Nine players seeking a first win on the PGA Tour: Can they hit the big time in Las Vegas?

Will Zalatoris has thrived at the top level, but a first win has so far eluded him – like the other eight on this list he’s hoping to change that situation at TPC Summerlin this week.

It's been a strange couple of years for Will Zalatoris.

He started it by proving himself far too good for the second tier and then announced himself at the top level with a series of stunning performances in the game's elite events.

It's astonishing to think that last summer he was more or less completely unknown to the wider golfing world and before spring was out he had landed three top 10s in the Majors.

For all his impressive efforts, however, the win has been stubbornly resistant to his charms.

This week's Shriners Children's Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas has been a happy hunting ground for golfers seeking a first win in the big time - it's where Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Patrick Cantlay lifted their first silverware.

Can Zalatoris join their ranks? And, if not, who else might do so instead?

Let's take a look.

Will Zalatoris

The 2020/21 Rookie of the Year, an honour earned off the back of finishing sixth in the US Open, second at the Masters, eighth at the PGA Championship and adding another eight top 20 finishes.

If all of that is good news, the less good news is that he set up that opportunity with a superb Korn Ferry Tour 2020 that included 10 top 10, but … just the one win.

In finishing ninth for SG Tee to Green last season he proved what a supreme long game he possesses, but has also been all too clear that his putting needs work.

There was hope, however, late in the season.

Following injury at the Open he spent considerable time on the greens with his coach and they discovered that he'd been playing the season with a damaged putter face.

Likely breakthrough? Of his top seven PGA Tour results, three came in Majors, one in the WGC, another at a Major host and a sixth at Arnold Palmer's place. In other words, he likes a big occasion.

Not without hope this week either. He's opened 2021/22 with two top 20s and he was tied fifth in the Shriners last year.

Scottie Scheffler

Another youngster with a bold long game (T21st SG Tee to Green last season), but who also needs to improve on the greens (107th for SG Putting).

So far, like Zalatoris, Scheffler has thrived at the top level; since the return to action from lockdown he's played six Majors, always finished in the top 20 and four of them were top 10.

And he's reiterated his class in the World Golf Championships, making four starts in the same period, all of them reaping top 20s, two of them top fives including second in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Again, like Zalatoris, another of his top performances came at the home of a legend - in his case, a near-miss at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village.

The first win might not come this week if his past two visits are anything to go by: he was T74th in 2019 and missed the cut 12 months ago.

Doug Ghim

Deja vu: another youngster who flushes it (21st for SG tee to Green and Approach last year)and can't putt (158th for SG Putting).

He finished tied eighth at Crans on an early visit to the European Tour and was also third at the Colombia Championship in Bogota. Does that indicate a fondness for heights?

That clue might lead us to Las Vegas this week (which is higher than you might think at 610m), but he missed the cut on debut three years ago and hasn't been back since.

Joseph Bramlett

One of only a handful of non-winners to rank top 50 (49th) for SG Tee to Green last season which is indication enough of his quality.

The flipside is that he had to go back to the Korn Ferry Tour finals to regain his playing status, but he achieved that in style with victory in the Tour Championship.

He's actually got three top three finishes in his last five starts on the second tier. What he needs to do is transfer that form to the higher level.

Two of those results were on Bermuda greens in Florida and he's played well in the Corales Puntacana on the PGA: top 10 through 36 holes in 2020 and T13th this year (note in the diary for March).

Played this event twice, yet to land a top 40 but has made the cut both times and did thrash a Saturday 64 last year (his first appearance was 10 years ago).

Talor Gooch

The 29-year-old missed the cut in his opening start of 2021, at the Sony Open, but played the weekend in 18 of his next 21 strokeplay starts.

He owns a strong record on Poa Annua in California: three top 20s at Riviera, 4-for-4 at Torrey Pines including third in 2019 and he opened this season with fourth at Silverado (note in the diary for late January/February).

Finished T17th back in 2017 at Summerlin, but has gone backwards since: T71st in 2019, missed cut last year.

Denny McCarthy

The Maryland golfer is a contrast to many in this list in that he's a fine putter. That said, he needs the right grass and, unlike Gooch, that's not Poa Annua. In fact, he's terrible on it.

On the other hand, he's excellent on Bermuda.

He won the 2018 Tour Championship in Florida and he has PGA top 20s at San Antonio, Southwind, Jackson, Innisbrook, Houston, Sea Island, Sedgefield, PGA National and Harbour Town.

He's played the opposite field events on Caribbean islands extremely well: fourth and T26th at Corales in the Dominican Republic, T15th and fourth at Port Royal in Bermuda.

He was also tied second heading into last week's final round. If he learned a lesson, bear him in mind for Bermuda in a few weeks.

Unless he strikes this week instead. He's making a sixth start and has two top 15 finishes in the last three years.

Mito Pereira

A double winner on the KFT in June and he transferred that form to the top level almost immediately.

The Chilean logged back-to-back top sixes on the PGA Tour in July, missed out on a bronze medal at the Olympics after a play-off, and opened the new season with third at the Fortinet Championship.

His success is an overnight success that's taken a long time.

He made little impression on the KFT in 2017 and 2018, took a step back to the LatinoAmerica Tour, used that experience to rebound, won in Colombia back on the second tier in early 2020, and has never looked back.

A course debutant this week, but as a Santiago native he'll be used to almost the exact same altitude.

Sahith Theegala

Back-to-back top tens at the back end of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour finals earned the 23-year-old a first crack at the PGA Tour.

He's been well-touted for a long time and last year won the Haskins, Hogan and Nicklaus Awards, the first man to win all three collegiate honours in the same year.

Last week he found himself one shot clear after 54 holes in the Sanderson Farms Championship, but slipped back to eighth with a 71.

He'll make his debut this week.

Chad Ramey

Making just his fifth PGA Tour start this week and has opened the season with a missed cut followed by T63rd.

Not so surprising for a rookie, maybe, and yet a bit of a bolt from the blue for a man who has made playing the weekend something of a regular occurrence the last two years.

In fact, in 43 second tier starts in those 22 months he missed just three cuts (two of them in his first four starts).

Being third for Greens in Regulation last season helped set up that consistency and also log 21 top 20 finishes (and victory in June this year).

Warning - in that time his three starts at altitude read: MC-T35th-T56th.

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