Las Vegas resident Ryan Moore continued his strong finish to the 2012 with a victory in the first event of the 2012 PGA TOUR Fall Series at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at the TPC Summerlin. Moore’s birdie on No. 16 coming down the stretch was the difference as he held of Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge by one shot. Sweden’s Jonas Blixt was three shots back in third place to fill the podium.
Ryan Moore has been playing some excellent golf in the past few weeks and it started with a clutch birdie putt on No. 18 on the 72nd hole at the BMW Championship saw him finish in the top 10 AND qualify for the TOUR Championship in Atlanta. Moore parlayed that final birdie into a T3 finish to close out the FedExCup Playoffs in Atlanta. In his four FedExCup Playoff events, Moore finished T24, T10, T10 and T3. That form, and being a Las Vegas resident and UNLV grad, made Moore the pick this week and he didn’t disappoint. Gamers, before you starting penning Moore into your started line-up, he announced on No. 18 green that he was done for 2012 as he and his wife are expecting their first child any day now. A double congratulation to the Moore’s on their impending child and the victory this week!
Sunday saw Moore, de Jonge and Blixt all standing on the first tee tied at 19-under par. Moore had the advantage as he was the only player in this troika that had previously won on TOUR in his career (2009 Wyndham Championship) and Sunday he showed the local knowledge and steely putting stroke to close it out for his second win on TOUR in his career. Surrounded by over 40 friends and family, Moore had an up-and-down front nine as he made four birdies but threw in two bogeys, which equaled his total in the first three rounds. His bogey-free 33 on the back nine was highlighted by his perfect tee shot on the par-five 16th. That tee shot was the only one in the group to find the fairway and allowed Moore to go for the green in two while Blixt and de Jonge had to lay up. Moore’s second found the green and he two-putted for birdie which turned out to be the winning margin.
Moore has always been known for his solid ball-striking, excellent putting and his ability to make birdies. He aced all three of these challenges this week as he was T4 GIR, first, second and fifth in the three main putting categories and racked up 26 birdies which was second-best for the week. Moore only had time for four bogeys this week which was T67 out of 71 players who made the cut. Nobody plays perfect golf but those stats resulted in rounds of 61, 68, 65 and 66 to post 24-under 260 on the par-71 TPC Summerlin.
2012 was a very solid year for Moore as he made 20 of 23 cuts, including 16 of his last 17 (only MC was the PGA) for the former U.S. Amateur, NCAA and Public Links champion. Until recently, Moore was more well-known for his fashion on the course than his play. From the painter’s cap, to the vests, to the ties, to the “street” shoes to the unshaven look, Moore could have been mistaken for Graeme McDowell. Moore’s best finish of the season before this week was his last event, the TOUR Championship (T3). He finished his season with 11 top 25’s, eight top 10’s and one victory. Nobody has ever questioned his pedigree but looking ahead to 2013 will be an interesting year, to say the least, for the brand-new-father-to-be! The TOUR would also like to thank the hottest golfer on TOUR for not signing up to play next week at CordeValle so somebody else can have a chance!
Déjà vu All Over Again?
Just like we had to do three weeks ago with Brandt Snedeker and Justin Rose as they started the day tied for first and finished the day first and second so I’ll call it a wash again this week as Moore and de Jonge also finished one-two. In 41 weeks of stroke play tournaments, 26 third round leaders failed to lift the trophy in 2012.
For the second year in a row, the course record was broken by a Las Vegas resident. Next year, we’ll have to find the player who’s on form, has Vegas ties and has no problem going low!
Only Jim Furyk has defended his championship at this event.
Americans now have registered 31 victories in 42 events as Ryan Moore adds his victory to the list. Rory McIlroy (4), Tiger Woods (3), Zach Johnson (2), Jason Dufner (2), Hunter Mahan (2) and Brandt Snedeker (2) are the multiple-winners on TOUR in 2012. The only foreign-born players to win in 2012 are Rory McIlroy (Honda, PGA, DBC and BMW), Justin Rose (WGC-CC), Luke Donald (Transitions), Carl Pettersson (RBC Heritage), Marc Leishman (the Travelers), South African Ernie Els (The Open) and Spain’s Sergio Garcia (Wyndham).
Ryan Moore has now won twice on TOUR. His other title is the 2009 Wyndham Championship.
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, Moore collects $810,000. Baby gets a new pair of shoes!
“Young” Guns versus “Middle” Guns versus “Old” Guns
In 42 events on TOUR in 2012 the “Young” continue to increase the lead thanks to victories in the past weeks by Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Nick Watney, Snedeker and now the 29-year old Ryan Moore. The “Young” guns have locked it up at the top as they now lead 23-16-3.
For the “Young”, age during their victory in ( ), Johnson Wagner (31), Brandt Snedeker TWICE (31), Kyle Stanley (24), Bill Haas (29), John Huh (21), Hunter Mahan TWICE (29) Rory McIlroy FOUR times (22), Justin Rose (31), Rickie Fowler (23), Dustin Johnson (27), Webb Simpson (26), Marc Leishman (29), Ted Potter, Jr. (28), Scott Stallings (27), Keegan Bradley (26), Sergio Garcia (32), Nick Watney (32) and now Ryan Moore (29) 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), Scott Piercy (33) and J.J. Henry (37) have been victorious.
Steve Stricker (44), Phil Mickelson (41) and Ernie Els (42) are the only “Old” guys to hit the board in 2012. At least 33% of their wins are majors! “Lumpy” Tim Herron was the “old” guns best chance this week has he banged a top 10.
Brendon de Jonge: Even though “The Mustard Man” (Dijon, de Jonge, get it?) leads the TOUR in birdies, he hadn’t had a top 10 finish since the Travelers at the end of June so that’s why I didn’t factor him to be in the mix this week. Oops. Luckily, if you read the preview column, I had Moore on top so you can’t be too angry with me. de Jonge hit one wayward tee shot on No. 16 that cost him a chance at an easy birdie and that ended up being the difference this week. de Jonge has never won on TOUR but he won’t be disappointed with his first-ever second place finish. He has his card wrapped up for 2013 and his next goal will be hitting the top 30 so he can qualify for majors and big events next season. He’s currently 40th on that list so he’ll be firing at pins down the stretch to try and jump up into the top 30.
Jonas Blixt: He was in the bottom half (T43) GIR but his putter was the guiding light this week as he was first, first and third in the three major putting categories. It goes to show there is more than one way to go low when a course is playing easy. In a four-week stretch from the end of April until the end of May, Blixt finished T13, T9, T3 and T10 before picking up an injury. In his three events back after being out for over two months, he finished T55, T46 and T20. Now, add a career-best T3 as he’s been better each event. With a putter like that, keep an eye on Blixt as the Fall Series continues.
Jason Day: He flirted with 59 on Sunday. He led the field in birdies with 28. Sadly, he was T2 with two double-bogeys on the week as well. He crushed it off the tee, made a ton of birdies and his flat stick was holing putts. After his T8 at the AT&T National, Day struggled to find form as he finished T29 at WGC-BI, MC at the PGA, T24 at the Barclays and his playoff hopes ended with a whimper with T51 at DBC. The good news for Day fans is that he looks to be back to his old self as his solo fourth is his best finish of the year.
Bill Lunde: The UNLV grad and Las Vegas resident had his best finish, fifth, since his victory at the now-defunct Turning Stone Resort Classic in 2012. His other two top 25 finishes were also on the west coast as he was T13 at Torrey Pines and 18th at the Reno-Tahoe Open. Lunde wasn’t on my list of Las Vegas residents who would make noise this week as his best finish in this event was T27 in 2009. Lunde still has plenty of work to do to capture his card for 2013 but it’s obvious that he’ll be comfortable trying to do so in this part of the country.
Scott Piercy: Born and raised in Las Vegas, Piercy has been playing some of the best golf of his career in 2012 and this week continued that trend. Piercy won for the second time in his career at the RBC Canadian Open in late July and that capped off three excellent weeks of golf as he finished T12 and solo third leading up to that victory. After a so-so start to the playoffs, Piercy escaped to the TOUR Championship even though he bogeyed the 72nd hole at the BMW. He finished 15th at Atlanta and backed that up with T6 this week at TPC Summerlin. His 25 birdies were buoyed by finishing fifth in putts per GIR. Piercy struggled to 73 on Saturday but backed that up with 64 on Sunday. Piercy has to be an AUTOMATIC choice here next year as he’s now finished T14, T28, T10 and now T6 in his last four outings here.
Richard H. Lee: His excellent late-season play continues in 2012 on both the PGA and Web.com TOURS as he chalked up his first-career top 10 (T6) on the PGA TOUR. In Lee’s last three outings on TOUR, he’s finished T12, T14 and now T6. His two September tournaments on the Web.com TOUR were T22 and T2 finishes. As I mentioned in the preview, hot is hot no matter where a guy is teeing it up. Lee is now 149th on the money list and has the top 125 in his sights. You like this guy because he hits it straight off the tee, bangs tons of GIR and can roll the rock. He’s currently 17th in ball-striking on TOUR and 29th in total putting. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Blake Adams: I know they don’t pass out awards for most tournaments played, but with 30 tournaments under his belt, he should be tired. No matter, he’s found form again with this week’s T8 finish, his second-best finish of 2012 (PGA, T7). Adams cashed in 20 of 30 starts but his eight top 25’s and three top 10’s have him secure for next year as he is now 75th on the money list. His best finish here was T57 in his first time out last year. And just for next year’s sake, he was SECOND on TOUR in birdies made this season. So recapping, greater than 20-under is the average winning score in this event and the No. 1 and No. 2 birdie makers finished second and T8…Got it.
Jason Bohn: Bohn hit the top ten (T8) for the third time this season but this finish has vaulted him into 110th on the money list. Bohn found that this course could be tamed by hitting green after green (T8 GIR) instead of having to hole everything in sight. Bohn had only made 10 of 24 cuts heading into this week but his best finish, solo second, was at a course where he fired 266 (-22). I’ll now include him in my list on guys who like to go low. He’s proven his worth at TPC Summerlin as he’s finished T14, T49 and now T8 in three career starts.
Nick Watney: He was T6 two years ago, solo second last year and now the Las Vegas resident has hit the top 10 (T10) for the third time in a row at the JTSHCO. He led the field in driving distance and was third in GIR. He made nothing on the greens as he was T61 in putts per round. If the putter starts to heat up, watch out. That’ll be the next project for him and Butch Harmon to work on. He’s now made the cut in 23 of 26 this season and has 12 top 25’s. A top 10 this week is exactly what you thought he would do.
Jimmy Walker: “Dynomite” is also working with Butch Harmon and he was the opposite of Watney this week as his 10th place ranking in strokes gained-putting was what kept him in the top 10. Walker’s best finish in the Playoffs in three events was a chilly T38 at the Barclays and he had never made the cut here in three previous appearances. All righty then!
Tim Herron: Since the tournament moved exclusively to TPC Summerlin, “Lumpy” has finished T6, T27, MC, T5 and now T10 this year. Herron loves this course. His last time out, he fired 61 at the Wyndham in round two on his way to T28 but that was six weeks ago. He opened with 63 and closed with 73 this week but still managed a top 10 to move to No. 132 on the money list. Lumpy wishes the next three events would be a Las Vegas-area courses. Keep your eye on this wily veteran!
“Hey, what ever happened to…”
John Daly: After opening 69-63 to cause a panic that he just might win his card for 2013, Daly returned to mediocrity on Saturday as he was 23 shots worse. Sunday wasn’t much better as he signed for 77 and DFL. So close, yet so far away. Who doesn’t love John Daly and wouldn’t want him back on TOUR? He’s not dead yet as he checks in at No. 137 and still has a chance.
Davis Love III: If I was the Ryder Cup Captain, first off, our golfing world would be in a world of shit, and secondly, I wouldn’t have left my bedroom for a month. DL III showed up to thank Justin Timberlake for his participation in the Ryder Cup festivities. I wonder if Timberlake had DL III read a poem or two before the event kicked off on Thursday. Anyhow, all credit to DL III for showing up when he could have easily canceled and nobody would have blamed him. That shows guts. So does sitting Keegan Bradley on Saturday afternoon…
No money, Mo problems
These gents are looking to finish No. 125 or better to guarantee their card for 2013. Money list position in ( )
Trevor Immelman (120): DNS. He’s exempt through 2013 because of his 2008 Masters victory.
Kevin Chappell (121): MC. Did not move either direction.
Gary Christian (122): T68. Did not move either direction.
Billy Mayfair (123): T54. Moved up one spot.
David Mathis (124): T46. Moved up one spot.
Jeff Maggert (125): MC. Moved down two spots.
Rod Pampling (126): T68. Did not move either direction.
Reteif Goosen (127): DNS. Had season-ending surgery. Done for 2012.
Bill Lunde (128): 5th. Moved up 29 places.
Bobby Gates (129): T13. Moved up seven places.
Richard H. Lee (130): T6. Moved up 23 places.
Of the list above, only Trevor Immelman is guaranteed to play in 2013. Retief Goosen, due to his season-ending surgery will apply for a medical waiver at the end of the Fall Series. Plenty to play for and these are the guys are who close enough to taste it and just far enough away to miss out. Yikes!
“And another thing…”
Sadly, the analysis ends here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton live chat with TheGolfNewsNet.com's Ryan Ballengee on Wednesdays at NOON, ET is done for the season. Please follow us on Twitter @Rotoworld_GF for updates on upcoming chats, features and 2013 coming attractions.