Off the Radar
Players who are too young, too old or too “unheard of”
Martin Laird: He won at a tough track at Valero and hit the top five at THE PLAYERS so a difficult course will suit this Scottish ball-striker quite well. He finished T5 last week at the Scottish Open and posted the round of the day, 68, in less-than-ideal conditions. He’ll have the support of the galleries but his history at this event, one cut made in four (T72) has him in this category.
Chris Wood: This will be his first major since the 2010 PGA but the 2008 Low Amateur showed in 2009 with his T3 that the Open is one of his favorites. In 2013 he’s won and finished fifth in 10 events. He was having a decent week last weekend before a final round 76 knocked him to T57.
Thomas Aiken: In four Opens since 2009, the South African has racked up two top 10s including a career-best T7 last year. He’s flying in under the radar because he’s made one cut in his last five. The good news is that he fired 68 last week in his second round before missing the cut.
Miguel Angel Jiminez: The Mechanic also tends to poke his head up most years around this time. Since 2007 he’s five of six and his finishes are T12, T13, T27, T25 and T9 last year.
Russell Henley: He’s young and brave and his plenty of game but he’s still green. When you putt as well as this kid, you can get bailed out of plenty of situations. It wouldn’t surprise me, in good weather, to see him on the first page at some point.
Billy Horschel: Shit, why not! I believe I wrote the same phrase before the U.S. Open. Only you and I can limit what this kid is going to do down the road and after the U.S. Open, I’m trying to figure out why he SHOULDN’T be in the column for majors! His name will get lost in the shuffle of heavy hitters this week but I’d take a chance mid-to-late rounds, no problem.
Mikko Ilonen: He’s been on fire across the pond with five cuts from six made. In that run he’s posted a win, second, T12, T31 and T32. He’s played the Open only four times since 2000 and has a T9, T16 and T50 to show for it.
Alexander Noren: The Swede has a T19 and T9 in four events here. He picked off two top 5s (both T4s) in late May early June but has been quiet since, including 75-71 last week.
Lucas Glover: He’s won a major in bad weather. His ball-striking can hang with anyone. His putting is atrocious. #FantasyRussianRoulette
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.
Stewart Cink: His best finish in a major since defeating Tom Watson and angering the Golf Gods in 2009 is T18 in the 2010 PGA Championship.
Tim Clark: He’s MC his last four tries.
Peter Hanson: He said he’s “50-50”. I’m 100% leaving him alone.
Ian Poulter: After finishes of second in 2008 and T9 last year, Poulter seems like a no-brainer. Between those finishes were MC, T60 and MC. He’s big hit or big miss and his best full-field, stroke-play finish this year is T21.
Sanderson Farms Championship
Annandale Golf Club
Annandale Golf Club
Yards: 7,202 per the scorecard
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass; 5,500 square feet on average
Rough: Bermudagrass at 3”
Water Hazards: 8
Course Architects: Jack Nicklaus (1980); Jack Nicklaus (2006)
Winner’s Share: $540,000
FexExCup Points: 300 to the winner
Defending Champion: Scott Stallings converted his 54-hole lead by defeating Jason Bohn by two shots
Dates: July 18-21
Notes: Scott Stallings will not defend his title as he took the final spot in The Open Championship after Phil Mickelson won at Castle Stuart.
Players that are in the field this week:
Chris Kirk 2011
Will MacKenzie 2008
Chad Campbell 2007
D.J. Trahan 2006
Heath Slocum 2005
Cameron Beckman 2001
Only Brian Henninger and Fred Funk have defended their titles since the tournament began in 1986.
The 10 Best, Plus One
Chris Kirk: He Tweeted last Sunday that he’s going to be a daddy again in the winter so he wasn’t too upset about his final round 72 that saw him stall out last week at JDC. I thought Kirk was ready for a breakout at a birdie-fest and he was. For three rounds. He won here in 2011 and was T10 last year so he’s my one-and-done for this tournament if such a thing exists.
Steven Bowditch: He backed up his T2 at Greenbrier with 67-65 last weekend at JDC to finish T12. He fired a Sunday 62 here in 2011.
D.H. Lee: Sure, he MC last week but his 66 on Friday isn’t going to scare me off this week. His top 10s at AT&T and Greenbrier is all I need.
Jim Herman: #gohermie has fired 68 or better in six of his last seven rounds and was T10 last week. Strike while the iron is HOT.
Daniel Summerhays: It’s a big week for last week’s 54-hole leader. He made 22 birdies entering Sunday but couldn’t get out of his own way down the stretch and missed out on the playoff by one shot. If he thought he needed 30 birdies last week, he’s probably going to need a similar number this week. I think he’s in with a shout again come Sunday.
Chad Campbell: He’s played only three of 16 rounds over-par in his last four tournaments and has made the cut in eight of his last 10. He posted T16 at AT&T and T15 last week at JDC. He won here in 2007.
D.J. Trahan: He is the “horse-for-course” this week. He made four weekends on the bounce before MC last week and he loves it here. He won in 2006, T3 in 2011, T12 in 2005, and T9 in 2011.
Martin Flores: He finished on fire last week at the JDC with a closing 63 to cash for the sixth time in seven weeks. Another Longhorn to watch!
Troy Matteson: He’s made all four weekends in four starts in Mississippi and his worst finish is T36. The other three finishes are T18, T14 and T8. That’s a nice combo when you add in the fact that he’s trending in the right direction after finishes of T52, T41 and T27 over his last three starts.
Ken Looper: He Monday qualified for the Zurich and finished T21. If you’re looking for a long shot this week, here you go!
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.
Travelers: Morgan Hoffmann T9
AT&T National: D.H. Lee T3; Jordan Spieth 6th; Morgan Hoffmann T8
Greenbrier: David Lingmerth and D.H. Lee both T9
John Deere: Jordan Spieth WIN