Form and Function
These players just missed out but should not be dismissed.
Keegan Bradley: Essentially a home game for the Vermont native, Bradley destroys par fours and fives and will make plenty of birdies. He’s currently T25 in par four birdie-or-better percentage and fourth in par five BOB%. After an uninspiring run at Memorial (T50) and a rough +12 at the U.S. Open, Bradley will embrace his local celebrity this week and get back to the form that saw him rack up six top 10s already this season.
Fredrik Jacobson: The 2011 champ finds himself just out of the premium places this week as his recent form outweighs his last two years here (T8, win). The good news is even though his ball-striking is suspect, he still manages a way to get up-and-down and hole putts when he has the chances. He’s 14th in actual scoring and eighth in par four performances so he consistently finds a way to put the ball in the hole. That is the name of the game!
Tim Clark: This time last year he was just finding his way back after injury and put up a T4 here so he should be in a good frame of mind this week. He didn’t play poorly at the U.S. Open but rounds of 70-79 saw him miss the weekend. He’ll hit every fairway; he’s 19th in total putting and he plays par threes and fours quite well. His lack of length will not be problem on this course.
Nicolas Colsaerts: He overpowered Marion and I don’t see why he couldn’t do the same this week. He hits plenty of GIR and should be brimming with confidence after an excellent top 10 last week in the U.S. Open. He’ll be more than happy as well to see greens running 10.5’ as well as he’s not a fabled putter.
Webb Simpson: He joins Bo Van Pelt with 10 rounds under 67 since 2008 at TPC River Highlands. Both of those fellas are chasing Bubba Watson who has put up 13 rounds under 67. Simpson will hit plenty of fairways and greens and if he can avoid that one big round, he should be in the mix. He’s played five times and made all five weekends but his best finish is only T13. Weird that.
Chris Kirk: He banged out 11 cuts on the bounce before 74-74 at Memorial broke up his run. This man makes tons of birdies and tons of birdies on par fours because he can absolutely stroke it on the greens. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s No. 1 on TOUR in scrambling. That’s very helpful when you check in at 105th in GIR.
Brian Davis: He’s quietly made nine of his last 10 cuts on TOUR and that run included two finishes inside the top 10. He thrives at TPC River Highlands because he’s highly accurate, a very solid putter and he thrives on par threes and fours. He was T4 last year and T9 in 2011.
Bo Van Pelt: As you read earlier, BVP has no problem getting low in CT as he is T2 for the most rounds of 67 or better since 2008. He’s played eight of the last nine years here and has made seven cuts in that time frame. In six of those weekends, he was T25 or better and that includes two top 10s. He only has one top 10 in 12 weekends on TOUR this season and that’s why he’s down here.
Kevin Streelman: He’s made five straight weekends in Connecticut and that will be exactly what the doctor orders after three tournaments in a row MC. He has two top 10s here so that should boost his confidence back up as he’s enjoying a massive season on TOUR. He’s 12th in ball-striking and 19th in total putting so it’s not like I’m sticking my neck out here, people. He’ll get those irons dialed in this week.
Take It Deep
Cameron Tringale: Solid across the board in ball-striking, putting and bogey avoidance, Tringale closed the weekend here last year 68-64 to catch T15. He’s an excellent bunker player and scrambler as well and that will come in handy this week. Plus, he’s never won and that’s been the trend five of the last seven winners here.
Andres Romero: His first time at TPC River Highlands in 2011 he finished T6 (-15) as he fired 64-67-67-67. He’s 15th on TOUR in birdie of better conversion percentage. Dig deep my friends.
Tommy Gainey: His best finish in last seven starts is T32 in New Orleans. He’s played 20 events so he’ll stay one ahead of de Jonge in the ironman race. Gainey was T18 last year and T17 in 2011 so it’s no impossible that he finds some form this week. His recent outings will suggest otherwise.
Brian Stuard: He made a ton of birdies to qualify for the U.S. Open after MC at Memorial. His ball-striking and putting numbers are excellent and he’ll be happy to see an easier course this week as well where he can turn some more birdies in on the card.
Charlie Beljan: He opened with 73 here but chased it with 67-68-66 to hit the top 30. Get rid of that Thursday and he could be a factor. This was the time last year when he got moving in the right direction.
Chez Reavie: He’s made three straight on the bounce and also had three very solid rounds here last year minus a second round 71. He hits plenty of fairways and bunches of greens and that how he found T11 here last season.
Gary Woodland: His last time out he closed with 64 in Memphis as he made the cut for the ninth straight time in 2013. His back-to-back weeks of T18 and T16 are his best of 201. Ding, ding!
Matt Every: The last time he played here he put all four rounds in the 60s so after 74-84 at Memorial, this should help out his psyche. His buddy Billy Horschel was again doing big things last week so let’s see if Every can get inspired. We’ve seen him make birdies and get low before, including 65 and 66 en route to a T4 at Crowne Plaza Colonial the week before the Memorial. Up and down, up and down…
Stuart Appleby: The Aussie is now up to seven events in a row on the weekend so that’s encouraging. The only issue is there hasn’t been a finish inside the top 30.
Jonathan Byrd: Last time out at Memphis he was T9 in GIR and put up his first top 10 of 2013 after returning from a wrist injury.
Just because they have well-recognized names doesn’t always mean you have to panic to fill your roster out with them…Also, it seems at least one of these guys will hit the top 10 EVERY week. I’m not scared.
Ian Poulter: Another week of “really close” doesn’t do it for me where I have to pick Poulter in these games. I’m disinterested.
Zach Johnson: I was really surprised to see the mild-mannered Johnson light into the USGA on his Twitter feed about Merion. After his T3 at Colonial he played the weekend at the Memorial 81-75. You let me know when he’s going to figure it out in 2013.
Kevin Stadler: The one player I was shocked to find on this list this week after grading the field was Stadler. His game sets up PERFECTLY for this course yet in seven starts here he’s been cut five times, WD once and finished T54 in 2007. Kinda wonder why he keeps teeing it up here. He could also be on the LONG SHOT list because of his numbers. I’m confused.
Troy Matteson: In six tries, he’s made one cut, T66, in 2006.
Aaron Baddeley: He’s missed six cuts in a row.
Rookie of the Week Last Week
I keep an eye on the youngin’s each week to see who is making the most noise.
Sony: Russell Henley WIN
Humana: David Lingmerth P2
Farmers: Brad Fritsch T9
WMPO: James Hahn T16
AT&T: James Hahn T3
NTO: Luke Guthrie T21
WGC-Match Play: Russell Henley 2nd round
Honda: Luke Guthrie 3rd
WGC-Cadillac: Russell Henley T28
Puerto Rico: Jordan Spieth 2nd
Tampa Bay: Jordan Spieth T7; Shawn Stefani T7; Ben Kohles T7
Arnold Palmer: Ben Kohles T14
Shell Houston Open: Robert Streb T22
Valero Texas Open: Ben Kohles T37
Masters: Russell Henley MC
RBC Heritage: Russell Henley T6
Zurich Classic: D. H. Lee T8
Wells Fargo Championship: Derek Ernst WIN
THE PLAYERS: David Lingmerth. Great back-to-back weeks for the rookies on TOUR!
HPBNC: Morgan Hoffmann T5
Colonial: Jordan Spieth, yep, him again, T7
Memorial: Russell Henley T6
FESJC: Patrick Reed Fifth
U.S. Open: David Lingmerth T17; special mentions for Hideki Matsuyama T10 and Michael Kim T17.