If memory serves, this is Matthew NeSmith’s debut in the power rankings.
He deserves it with three straight top-10s leading into the Cadence Bank Houston Open. NeSmith shook off a missed cut at the Fortinet Championship in the season opener to record T-9th at the Sanderson Farms Championship, T-2nd at the Shriners Children’s Open, and T-9th at the ZOZO Championship.
At the ZOZO, he led the field in greens in regulation (80.56%) and was 12th in putts per green in regulation (1.707).
NeSmith’s performance in Las Vegas was his best-ever PGA Tour result, topping a T-3rd finish earlier in the year at the Valspar Championship. If not for Tom Kim playing out of his mind the last few months, it could have been NeSmith’s first time in the sun.
The 29-year-old had a solid 2021-22 season, finishing 83rd in the FedEx Cup standings. NeSmith gets it done with ball striking, ranking 41st in strokes gained per round tee to green (.562) and 30th in SG approach (.417).
The South Carolina alum can take the next step in his career by improving on and around the greens. He looked better with the flat stick in Japan, but had trouble getting up and down when he needed to.
He’s making his third appearance this week at Memorial Park. NeSmith missed the cut in 2020 and took T-46th last year. Rounds of 68-67 put him in the top 10 heading into the weekend before falling back.
With a newfound confidence, I can see two good rounds at the Cadence Bank Houston Open turning into three or four.