from July he had four wins and two top-10 finishes. He played some sublime golf that season while winning the Scottish Open, European Masters, British Masters and the Nedbank, all big tournaments.
Although winning the BMW PGA Champions last year it wasn’t the best of seasons for the Swede. He has never been the most accurate off the tee but made up for it with the GIR stats. Unfortunately last season his GIR stat was down six per cent which was poor.
- Driving Accuracy: 58.9% (86th)
- Greens in Regulation: 66.5% (112th)
- Putts per Round: 29.3 (53rd)
Another player who burst on to the scene last year was American Austin Connelly when at The Open he got into the mix on the Saturday. Unfortunately he faded with a 73 but still finished T14.
A couple of months later he was unlucky not to win the KLM when two 66s in the final two rounds saw him finish second and one shot off the lead. Accuracy off the tee and putting are his strong points and will be worth following as the season progresses.
- Driving Accuracy: 63.4% (37th)
- Greens in Regulation: 66.7% (112th)
- Putts per Round: 29.1 (39th)
Who's year do you think it'll be on the European Tour in 2018? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments section below.