PGA Championship - Preview Day 2
Credit: PGA of America via Getty Images

Finding success early in golf doesn’t equate to major championship glory. Take Phil Mickelson, who won his first event on the PGA Tour as an amateur, but then spent 13 years on Tour before winning his first major at the Masters Tournament in 2004. The following year, Mickelson won the PGA Championship in his 13th appearance. It’s his only victory to date in 28 starts. Here’s a look at some other players in the men’s game who are looking to get their maiden major victory at the 2021 PGA Championship.

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood has enjoyed a professional career that has spanned nearly three decades, but a major championship title remains the elusive missing piece in what has otherwise been an impressive career for the Englishman. Westwood turned professional in 1993, has won 44 times worldwide and represented Europe on 10 Ryder Cup teams. 

And 28 years later, he continues to contend. Westwood recorded back-to-back runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour in March. 

At Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Westwood is making his 86th career major start. He has 19 top 10s in majors, two of those coming in 2009 and 2011 at the PGA Championship. He missed the cut when the PGA Championship was first played at Kiawah Island in 2012.

Marc Leishman

Marc Leishman likes thinking back on the 2012 PGA Championship. It was just his second PGA Championship appearance and he finished T27 that week. The Aussie hopes to carry those good memories with him again as he makes his return to the Ocean Course where he’s looking for his first major title. As he told SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio ahead of this year’s Championship, he believes the course is a better layout for his game as compared to the other major championships which feature long rough and tight fairways.  

“I hope it’s firm and fast and a lot of run off around those greens too, which I really enjoy having to use your imagination around the greens,” Leishman told SiriusXM. “That’s definitely a trait of Kiawah.”

Leishman has six top 10s in major championships, including most recently a T5 at The Masters in April. He’s also riding the momentum of a victory into the season’s second major after capturing the 2021 Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside teammate Cameron Smith. 

Xander Schauffele

If Xander Schauffele keeps knocking, the door will eventually open. And he has been knocking. 

The 27-year-old has finished in the top 10 in 8 of the 15 majors he has played, including a T3 at the 2021 Masters Tournament and a T10 at last year’s PGA Championship. They’re just the latest in a string of successes for Schauffele who has six top 5s in 2021 alone. 

“I finished in second. I finished second a lot. I didn't even finish second this time. I've had worse second place finishes. Not that I'm getting used to it, but this is all credit to moving along, forward,” Schauffele said after the Masters Tournament in April.

Schauffele is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, whose last win on Tour came in 2019.

Tony Finau

If there were an award for consistency, it would likely go to Tony Finau. He has finished inside the top 10 in more than half the majors he’s played, but the 31-year-old remains in search of his first major title. Given his consistency week-to-week, it’s surprising that he hasn’t won more than his lone victory in Puerto Rico in 2016. He arrives at Kiawah Island off yet another solid major finish with a T10 at Augusta National Golf Club.

“I just need to continue to be patient. I think a lot of these tournaments just keep reminding myself how good I am in these moments and that I think I have what it takes,” Finau said after the Masters Tournament in April. “I have to keep believing. There's no quit in me, and that's just how I am.”

This year, Finau is competing in his seventh PGA Championship where he has twice finished in the top 10.

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