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Golf Draft Kit: 2013 Top Rookies

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

Below is a look at the top rookies for the 2013 fantasy golf season. Golfers are listed by projected earnings.

UPDATE: Added rookies who qualified through Q-School.

Ben Kohles
Projected Earnings: $2,000,000
2013 Outlook: Talk about feeling confident about your game: Kohles made headlines around the golfing world in July when he won right out of the gate in his Tour debut at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in a playoff, and then backed it up the very next week at the Cox Classic when he closed Sunday with a 62. In just 10 starts he amassed more than $300,000 in earnings and cemented his place in Tour history. Watch out for him being a John Huh-type, winning in his first year on tour, possibly in an opposite-field event to a World Golf Championship or The Open Championship.

Russell Henley
Projected Earnings: $1,200,000
2013 Outlook: Henley came on late in 2012, winning twice in a three-week span with a third-place finish mixed in. It was an impressive comeback for Henley, who didn't have a top-10 until mid-July. In the end, he finished with seven in 26 starts and goes to the PGA TOUR via the Tour ripe with confidence off the hot finish. If he drives it like he did last year – he was sixth in total driving, which is the combination of distance and accuracy – then he should be in contention early and often on the PGA TOUR in 2013. If his name sounds familiar it might be because he won in 2011 as an amateur, the same feat as Harris English, who made $1.2 million as a PGA TOUR rookie in 2012.

Patrick Reed
Projected Earnings: $1,200,000
2013 Outlook: Reed made a name for himself on the PGA TOUR in 2012 by getting through six Monday Qualifiers, an insanely difficult task, and earning the nickname Mr. Monday. In 2013 he'll be spending his Mondays traveling to and from PGA TOUR events after also making it right on the number. Reed's best finish in 2012 was a T11 at the Open. Don't be surprised if the long hitter (almost 303 yards per drive) wins on the PGA TOUR this year – as he's already mastered how to go low when he has to. Now he has four rounds to make it happen.

Scott Langley
Projected Earnings: $1,000,000
2013 Outlook: Langley has played in six PGA Tour events so far in his career, including four this year in which he made three cuts. His best finish was a tie for 29th at the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, impressive considering both the tournament and the venue. Also impressive is how accurate he was in greens in regulation from inside of 75 yards, where he ranked first on the PGA TOUR. Yes, that was out of an extremely small sample size, but also proves he stepped up to the plate and played well in his very limited opportunities. Look for big things out of Langley in 2013.

James Hahn
Projected Earnings: $850,000
2013 Outlook: Viewers of Golf Channel's "Golf's Longest Day," which covered U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying earlier in 2012, might remember Hahn, who successfully qualified for the U.S. Open at Olympic Club. He missed the cut there, but that should not dampen one's appreciation of an impressive summer on the Tour for the 31-year old, who in a two month stretch from May to July picked up a win, a second, a tie for seventh and a T12. He also finished strong, nabbing a second-place finish at the Tour Championship to secure his fifth-place finish on the money list and his ticket to the PGA TOUR. Hahn is appears destined for success on the PGA TOUR this season.

Luke Guthrie
Projected Earnings: $800,000
2013 Outlook: Guthrie reached the PGA Tour through the Tour. He opened people's eyes by winning back-to-back events on that circuit this year, the Albertsons Boise Open and the WNB Golf Classic, en route to a second-place finish on the season-ending money list. With a playoff loss earlier in the season added in, Guthrie had seven top-10s in 2012 in just 10 starts, insanely impressive for a golfer who just turned pro in 2012. If he can adjust to the bright lights of the PGA TOUR fast, watch out.

Henrik Norlander
Projected Earnings: $800,000
2013 Outlook: Norlander went to Augusta State (yes, that Augusta) and played on the team that won a national championship in both 2010 and 2011. Now he gets to play on the PGA TOUR with his former teammate (Patrick Reed) and earn his way to Augusta's biggest attraction, The Masters. Norlander's championship pedigree is even enhanced by the fact that he also went through all four stages of Q-school, so he knows how come up big when the heat is turned on. Look for Norlander to possibly get a win in 2013.

Steve LeBrun
Projected Earnings: $750,000
2013 Outlook: This is a big moment for LeBrun, as he has finally made it to the PGA TOUR after 102 career starts on the Tour. He never won but has racked up 11 top-10s and 17 top-25s over that span. Now the long hitter (nearly 300 yards a pop) gets to play with the big boys, and hopes to fulfill his dream of a PGA TOUR victory.

Donald Constable
Projected Earnings: $730,000
2013 Outlook: Constable is a Q-School graduate who went through all four stages to get his 2013 PGA TOUR card. The former player for the University of Minnesota made the Top 25 and ties mark (17-under) right on the number, helped by final-round birdies at 16 and 17. Now he gets to play on golf's greatest stage on 2013. If he gets enough playing opportunities, he could be someone to watch.

Alistair Presnell
Projected Earnings: $720,000
2013 Outlook: Presnell's name may be faintly familiar to PGA TOUR fans due to his tie for sixth in 2010 at what is now the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Doral. The native Australian got his first Tour win in 2010, but his 2012 was good enough for a promotion to the big stage even without a victory. His tie for third at the Neediest Kids Championship and second-place finish at the Miccosukee Championship helped get him enough money to finish 23rd on the Tour money list and punch his ticket to the PGA TOUR for 2013. He finished 114th in total driving (the combination of distance and accuracy), something he will need to work on this year.

Shawn Stefani
Projected Earnings: $700,000
2013 Outlook: Stefani proved he can go low, as he shot a 64 and 62 in his two respective wins on the Tour this year en route to his sixth place finish on the Tour money list and his PGA TOUR card. Impressively, both the wins came in August, when the push to be in the top 25 really heats up. A fourth-place finish in the all-around category shows how well-rounded Stefani's game is. Now it will come down to how consistent he can be from week-to-week against the best in the world on the PGA TOUR.

Scott Gardiner
Projected Earnings: $620,000
2013 Outlook: A winner on the Tour in 2010, Gardiner failed to get into the winner's circle in 2012, but a strong four-tournament run of T11-T2-T15-T2 from mid-August through early September was good enough for a 15th place finish on the year-end money list, locking up his 2013 PGA TOUR card. His seventh-place ranking in the total driving category and fifth-place finish in birdie average should bode well for him on the big circuit this year.

Robert Streb
Projected Earnings: $600,000
2013 Outlook: Streb got hot in August, going on a run of T6-T8-T41-1 to help earn him the $305K and change, elevating him to his seventh-place finish on the Tour money list and his 2013 PGA TOUR card. Streb needs to work on his long game, as his middle-of-the-road rankings for fairways hit and greens in regulation likely won't cut it in a truncated 2013 PGA TOUR season. Streb does have talent, however, – as he bookended his victory at the Mylan Classic with rounds of 64.

Dong-Hwan Lee
Projected Earnings: $600,000
2013 Outlook: An extremely successful player on the Japan Golf Tour, this South Korean comes to the PGA Tour in 2013 off a medalist performance at PGA TOUR Q-School. He's only played in three PGA TOUR events entering 2013 and missed the cut in all three: the 2008 and 2009 Puerto Rico Open and the 2012 U.S. Open. While he showed this week how talented he is, there tends to be an adjustment for international players when they first come to the U.S. In a shortened season like 2013 with fewer playing opportunities, that could hold Lee back from putting his talents on full display.

David Lingmerth
Projected Earnings: $550,000
2013 Outlook: Lingmerth won the Tour's Neediest Kids Championship in October, earning his card not only with that victory but also with five top-10s and 10 top-25s. Impressively, he did this all without being ranked in the top 25 of any of the PGA Tour's main “Performance Stats.” One thing he was very good at was earning money, as a 10th-place finish on the Tour money list got him his 2013 PGA TOUR card. But to keep it for 2014, Lingmerth will need to become more consistent in all facets of his game.

Eric Meierdierks
Projected Earnings: $550,000
2013 Outlook: Meierdierks had one of the most emotional Q-Schools of anyone, as he lost his father just days before arriving to the California desert. But he battled through, shooting three of the six rounds in the 60s, finishing 14th, and ultimately fulfilling his dream of making it to the PGA TOUR.

Luke List
Projected Earnings: $500,000
2013 Outlook: List is a classic example of how long the road can be to get to the PGA TOUR. After showing tons of promise when he finished runner-up to Ryan Moore at the 2004 U.S. Amateur, List chose to stay in school, graduating from Vanderbilt in 2007. He got his first Tour victory last year at the South Georgia Classic, to go along with three second-place finishes. It all added up to a fourth-place finish on the money list and his PGA TOUR card for 2013. The key for List will be keeping his drives in the fairway. He led the Tour in driving distance at 324 yards in 2012 but finished 125th in driving accuracy at just about 57 percent. On tougher PGA TOUR circuits, that could be a problem.

Andrew Svoboda
Projected Earnings: $500,000
2013 Outlook: Svoboda's Tour season started strong with a tie for second right out of the gate at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship. He added a solo second almost two months later at the Soboba Golf Classic. Svoboda, a New York native, is a strong putter, finishing ninth in putting average. He's not overly accurate, however, which could be an issue when the PGA TOUR hits Bermuda rough during the Southern Swing in early March.

Brad Fritsch
Projected Earnings: $450,000
2013 Outlook: Fritsch's 2012 season on the Tour was highlighted by a tie for second at the Mylan Classic. In all, he had seven top-10s and made 18 cuts in 26 starts on his way to an 18th-place finish on the final money list and a ticket to the PGA TOUR. A more accurate driver will be needed at the next level, however, as his 62.57 percent probably won't cut it on a weekly basis with the big boys.

Morgan Hoffmann
Projected Earnings: $450,000
2013 Outlook: An Oklahoma State graduate like Rickie Fowler, Hoffmann didn't get into the winner's circle in 2012 on the Tour but did post a second, a third and five other top-10 finishes. He also qualified for U.S. Open at Olympic Club and finished an impressive T29. He was also first in scoring average on the Tour at 68.781. Watch out for Hoffmann in 2013, he has the potential to get a win in his rookie year.

Lee Williams
Projected Earnings: $400,000
2013 Outlook: Williams shows what one win can do to someone's season, as he had more missed cuts and withdrawals (six) on the Tour last season than he did top-10s (four). But his win at the Mexico Open got him half of his 2012 earnings and was good enough for a 16th-place finish on the season-ending money list to earn his 2013 PGA TOUR card. Williams is a short hitter, however, averaging only 286.7 yards off the tee, and that could be a problem against the likes of Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland and other PGA TOUR regulars.

Derek Ernst
Projected Earnings: $350,000
2013 Outlook: Ersnt was one of four players to make it through all four stages of PGA TOUR Q-School: Pre-qualifying, first stage, second stage and final stage. That is impressive stuff under the most heightened of pressures. While Ernst backed up a little bit on the sixth and final day, he did shoot a 66-67 combination in the fourth and fifth rounds, which gave him some breathing room for Monday's final round. Fantasy players should see how Ernst reacts to his first few starts on the PGA TOUR before deciding if he's for real and should be a member of your team.

Paul Haley
Projected Earnings: $300,000
2013 Outlook: Haley helped punch his ticket to the PGA TOUR with a strong early part of the Tour season. He got his first win in March at the Chile Classic, added a T2 at the TPC Stonebrae Championship in April and got another second-place finish at the Mexico Open in June. He struggled from that point forward, but his 12th-place finish on the season-ending money list was good enough to get his card. One of Haley's issues will be his shortness off the tee. He only averaged 283.4 yards off the tee in 2012, a number that put him 117th in driving distance for the Tour and would have put him at 158th position on the PGA TOUR rankings. That's an area he'll need to improve to succeed on the longer, tougher courses seen on the PGA TOUR.

Si Woo Kim
Projected Earnings: $200,000
2013 Outlook: Kim, who also began his journey at pre-qualifying, finished in the Top 25 and ties (he tied for 20th, to be exact) at Q-School to earn his PGA TOUR card for 2013. The only problem here? He doesn't turn 18 until June 28, and minors are not eligible for official PGA TOUR membership. This bad break of sorts is especially more penal in 2013, when the PGA TOUR has a truncated schedule that will limit playing opportunities for all. He can only get sponsor's exemptions and attempt to Monday qualify into events until June 28 and once that day passes, he'll be placed at the bottom of the Reshuffle List. He will really need to play well in the limited opportunities he'll get to keep his PGA TOUR card for 2013-2014.