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2012 Top Rookies: Bae is a Type A Rookie

Greg Vara

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

Sang-moon Bae
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,000,000
2012 Outlook: Bae is legit, at least according to his World Ranking, which is No. 30. According to the Japan Tour website, he's 170cm, weighs 77kg and his blood type is A, which could come in handy, you know, if you're ever in a position to provide first aid. Anyhow, not many rookies come to the PGA Tour with a double-digit ranking, let alone one in the Top 30, so Bae should be considered as option on your team this season.

Ted Potter Jr.
2012 Projected Earnings: $900,000
2012 Outlook: Much like another southpaw that we all know and love, Bubba Watson, Ted Potter Jr. is also gaining access to the PGA Tour via his fine performance on the Nationwide Tour, but that's where the comparisons end. Potter ranked 89th on the Nationwide Tour in driving distance, which makes his runner-up finish on the money list even more impressive. Potter gets around the course by hitting greens and putting well, and that's a formula that translate to any level of golf.

Harris English
2012 Projected Earnings: $800,000
2012 Outlook: For those keeping track, English enters the PGA TOUR just six spots behind Briny Baird on the Official World Golf Ranking list. So how did a rookie even find himself on this list? Well, Harris won his third start on the Nationwide Tour last season - as an amateur He turned pro just after that victory and had more success, including a runner-up finish and a third-place finish. In all, he had three Top-3s in only seven starts. English looks like a quality player and has the potential to do some damage on the PGA Tour this season.

Russell Knox
2012 Projected Earnings: $800,000
2012 Outlook: In just his first full-season on the Nationwide Tour, Knox played extremely well and earned his way onto the PGA Tour. Knox started his 2011 season with a runner-up finish, but he didn't let complacency set in. He went on to win his first title in July and only missed one cut after that win. Knox could be a sneaky sleeper this year as he'll come in well under the radar.

Jason Kokrak
2012 Projected Earnings: $800,000
2012 Outlook: Talk about upside. In only 16 events on the Nationwide Tour last season, Kokrak won twice and collected five Top-10s. This after missing the cut in three of his first four events. Whatever he did after those first four events, he needs to keep doing, because with that kind of high-end ability, he has a chance to finish in the Top 125 this season.

Seung-yul Noh
2012 Projected Earnings: $700,000
2012 Outlook: Noh was the leading money-winner on the Asian Tour last season, and while that doesn't often translate well to the PGA Tour, he has a step up on most of his classmates because he's actually won a couple professional events. He's also made the cut in seven of his 11 appearances on the PGA Tour. Noh qualified for the PGA TOUR through Q-School where he finished third.

Eric Compton
2012 Projected Earnings: $700,000
2012 Outlook: Straight outta Coral Gables, Compton who's played in 30 PGA Tour events, will start his first official season as a member in January. Compton is one of the few rookies who won't need much time to adjust to life on the PGA Tour as he's played nearly a full season throughout the course of his career. He's actually had more success than some full-time members. In 29 starts, he's made 17 cuts, if he can continue that pace this year, he might just make the Top 125.

J.J. Killeen
2012 Projected Earnings: $700,000
2012 Outlook: Jamie Lovemark, Michael Sim, Matt Bettencourt, Richard Johnson and Ken Duke. Those are your last five Nationwide Tour money list leaders. Not exactly a who's-who of the golfing world. Sure, the names are familiar, but outside of Duke, none made much of a splash. While Killeen looks like a solid player, it's best not to get too excited. Odds are, he'll finish higher than most rookies on the money list this season, but that's doesn't guarantee that he'll even make the Top 125.

Danny Lee
2012 Projected Earnings: $700,000
2012 Outlook: Lee joins the PGA TOUR this season via his sixth-place finish on the Nationwide money list in 2011. Lee earned his spot on the money list by playing extremely consistent golf the entire year. He finished inside the Top 10 in half of his 18 events. He'll have to set his sights a little lower this year, but if he can turn those Top-10s into Top-25s on the PGA Tour this season, he'll find his way into the Top 125.

Scott Brown
2012 Projected Earnings: $550,000
2012 Outlook: Brown was a hit-or-miss player on the Nationwide Tour last season as he missed the cut often but also played well enough to creep into the Top 10 on the money list. While it's hard to bank on hit-and-miss golfers, they often find success early in their careers. Look for Brown to put it all together a couple times this season.

Roberto Castro
2012 Projected Earnings: $500,000
2012 Outlook: Castro is one of two double-qualifiers this year. He qualified as one of the Top-25 on the Nationwide Tour last season, but he also gave Q-School a try to improve his PGA Tour status. Castro has played well on the Nationwide Tour the last couple seasons, but he didn't have the high-end finishes you'd like to see. He'll probably make a good share of cuts this season, but don't expect much on the weekends.

Jonas Blixt
2012 Projected Earnings: $500,000
2012 Outlook: Blixt has yet to win on the Nationwide Tour, but he came close several times last season, finishing with three runner-ups. A win on the resume is not a prerequisite for joining the the PGA Tour, but it sure is nice knowing that you are capable of closing out an event, at whatever level. Blixt appears to have enough talent to make a couple runs this season, but it's doubtful he'll have many high-end finishes this season.

Miguel Angel Carballo
2012 Projected Earnings: $350,000
2012 Outlook: It only took 20 years, but we've finally got another Miguel Angel on the PGA Tour. If this Miguel Angel can accomplish a fraction of what his predecessor has, then this season will be a success. Carballo had a slow start to his Nationwide season last year, but a strong finish that included a win and a runner-up finish was enough to vault him into the Top 10 on the money list. After a strong finish to the 2011 season, there's a chance that Carballo starts the season well this year, though sustained success is unlikely.

Tommy Biershank
2012 Projected Earnings: $250,000
2012 Outlook: Biershank is the oldest of the Q-School grads this year, making his PGA Tour debut at age 38. Biershank wasn't all that impressive on the Nationwide Tour last season, so it's tough to imagine he'll make much of a splash on the PGA Tour this season.

Charlie Beljan
2012 Projected Earnings: $250,000
2012 Outlook: Credit Beljan, he knows how to win. Unfortunately, his wins have come on the Gateway Tour. Winning doesn't come easy to everyone, and the fact that he's closed out professional events on several occasions is a good sign. That said, this is whole different ball game and much like many of his classmates, Beljan likely will struggle to make the adjustment to the PGA Tour.

Gary Christian
2012 Projected Earnings: $250,000
2012 Outlook: Christian is the oldest Nationwide Tour grad by a whopping eight years. The 40-year-old rookie will tee it up this January in his first PGA Tour start. Christian will turn 41 this season and while we could bore you with the stats, it's probably pointless because 41-year-olds don't come out of nowhere and have success on the PGA Tour.

Billy Hurley III
2012 Projected Earnings: $250,000
2012 Outlook: There's not much to Hurley on the course. He had a handful of Top-10s last season on the Nationwide Tour and barely snuck into the Top 25. His prospects for this season don't look great.

Brian Harman
2012 Projected Earnings: $200,000
2012 Outlook: Harman's joining the PGA Tour in 2012 is the baseball equivalent of a rookie getting called up from Double-A. Harmon played on the obscure Egolf Professional Tour last season. There's no reason a Nationwide Tour grad couldn't capture a win or two in his first season, but Harman is coming from nowhere essentially and it probably will take some time to adjust.

Mark Anderson
2012 Projected Earnings: $150,000
2012 Outlook: Anderson qualified via Nationwide Tour and Q-School. The main reason he tried to improve his status was his spot on the Nationwide money list last season, which was 22nd. Anderson was just an average player on the Nationwide Tour, so there's no reason to think he'll step up his game once he gets called up to the big leagues.

Will Claxton
2012 Projected Earnings: $100,000
2012 Outlook: Claxton really came out of nowhere to grab his PGA Tour card for the upcoming season. He played only a handful of events on the Nationwide Tour last season and didn't accomplish much in his time there. Claxton looks like a player who got hot at the right time and earned his card, but it's doubtful he'll have much success this season on the PGA Tour.

Edward Loar
2012 Projected Earnings: $100,000
2012 Outlook: Loar played in 12 Nationwide Tour events last season and made the cut in only six. He only collected one Top-25 last season to boot. It doesn't look like Loar is quite ready for the PGA Tour, and as such, he'll likely struggle all season.

Richard H. Lee
2012 Projected Earnings: $100,000
2012 Outlook: Richard H. Lee, not to be confused with just plain Richard Lee, qualified via Q-School, which was necessary because his Nationwide Tour season was pretty much a bust. In 25 Nationwide events last season, Lee earned only one Top-10. He's still young, so there's room to grow, but this season could be painful for Lee.

John Huh
2012 Projected Earnings: $100,000
2012 Outlook: At 21, Huh was the youngest qualifier from Q-School this year. Because of his youth, there's little to judge him on. Also because of his age, it's unlikely he'll handle the competition at this level, but you never know. Ryo Ishikawa anyone?
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