Tiger Woods: The magic returned on Sunday for Woods as he fired a career-low Sunday round of 62. Beginning the day nine shots behind McIlroy, Woods had no choice but to go low. After three rounds of inconsistent play, Woods put it all together on Sunday firing four birdies and two eagles. Woods only made seven bogeys on the week at a course he hasn’t played since he was a teenager. Gamers, take the “love him” or “hate him” out of your analysis each week with Woods. This about picking guys who can take you to the next level. Remember this as well: Woods led the field in total driving and was T5 GIR. There’s nothing fluky about those numbers to suggest he’s heading the wrong direction.
Tom Gillis: Here’s what’s great about fantasy golf, Tom Gillis. His first five events of the season he was cut three times, WD once and his only finish was T40. His last top 25 was the first week of July last year. Gillis only made two bogeys in his first three rounds before carding three more on Sunday. Gillis led the field in strokes gained-putting on his home course and was T3 GIR. His closing birdie shared second place with Tiger Woods and eclipsed his third place finish last year as the best of his career. Raise your hand if you had him in your line up this week! Now, keep your hand up if you’re lying!
Lee Westwood: As Woods was putting together his masterpiece, don’t let Westwood’s final round slip past when getting ready for next week. For the second week in a row, Westwood finished fourth and is quietly going about his business. His new fitness regimen is working and he showed off his nasty golf game as well finishing with 63 on Sunday. Five birdies and an eagle vaulted Westwood 23 spots to fourth alone. Westwood also only made five bogeys on the week but also carded a double. The knock on Westwood is that he’s only won twice in over 100 attempts on U.S. soil. He’s playing well enough right now to not worry about that moving forward evidenced by finishing this week second GIR. You don’t think McIlroy’s success is pushing any of his buttons, right? I didn’t think so…
Charl Schwartzel: The South African who finished in the top 16 of every major last year continues his excellent play in 2012. Schwartzel T5 even though he made THREE double-bogeys on the week. He made 17 birdies that was T4 and led the field in GIR. In two appearances at The Honda Classic, he’s finished T14 and T5. The reigning Masters champion is on your radar for next year and next week.
Justin Rose: Oy, Rosey! “The Bear Trap” earned it’s keep at the expense of the Englishman on Sunday as he found the water on 15 and made another bogey on 17. Heading into “The Bear Trap” Rose was nine-under and just three shots back of McIlroy. He had played the previous three rounds three-under through this stretch but didn’t have it on Sunday. He was T10 GIR and his putting stats were very steady but he played the weekend one-over to fade to T5.
Rickie Fowler: After finishing his round on Friday positioned at one-over for the tournament, it looked like Rickie Fowler was on pace for another quiet weekend. After being beaten in the first round last week, T62 at NTO and CUT at AT&T in his last three outings, this could have been expected. Instead, “Agent Orange” (my nickname, calm down) made 11 weekend birdies to hit the top 10 for this first time this season and the first time in full-field events since last August. He’s playing new equipment this year and it looks like he’s starting to figure it out. We might be seeing more Sunday orange in the future.
Dicky Pride: After T5 at Mayakoba last week, Pride was given entry into this week’s field at Honda. He made the most of it, hitting the top 10 for the second-consecutive week. His hot played from Mexico carried over to the first two rounds as he made 10 birdies to just three bogeys. Not surprisingly, he cooled off on the weekend but still finished T7 to wrap up a fantastic two weeks on Tour.
Chris Stroud: Speaking of playing some excellent golf two weeks in a row, Chris Stroud backed up his T5 at Mayakoba with a T9 this week at Honda. I mentioned last week that Stroud has been all or nothing this season and he was “all” again this week. Stroud again was steady with his putter, his strong suit, as he embraced making par this week. He also was three-under through “The Bear Trap” on the week. In seven starts this season, he’s been cut three times and been in the top 13 the other four appearances.
Kevin Stadler: After opening up with four-under 66, Stadler played steady golf throughout the weekend to hit his first top 10 since Crown Plaza last May. Don’t let that last fact fool you: In his last four starts on Tour, he’s been trending in the right direction finishing T9, T16, T24, and T25. He played his final 17 holes three-under after an unsightly double-bogey to open on Sunday. He only made five bogeys the entire week as well.
Graeme McDowell: After watching him knock it all over the desert last week, I thought I was safe in omitting G-Mac from my top 15 after his first round 73. Wrongo. McDowell tied the course record that he set last year on Sunday, 64, in second round and he was right back in the thick of things. McDowell did lead the field in birdies made with 20, was third in strokes gained-putting and T8 GIR but only carded 39 pars (T73) on the week.
“Hey, what ever happened to…”
Kyle Stanley: The No. 1 ranked player in the FedExCup season standings finally had a week to cool off after four great events. Stanley struggled, making four doubles and 11 bogeys in 36 holes this week and his putter wasn’t cooperating either. It was also noticed on the course was his caddy was no longer lining him up on his shots. We’ll see if that continues next week at Doral.
Rory Sabbatini: The defending champ struggled with his putter and made too many bogeys to successfully defend this week. His T62 finish broke a three-event streak of MC. Horse didn’t run on this course this week. Rory needs to put a few rounds together to get back on my radar in the coming weeks.
John Huh: The winner last week in Mexico continues his excellent start to his rookie season in 2012. Yet to miss a cut in his six starts, he hit the board at T36 this week. He was right in the thick of things until a five-over 75 on Saturday effectively ended his chances of repeating in back-to-back weeks.
Y.E. Yang: The 2008 champion and 2011 runner-up hit the board with T30 which could have been better except for a double on 15 on Sunday. It was his second double of the week which cancelled out finishing in the top 10 for pars made on the week. Yang was T60 on driving accuracy and GIR this week and still managed a top 30.
Coming Tuesday: Range Rover WGC-Cadillac Championships Preview