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Sport PGA Championship 2018: Why these 9 players could be poised to win their first major

18:30  08 august  2018
18:30  08 august  2018 Source:   golfdigest.com

These eight NHL teams are poised to either surprise or disappoint next season

  These eight NHL teams are poised to either surprise or disappoint next season The Blues, Knights and Bruins are among the teams that could catch you off guard in 2018-19, for better or for worseAnd while those surprises are often hard to predict -- if they weren't, they wouldn't be surprises -- there are often warning signs that become clearer with hindsight. But since it's the middle of summer and we're not patient enough to wait for hindsight to develop, let's take a crack at predicting which teams might surprise, for better and for worse, in the standings in the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Seven of the past nine PGA Championships have been captured by first -time major winners. Here are top players who could do it at Bellerive.

PGA Championship • May 11—17, 2020 • TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, CA, USA. PGA .COM is part of Bleacher Report - Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network.

Asked by anybody who the most likely winner of this week’s PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club might be, you'll find yourself first rattling off the familiar names—Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy—and onto the rest of the list of tournament favorites. Fact is, seven of the past nine PGA winners have earned their first major title at Glory’s Last Shot. So, perhaps we should expect a bit of the unexpected when it comes to a winner this week. You know guys like Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood are among the likely contenders who are looking for a career-defining title. Here are the nine players less obvious but most poised to make the PGA Championship their first major.

Rain presents more challenges for PGA Championship field

  Rain presents more challenges for PGA Championship field At Bellerive the fairways are pure but soft, which likely will deliver mud balls. With the course expected to be extremely soft, at least for the first two rounds, players will attack and low scoring should be had.Notice in locker room at PGA. Not sure how fast they can make them. Have been told there is no root structure under the greens. pic.twitter.com/2fy27HOZUB— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) August 7, 2018Related slideshow: Prepping for the PGA Championship 1/18 SLIDES © Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports 2018-8-6 pga prep spieth Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the sixth hole.

The 2018 PGA Championship was the 100th PGA Championship , held August 9 –12 at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Missouri, a suburb west of St. Louis. This was the second PGA Championship (1992) and third major (1965 U.S. Open) held at Bellerive.

Naturally, the PGA Championship — the final major of the year — has an incredibly strong field. Last year, 97 of the Top 100 players in the world teed it up at Quail Hollow. When the PGA of America released the tee times for the tournament Friday, there were quite a few pairings that caught our eye.

a person holding a baseball bat: AKRON, OH - AUGUST 05: Patrick Cantlay plays his shot from the second tee during the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Final Round at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 5, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)© Gregory Shamus AKRON, OH - AUGUST 05: Patrick Cantlay plays his shot from the second tee during the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Final Round at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 5, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Patrick Cantlay: About five years ago, some might've expected Cantlay to already have his maiden major title, given his 51 consecutive weeks atop the world amateur rankings. He seemed poised to be golf's next big thing. Then injury and tragedy happened. Given his hardships, it's pretty remarkable Cantlay is now playing at an elite level. The 26-year-old earned his first victory earlier this year at the Shriner's Hospital for Children Open, and he has been really good since. Four of the past five events, Cantlay has results in the top 20, with two of those finishes being top-6s. One of those was last week at the WGC-Bridgestone, where Cantlay finished second in proximity to the hole for the week. That should be a predictive stat this week, with Bellerive's incredible large greens and undulations. Proximity will yield birdies and pars. With this young stud's ball-striking pedigree, don't be surprised to see him in contention come Sunday.

PGA Championship 2018: U.S. captain Furyk to get a closeup view of Ryder Cup candidates Schauffele, Finau -- he's playing with them

  PGA Championship 2018: U.S. captain Furyk to get a closeup view of Ryder Cup candidates Schauffele, Finau -- he's playing with them PGA Championship 2018: U.S. captain Furyk to get a closeup view of Ryder Cup candidates Schauffele, Finau -- he's playing with them“We chuckled when we saw it,” Schauffele said Wednesday at Bellerive.

Who will win the 2018 major championships ? Winner: Rickie Fowler Why : Seven of the last eight PGA Champions have been first -time major winners, including the last three straight: Jason You can also bet that Spieth wants to beat Mickelson and McIlroy to that aforementioned career grand slam.

They could shape shots, which not many PLAYERS : Field list for the 101st PGA Championship . But who was the last player to win a major using a persimmon driver? When it comes to the PGA Championship , the late Payne Stewart was the last player to capture the Wanamaker Trophy while

OAKVILLE, ON - JULY 29: Tony Finau plays his shot from the first tee during the final round at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 29, 2018 in Oakville, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)© Vaughn Ridley OAKVILLE, ON - JULY 29: Tony Finau plays his shot from the first tee during the final round at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 29, 2018 in Oakville, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Tony Finau: You might as well refer to the big-hitting Utah native as the next Brooks Koepka. Finau has compiled an impressive resume of consistency in majors, similar to what Koepka's looked like before his breakthrough at Erin Hills. Take a look at Finau's major form: T-9; fifth place; T-10; T-44; T-27; MC; T-18; T-10; T-14. It seems like a matter of time before he breaks through on his own. On a layout that will reward distance, Finau's name pops off as a possible champion.

RELATED: PGA Championship: Our 10 favorite prop bets, odds, wagers and picks at Bellerive

AKRON, OH - JULY 31: Xander Schauffele plays a shot during a practice round prior to the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on July 31, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)© Sam Greenwood AKRON, OH - JULY 31: Xander Schauffele plays a shot during a practice round prior to the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on July 31, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Xander Schauffele: Overshadowed by other compelling storylines at Carnoustie was Schauffele nearly capturing the claret jug. Without his A game, Schauffele remained around the lead for the entirety of Sunday, scrapping it around more impressively than his playing competitor Jordan Spieth. The T-2 at Carnoustie and a T-6 at Shinnecock, plus a T-2 at this year's Players Championship, add up to some great big-time tournament form for the 24-year-old coming into Bellerive.

PGA Championship 2018: Jordan Spieth says easy conditions take away his advantage

  PGA Championship 2018: Jordan Spieth says easy conditions take away his advantage The three-time major champ would love to see tougher conditionsWell …

That's why picking from this 156- player field and narrowing it down to nine who will win is next to impossible. Regardless, I have thoughts and opinions on who is going to take down the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club just outside of St. Louis. Want to play a round in St. Louis?

The men's major golf championships , also known simply as the majors , are the four most prestigious events in professional golf. The competitions are the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open

a man holding a baseball bat: OAKVILLE, ON - JULY 28: Joaquin Niemann of Chile plays his shot from the fourth tee during the third round at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 28, 2018 in Oakville, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)© Minas Panagiotakis OAKVILLE, ON - JULY 28: Joaquin Niemann of Chile plays his shot from the fourth tee during the third round at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 28, 2018 in Oakville, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Joaquin Niemann: Maybe we haven't given the 19-year-old enough credit for his success in 2018. The breakout star from Chile just turned pro in May and earned temporary special status on the PGA Tour. In his small sample size, he has been one of the best on tour in the biggest predictive stat categories. Niemann's strokes-gained/approach the green stat (1.070) would rank him first on the PGA Tour if he had enough rounds to qualify (Keegan Bradley leads at 1.017). And Niemann would be fourth in strokes gained/tee-to-green; ninth in strokes gained/overall; and second in both proximity to the hole and greens in regulation. All of those facts might be enough to look past his lack of major experience. Pay serious attention to the 19-year-old breakout star from Chile.

a man wearing a hat: AKRON, OH - AUGUST 01: Kevin Chappellsmiles during a practice round prior to the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 1, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)© Sam Greenwood AKRON, OH - AUGUST 01: Kevin Chappellsmiles during a practice round prior to the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 1, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Kevin Chappell: Like Schauffele, Chappell battled impressively at Carnoustie to record a T-6, his second top-10 in a major since 2017 (the other a T-7 at the 2017 Masters). In terms of ball-strikers, Chappell ranks in the elite level in some important stats: 23rd in strokes gained/tee to green and 27th in strokes gained/approach. We've seen Chappell pop at the PGA Championship before—he led at Valhalla in 2014 after the first round with an opening 65. What course has some said reminds them of Bellerive? That'd be Valhalla. Maybe Chappell puts it all together this week and backs up his Carnoustie finish.

PGA Championship 2018: Jordan Spieth's career Grand Slam chances vanish with disastrous (and unusual) triple bogey

  PGA Championship 2018: Jordan Spieth's career Grand Slam chances vanish with disastrous (and unusual) triple bogey Jordan Spieth's career Grand Slam chances vanished with an ugly — and unusual — triple bogey on Saturday at the PGA Championship. Well, at least his chances at completing it this year.Jordan Spieth's career Grand Slam chances vanished with an ugly — and unusual — triple bogey on Saturday at the PGA Championship. Well, at least his chances at completing it this year.

Why he could win : This former world No. 1 is still grinding to improve and has proved he can play well in majors . He's a woeful 129th in strokes gained around the green this year, a core strength of his game in 2018 . He can overpower just about any course and can putt very well most of the time, but if

Final round tee times tee times for the 100th PGA Championship , being played at the Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis & conducted by the PGA of America. Woodland could also be in line for a breakthrough major victory with a win . Then there's the group of six players at eight under, five

a man holding a baseball bat on a field: CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 21: Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark lines up a putt on the third green during the third round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 21, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)© Stuart Franklin CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 21: Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark lines up a putt on the third green during the third round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 21, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Thorbjorn Olesen: Few players have been hotter this summer than the 29-year-old from Denmark. Olesen won the Italian Open for his fifth European Tour title and has finished in the top 12 of five of the seven events he has played since June. A final-round 64 last week at Firestone gives Olesen some additional momentum coming into St. Louis. Olesen re-emerged last year at the PGA Championship, grabbing a share of the lead after the first round at Quail Hollow. Maybe his stellar 2018 shows he can back up a hot round or two with a consistent weekend.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello holding a baseball bat: AKRON, OH - AUGUST 02: Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain plays his shot from the seventh tee during World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round One at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 2, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)© Gregory Shamus AKRON, OH - AUGUST 02: Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain plays his shot from the seventh tee during World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round One at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 2, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera Bello: Like Olesen, this talented European's name has a tendency to flash on the leaderboard at bigger events. His stat analysis tends to match nicely with what should translate to success at Bellerive. Bello ranks ninth in strokes gained/approaches, 12th in greens in regulation and 23rd in proximity to the hole this season on the PGA Tour. A major spotlight shouldn't be too bright for the Spaniard, given his Ryder Cup experience. He has an uninspiring major record this season, but given the Ryder Cup is just more than a month away, and a fellow European in Francesco Molinari just broke through, maybe Bello will be inspired at Bellerive.

VIDEO: Matt Wallace makes hole-in-one in Round 3 at PGA Championship

  VIDEO: Matt Wallace makes hole-in-one in Round 3 at PGA Championship The red numbers have been flying Saturday at the PGA Championship, but the vast majority have "only" been birdies. How about a hole-in-one? England's Matt Wallace ensured viewers of the year's final major saw an ace in the third round at Bellerive, as he stepped up to the tee at the par-3 16th and ripped a perfect shot that bounded right into the cup.Listen to this roar:ACE ! @mattsjwallace notches a hole-in-one on the par 3 16th! #PGAChamppic.twitter.

PGA Championship • August 9 —12, 2018 • Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, MO, USA. PGA .COM is part of Bleacher Report - Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network.

Three players will once again have a chance to etch their name into golf history and join the five With the PGA Championship moving to May, it could be just the change Spieth needs in order to capture the Wanamaker Trophy. MORE: The 13 players to win three legs of the career Grand Slam.

RELATED: PGA Championship: 9 sneaky picks to win at Bellerive

a man wearing a hat: AKRON, OH - AUGUST 04: Kyle Stanley plays his shot from the fifth tee during World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round Three at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 4, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)© Sam Greenwood AKRON, OH - AUGUST 04: Kyle Stanley plays his shot from the fifth tee during World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round Three at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 4, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Kyle Stanley: The track record in majors for this talented 30-year-old is really unimpressive. You should be willing to look past that. Stanley has had a great year. And he's on a short list of elite ball-strikers who should excel at Bellerive. He finished T-2 at Firestone last week, another Robert Trent Jones Sr. design, which should have comparable success.

a person holding a golf club: AKRON, OH - AUGUST 02: Aaron Wise plays his shot from the sixth tee during World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round One at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 2, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)© Gregory Shamus AKRON, OH - AUGUST 02: Aaron Wise plays his shot from the sixth tee during World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round One at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 2, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Aaron Wise: Talking about pure talent, Wise has it. We saw the 23-year-old rookie run away with a PGA Tour event this year at the AT&T Byron Nelson, so you would figure his name will pop up more often in bigger spots. Wise did finish T-6 last week at the Bridgestone, which was his first good result in a long time. Maybe Wise figured something out before he plays in just his third major championship.

Video: 9 Courses That Might Host a PGA Championship

7 best moments from Tiger's sensational final round .
After an astounding run toward the lead at the Open Championship in July, it was going to be tough for Tiger Woods to have an encore performance this weekend at Bellerive. However, he reminded the entire golfing world that he's the G.O.A.T for a reason, sending the fans into a frenzy with a final-round 64 to finish in second behind Brooks Koepka at the PGA Championship. After an astounding run toward the lead at the Open Championship in July, it was going to be tough for Tiger Woods to have an encore performance this weekend at Bellerive.

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