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Golf: Quintet have potential to land major 2022 prizes

The Masters is less than three months away - and there will be a Major a month from then until the Open Championship in July - so it is time to consider who might make an impact in the four biggest golf tournaments on the calendar.

Racing Post golf guru Steve Palmer pinpoints a quintet of outsiders who may shine in the Majors...

Thomas Pieters

A strong Stateside amateur career suggested that Thomas Pieters would go on to become a successful professional - and the 30-year-old is finally starting to realise that potential. The Belgian bomber has just won the Abu Dhabi Championship - a DP World Tour Rolex Series event - and the next step is to seriously threaten Major glory.

Pieters heroically top-scored in the 2016 Ryder Cup, despite being on a European side which was thrashed 17-11 in Minnesota, and he won the World Cup for Belgium alongside Thomas Detry in 2018. He has always looked world-class and appears to be right back on track after a quiet spell.

The Masters may be the Major which suits Pieters best. He finished fourth on his Masters debut in 2017 and the wide-open terrain of Augusta is perfect for this power-packed giant to attack.

Min Woo Lee

Australian golf fans could have another superstar to cheer on in the decades to come - sweet-swinging 23-year-old Min Woo Lee looks a fantastic prospect who could go on to become a Major champion sooner rather than later.

Lee has already got two European Tour titles on his CV - and the second came in a Rolex Series event last summer. That Scottish Open success showed how much Lee loves links golf and he can be expected to enjoy a strong Open Championship at St Andrews in July.

Lee is a versatile golfer - he has thrived at tight tracks like Valderrama as well as wide-open venues - and he can be chanced in any Major. The Open is probably his best chance.

Cameron Champ

Californian youngster Cameron Champ possesses a driving ability which few in the sport can match - and that tee-ball talent can allow him to thrive in Major competition. The 26-year-old has already got three PGA Tour titles under his belt and he can be fancied to make the step up to Major champion at some stage.

Champ could easily slip into the Green Jacket one day - Augusta National is a layout ideal for his style of play - while St Andrews is a course where the powerhouse could enjoy himself in the Open.

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The US Open and US PGA events typically reward strong driving, too, so Champ should flourish if he can quickly get over his recent form dip.

Rickie Fowler

Form is temporary, class is permanent - and Rickie Fowler fans will be hoping that is true with regards to the misfiring Californian. The former world number one amateur, who has won five times on the PGA Tour and twice on the European Tour, has endured a difficult period and been struggling to stay inside the world's top 100.

Fowler finished third in the CJ Cup in October, though, to suggest he may be getting back on track, and he became a father in November. Maybe a settled family life will trigger a return to form.

If Fowler can find a way of qualifying for the Majors, he must be given plenty of respect. He was runner-up in the 2014 US Open, the 2014 Open Championship and the 2018 Masters.

The 33-year-old has a fondness for St Andrews, where he was 14th on his Open debut in 2010, so he would be particularly dangerous if able to have a crack at the Claret Jug in July.

Matthew Wolff

Matthew Wolff finished fourth in his US PGA debut in 2020, then followed up with a runner-up effort on his US Open debut a month later.

When he first came on to the PGA Tour, he was considered the equal of Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland, and Wolff quickly nailed a maiden PGA Tour title. Struggles soon followed and his form dipped, but there have been signs that this powerhouse is getting back to his best, and it would be no surprise should Wolff develop into a contender for the 2022 Majors.

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