If you tune in to the PGA Tour’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship this week, listen closely but don’t be alarmed if you hear a knocking sound.
It’s only Justin Suh banging on the door to join the rest of his fellow class of 2019 rookies at the adult table.
Suh, a 23-year-old San Jose native, got off to a hot start on Thursday morning at Corales Golf Club in the Dominican Republic with an opening-round 5-under 67. When we walked off the course, the 2019 USC graduate was T-4 and in position to contend for his first victory on Tour.
If Suh were to win, he’d become the fourth member of his loaded 2019 rookie class to do so, joining the “Big 3” of Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland. Morikawa most-recently won the class’ first major at the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. He also claimed the Workday Charity Open earlier this summer in a playoff against Justin Thomas and won last year’s Barracuda Championship. Wolff took down Morikawa and 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau at the 2019 3M Open while Hovland, a teammate of Wolff’s at Oklahoma State, won the 2019 Puerto Rico Open.
“Yeah, they took off,” Suh said of his fellow 2019 rookies. “They really got their game together just right off the bat turning pro. Unfortunately, on the first few starts that I had I was facing a wrist injury and just kind of had to battle back. Kind of changed my swing a little bit just so I wouldn’t have to face that anymore.”
“But yeah, it’s really awesome seeing the guys I was playing with in college winning majors and competing in majors,” he added. “Matt just finishing second at the U.S. Open and Collin winning the PGA. I played with Collin a couple weeks ago and got him in an 18-hole match, so the game’s there, it’s just a matter of putting it together at a tournament.”
With just two made cuts in 12 starts the last two years, Suh has struggled to find his footing early in his professional golf career. That said, his solid start this week is no fluke. Despite being No. 885 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Suh has been in good form recently. The Los Angeles resident finished T-21 at last month’s Barracuda Championship. He’s also riding a streak of three top 10s on the Local IQ Series, eight tournaments organized by the PGA Tour for players whose developmental tour seasons were ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before turning pro, the former top-ranked amateur in the world was a star for all four years as a Trojan. Suh was a four-time All-American and earned 2018 Pac-12 Player of the Year honors thanks to his five wins that season, which set a program record.
Regardless of this weekend’s outcome, the 2019 rookies will still have a way to go if they’re to match the level of success achieved by golf’s other popular group, the high school Class of 2011 featuring Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Daniel Berger and Xander Schauffele.
They’re in the neighborhood, and they’re knocking.