Marc Leishman: The first victory is always the hardest, and Leishman did it in style with a final-round 62 in Hartford. OK, the round came away from the glare of contention - he shot it early, the field came back to him - but it was no less impressive. Leishman is one of those players who scores better than the component stats suggest, and that's a legitimate skill (even if it's not quantifiable) that I put stock in. Now that the biggest hurdle is out of the way, he can go about his business - this should be a Top-50 player in short order.
Tom Clark: Four rounds in the 60s and a T4 check at the Travelers is reason for optimism, even if the putting did get balky down the stretch Sunday. If Clark is healthy again - and he sure looks it over the last month or so - he's capable of being a strong Level B player, sort of a Mark O'Meara type before O'Meara broke through in 1998. There's a lot of ability here.
Brian Davis: He didn't handle Sunday too well in Hartford after sleeping on the 54-hole lead, but that's hardly been a new thing on tour this year. Davis can point to 13 checks on the circuit this year - five in six figures - and he's one of the most accurate drivers and consistent putters around. Distance is always going to be a problem in his game (just 275 yards per strike), but there are plenty of courses where that's not a deal breaker.
Fredrik Jacobson: He has just one missed cut on the PGA Tour this season, and he backed up his T15 showing at the U.S. Open with a tidy T8 at the Travelers. Isn't it time for a Swede to break through at a major? Jacobson is a scoring wizard despite the absence of impressive component numbers, but he needs to find a way to play better on Sundays (where he's 164th in scoring average).
Jhonattan Vegas: His splashy open to the 2011 season is yesterday's news now - Vegas is in danger of falling off the map completely. He's only made 9-of-17 cuts this year and is 114th on the money list, dealing with a wild driver (169th in distance) and an erratic putter (141st in strokes gained). Power is a wonderful thing to have in your bag, but you have to know where the ball is going.
Y.E. Yang: While most pundits viewed his PGA Championship in 2009 as one of the all-time fluke wins in a major, he's a far better player than the guy we've seen in 2012 (7-for-14 on cuts, 140th on the money list, nothing in the Top 10). Yang's ball striking has been a mess this year from tee to green, and while his putting has never been better, too many of his makes have been for par, not birdie. He's still handy with a wedge in his hands, but the middle and long irons have not been there for him this season.
Steve Marino: The knee problems just won't go away - he tried to make it go at AT&T National but wound up withdrawing Wednesday. At this point, we might have to accept that 2012 is a lost year.
Patrick Cantlay: He's probably ready to be a cut-making machine on the big stage, but a welcome-to-the-pros 75 on Thursday at Hartford was a little humbling. At least Cantlay gritted his teeth and shot a solid 67 on Friday, though it still left him short of the cut. He has a good chance to be a Top-100 player right out of the chute.
Michael Thompson: Was he gassed after the T2 at Olympic? What's a just excuse for flying to a lesser event in Hartford and throwing a 78 at the field Thursday? If Thompson slams the trunk in consecutive weeks, we'll put the Open experience into the fluke file and move on.