THE PLAYERS Championship: top five TPC Sawgrass sleepers

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 6, 2017; Wilmington, NC, USA; Pat Perez tees off on four during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Eagle Point Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Pat Perez

Official World Golf Ranking: 42

FedEx Cup Ranking: 5

Best PLAYERS Finish: T-3, 2006

Pat Perez is one of those players on the PGA TOUR who flies under the radar, right up until he strings together a couple of strong performances. This year, however, has been surprisingly consistent as the 41-year-old has returned from a shoulder injury that cut his 2016 season short.

Perez hasn’t missed a cut in 15 starts this year. The only major blemish on an otherwise sterling season is his withdrawal from the Waste Management Phoenix Open during the first round. He linked that to a flare-up of his surgically-repaired shoulder, then returned the next week to post a T14 at Pebble Beach.

While some players make their money in the fall season, Perez hasn’t allowed his early-season success to make him complacent. The Arizona State alum has posted three top-25 finishes in his last four stroke-play starts. He even found himself staring down a playoff with Dustin Johnson on Sunday, until Brian Harman canned a 30-footer for birdie and the win.

Perez isn’t the longest driver or most accurate player off the tee, but that flaw can be negated at TPC Sawgrass. Many players will find themselves leaving driver in the bag in favor of long irons, setting up better approaches into the greens.

Perez will look to take advantage of par-5 scoring, where despite his driving shortcomings, he ranks eighth on Tour in 2017. He’s capable of making birdies in bunches, and if he gets off to a hot start, he’ll stay in contention all weekend.