I had that title all ready to go last week at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, forgot about it when Scott Stallings won later that day, so I'm definitely using it this week! American Scott Piercy chased down, caught and passed 54-hole leader Robert Garrigus at the RBC Canadian Open at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club just outside Toronto. Piercy fired a final round three-under-par 67 to post 17-under 263 for his second-career victory on TOUR (2011 Reno-Tahoe Open). 54-hole leader Robert Garrigus missed a 14-foot putt on 18 to force a playoff and finished T2 with William "The Crime Dog" McGirt. Josh Teater, Bud Cauley and Chris Kirk finished three shots back T4. That's six Americans in the top six!
Scott Piercy's excellent 2012 was punctuated with a win this week but if you've been following his results, this shouldn't have been much of a surprise. In 13 cuts he's made this year, he's found the top 25 11 times. His only two finishes outside of the top 25 were 68th at the Memorial in June and T50 at the WMPO in February. Shockingly, Piercy has missed eight cuts this season, including two in a row (U.S. Open, AT&T National) before he rattled off his last three finishes of T12 (Greenbrier), T3 (John Deere) and WIN this week. Strangely, this is the first time in 2012 that he's made the cut three weeks in a row. Piercy will now not have the chance to defend his title next week at the Reno-Tahoe Open as he will be heading to Akron, Ohio to participate in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational instead. I don't think he'll be too bothered by that. He's now Canada's National Champion.
Piercy's length off the tee and his solid putting numbers can put him in contention in most weeks. This week, his driving accuracy was an added benefit as his normally steady iron game only resulted in T53 GIR. His putting, unlike Garrigus, was the difference this week as he finished top nine in all three putting categories. Piercy started off the week with a bang as he set the new course record here with 62. Most guys after a round like that would be happy to break par their next time out but Piercy held it together and fired 67-67-67 to close out and win for the second time in his career.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
Twenty-three of 33 players who held the 54-hole lead have NOT gone on to win in 2012. Robert Garrigus missed half-dozen putts inside eight feet today and will now add his name to the list. Piercy began Sunday's round two shots behind Garrigus.
Scott Piercy joins in on the U.S.A. dominance on TOUR in 2012. This is the red, white and blue's 26th victory in 33 events this season. The only foreign-born players to win in 2012 are Rory McIlroy (Honda), Justin Rose (WGC-CC), Luke Donald (Transitions), Carl Pettersson (RBC Heritage), Marc Leishman (the Travelers) and South African Ernie Els (The Open).
Piercy is the 14th different player from the States to win the RBC Canadian Open since 1990. This was his third appearance in the tournament (T6 2011, T40 2009).
There have only been five first-time winners on TOUR in 2012: Kyle Stanley, John Huh, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman and Ted Potter, Jr.
With this victory, Piercy collects $936,000 and 500 FedExCup points. Piercy also will be playing in the Masters next spring and he is headed back to Maui for the season-opening HTOC for the second season in a row! That's a pretty nice haul!
"Young" Guns versus "Middle" Guns versus "Old" Guns
In 33 events on TOUR in 2012 the "Middle" guns have equalized their younger competitors on the back of 33-year old Scott Piercy, 15-15-3. The "Old" guns had their glory last week as Ernie Els won the third major of 2012.
For the "Young", age during their victory in ( ), Johnson Wagner (31), Brandt Snedeker (31), Kyle Stanley (24), Bill Haas (29), John Huh (21), Hunter Mahan TWICE (29) Rory McIlroy (22), Justin Rose (31), Rickie Fowler (23), Dustin Johnson (27), Webb Simpson (26), Marc Leishman (29), Ted Potter, Jr. (28) and Scott Stallings (27) are your winners.
The "Middle" guys are Mark Wilson (37), George McNeill (36), Luke Donald (34), Tiger Woods THRICE (36), Bubba Watson (33), Carl Pettersson (34), Ben Curtis (34), Matt Kuchar (33), Jason Dufner TWICE (35), Zach Johnson TWICE (36) and now Scott Piercy (33) joins the club.
Steve Stricker (44), Phil Mickelson (41) and now Ernie Els (42) are the only "Old" guys to hit the board in 2012. At least 33% of their wins are majors.
Robert Garrigus: Listen to this. Garrigus made 16 birdies, an eagle and only had two bogeys (no others) and did NOT win this week. What's that old phrase? Putt for dough, drive for show? Well, that's Garrigus personified. He was first in driving distance, fifth in driving accuracy and second in GIR. He was 76th in strokes gained-putting and if you watched the round Sunday, you can't help but feel for the guy. He missed no less than six putts under eight feet. He made one birdie and one bogey (essentially a three-putt but he was on the fringe) on Sunday and couldn't hold the lead. Here's the good news: He's only been using the long putter for 18 events and said on the telecast afterwards that he was getting more and more used to it. Sadly for him, he did NOT channel his "Ernie Els" on 18 as his final birdie putt of the day fell short. Garrigus, after missing the cut at the U.S. Open, has finished T4 (AT&T), T25 (John Deere) and T2 this week in his last three outings. He's now finished T2 three times in 2012. This was his fifth top 10 of the year. If Garrigus falls in love with that long putter, oh dear, watch out. It's the only weakness, a big one though, in his game.
William McGirt: "The Crime Dog" missed the cut at The Greenbrier and The John Deere but his last two weeks have been the best golf he's played on TOUR in 57-career events. Last week McGirt was T5 at the True South Classic and he backed that up this week with T2. Even though he was T65 in driving accuracy and T33 GIR, McGirt ground out his T2 on the strength of his putter. His putter was quiet on Sunday on the back nine as he carded 37 coming home. He made three of his six bogeys for the week on Sunday and didn't have one of his 22 (T2) birdies on the back nine. McGirt though found a way to end the day where it began, T2 and he guarantees his card for 2013 and will also get into the FedExCup playoffs as well.
Josh Teater: Another player who parlayed his solid play last week in Mississippi (ninth) into a top-five finish this week. Teater, coming off of two round of 64 last week, went 67-65-68-66 to post his second-best TOUR finish in his career (T3 Turning Stone, 2010). Teater is known for his excellent ball-striking but this week his putter carried him as he finished top 12 or better in all three putting categories. He finished in the top 10 last year at Reno-Tahoe so you can bet he'll be in the preview column on Tuesday afternoon!
Bud Cauley: So I'm guessing that form should play more of a factor in some of my projections as I move forward as Cauley finishes T4 or better (fourth) for the second consecutive week. Cauley went through a purple patch in mid March as he rattled off five cuts in a row that included finishes of T16, T4, T8, T37 and T18 before cooling off at the end of April. In seven events leading into the True South last week, Cauley MC in four of them and his best finish was T34. If he's going to be streaky, then I am going to streak with him. Wait, not that kind of streaking but you get what I mean!
Chris Kirk: "The Captain" was ANOTHER player, geez, who was top 10 (T10) last week in Mississippi who went on to a high finish (T4) this week. Maybe everyone should start skipping The Open and head to Mississippi so they can be guaranteed in the top 10 back-to-back weeks. I keed, I keed, but there are more guys from last week we have to get to yet. After missing three consecutive cuts Kirk has rebounded to post T30, T10 and T4 in his last three. His worst round in his last 12 is 70. He's 39-under in those three tournaments.
Vijay Singh: Since MC at WFC and THE PLAYERS, "The Big Fijian" has cashed in eight of his last nine. His only MC in that stretch was at the U.S. Open. In those eight events, Singh has hit the top 10 three times, including this week (T7) and last week at The Open Championship (T9). Singh has been playing just well enough that I will have to continue to keep an eye on him next week and the week after at Kiawah Island. Sure, the putter can and does hold him back, but the crusty, old veteran can bang greens and fairways with the best of them.
Bo Van Pelt: Ahhhhh, that's better, right? Bo Van Pelt got back to his fantasy best this week (T7) after MC last week at The Open Championship. Van Pelt's T7 and solo second in his last two TOUR events in the States have given fantasy owners a piece of mind. Van Pelt is an automatic choice in mid-tier events and he continues to prove why. It's his SEVENTH finish in the top 10 in 2012. Auto. Matic.
Scott Stallings: Last week's champion at the True South continued his run of hot play as he finished T7 this week. Six guys in the top 13 last week hit the top 10 this week at RBC Canadian Open and Stallings was right there in the middle of it. After missing eight of 10 cuts, Stallings now has bundled a win with T7. He's healthy and talented but I'm not sure if his game holds up next week or at the PGA. Look at his numbers off the tee and GIR. He's had two great weeks. Hope you were on board!
Gary Christian: Welcome to the Sunday column! Christian made the "Underdog" column in the preview and continued his hot play this week north of the border finishing T10. He's made the cut in eight of his last nine events and now has 22 straight rounds of 72 or better. The Englishman carded his best finish on TOUR this week and has finished T19 or better in four of his last five. His weekend this week consisted of 10 birdies and one bogey so we know he's hitting it pretty well. He led the field in driving accuracy and was T5 GIR and took advantage of hitting the cut right on the number.
Troy Matteson: He hit the top 10 for the second time in three weeks (P2 John Deere; T39 The Open) as his July has been very solid. In 24 events this year, he now has hit the top 10 only twice but guys like him you can ride for a few weeks at a time. His driving distance, 23rd on TOUR, will have me taking a closer look at him next week at Reno-Tahoe.
Nathan Green: The Aussie played the back nine 12-under this week to finish T10 as well. Unfortunately, the easier front nine slowed him down this week. This was Green's first top 10 in 16 events in 2012 and his best finish since T8 at the 2010 Sony Open. That should be some perspective if you have any questions about Green in the coming weeks.
Kevin Kisner: He's now made the cut in eight of 18 events in 2012 and this was his best finish of his career. Putting and scrambling is his forte as he's not long (112th driving distance) or tremendously accurate (141st GIR). He's still learning the ropes and would be a stretch in any format right now.
Retief Goosen: I was mad at the "Goose" heading into this week after he fell apart for me at Royal Lytham & St Annes on the weekend. After playing even-par on the first two days, he unraveled to fire 75-74. As usual, I was a tournament late and a dollar short as he posted 63-69 on the weekend to find the top 10 THIS week. I was buoyed by his T10 at the U.S. Open in tough conditions and thought that would translate across the pond. I guess he's just a North American top 10 machine. Bah. I'll still take a look at Goosen in any tournament where putting is not premium as he's shown he can still knock it around.
"Hey, what ever happened to…"
Seung-Yul Noh: Another week, another cut made for the young South Korean. That's 12 in a row. 12. He finished T15 for his 10th top 25 of 2012. He's now made the cut 19 of 23 times this season.
Ernie Els: The 2012 Champion Golfer honored his commitment to the RBC Canadian Open but you can't be too surprised he didn't make the weekend after winning last week. Even though Els has been on the wagon, The Open Champion probably wasn't caught up on his sleep. He should be back on my list of favorites at Kiawah Island.
Matt Kuchar: T34 for Kuchar this week as he really never got anything going. His best round was 67 and his worst round was 70 so I wouldn't worry one bit about him moving forward.
Hunter Mahan: Mahan closed with his usual "I'm out of the tournament so I'll play fast, have fun and make birdies" round on Sunday (66) to finish T48. We all expected better from one of the best ball-strikers on TOUR on a ball-strikers course, but we were not rewarded this week by him or Kuchar. It happens. That's why we keep watching. No damage moving forward in my eyes.
Jim Furyk: The 2006 champion the last time they played Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Furyk missed the cut by one shot after rounds of 70-70. Since his T4 at the U.S. Open, he's followed up with T34, MC, T34 and MC. This week will be a huge indicator on where his game is heading to the PGA and the FedExCup Playoffs. Stay tuned.
"And another thing…"
The analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat with GolfChannel.com's Ryan Ballengee on Wednesday at NOON, ET. They will be breaking down the field at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Reno-Tahoe Open and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.