Adam Scott fired a final round, bogey-free 66 to come from six shots off the pace to win The Barclays at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., on Sunday afternoon. His four round total of 11-under-par 273 saw him hang on by one shot over second place finishers Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Graham DeLaet and Gary Woodland. Phil Mickelson led a group of three players a further shot behind.
The FedExCup Playoffs got off to a fantastic start this week as the leaderboard was packed with big names on Sunday afternoon. In the maiden event at Liberty National in 2009, the leaderboard looked very similar but Mr. No. 124 Heath Slocum stole the victory on Sunday. This time, it was the 2013 Masters champ who went out and posted the number that the field would unsuccessfully try and match. Scott began the day six shots off the lead on six-under as he trailed 54-hole leaders Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland. He had no choice but to go for broke on Sunday and his outward nine saw him jump back into the game after three-under 33. His inward nine was almost as contrite as he found two more birdies and avoided bogey all day to post 66 and the clubhouse lead, and eventual victory, at 11-under.
Scott fired three of four rounds this week in the 60s including two rounds, Friday and Sunday, of 66. His steady diet of fairways (T11) and greens (T4) gave him plenty of chances this week to put scores together. His 66 on Friday was muted by three bogeys and a double for 72 on Saturday. That score on Saturday had Scott head out well before the leaders on Sunday and he took advantage by posting 66 and watching all the leaders fade as they came down the stretch in the afternoon.
In his last four events on TOUR Scott has finished T3 (The Open), T14 (WGC-BI), T5 (PGA Championship) and now a victory this week at The Barclays. He fits the profile of winners in PGA TOUR FedExCup Playoffs and will be the favorite heading into TPC Boston and the Deutsche Bank Classic next week. This victory will sting gamers who were saving their final start on him for Boston. The gamers who have saved Scott for this time of the year are doing cartwheels and should be pulling away in their respective games. I argued this week that without much course history to work with that form would be the most important criteria this week and Scott was all of that.
With this victory, Scott collects $1,440,000, 2500 FedExCup points and the inside track on PGA TOUR Player of the Year race.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
There have been 37 tournaments this season and the USA has won 30 of them. Adam Scott is the only non-American to have multiple wins on TOUR this year.
He joins Tiger Woods (2002) and Rory McIlroy (2012) to win a major and a Playoff event in the same season.
There have been 12, first-time winners this season and just four players with multiple victories (Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar and Snedeker).
Only 16 of the 54-hole leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the 35, full-field, stroke-play events on the season. Matt Kuchar/Gary Woodland couldn’t close the deal either this week.
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson, D (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FIVE times (37), Mickelson (42) TWICE, Snedeker (32) TWICE, Merrick (30) Kuchar TWICE (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32) TWICE, G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22), Bae (26), Weekley (39) English (23), Rose (32), Duke (44) Haas (31), Blixt (29), Austin (49), Woodland (29), Dufner (36), Reed (23) and 19-year old Jordan Spieth. The young folks (30 and younger) now have 14 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 18 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have FIVE wins. Phil Mickelson got the Jersey folks fired up on Sunday with his 65 to finish T6.
The new bubble boys are:
Jimmy Walker No. 30
Tim Clark No. 70
Camilo Villegas No. 100
A look at the players who finished in the top 10
Graham DeLaet: For the second time in two years the Canadian showed his love for the New York-New Jersey area by finishing in the top five. Last year at Bethpage Black DeLaet finished T5 and he bettered that result this year with T2. Since finishing third at the Travelers and T8 at the AT&T National, DeLaet limped into the playoffs with finishes of T30 (Greenbrier), 83rd (The Open), MC (RBC Canadian) and MC at the PGA. The best ball-striker on TOUR now adds his best career finish, T2, to his increasingly growing resume. He also has hit the top 10 six times this season. This result guarantees him at trip to Atlanta as he’s now No. 7 in points and his game should set up nicely on that course!
Tiger Woods: He’s played this course twice and finished T2 each time so it’s safe to say it fits his eye so we’ll have to remember that in four years when they come back to Liberty National. Woods short game bailed him out all week and his final stroke on the 72nd hole was two revolutions short of a playoff. He entered the week with a back problem and he leaves the week with a back problem so that will be a storyline to keep an eye on early next week. And in three weeks in Chicago. And in four weeks in Atlanta. Gamers that have already burned him may now exhale. Gamers who burned him THIS WEEK can now get off the floor and return to your regular lives.
Justin Rose: The U.S. Open had a few chances this afternoon to double his 2013 trophy haul but it was two putts under five feet that saw that challenge fall short. The putter usually is the Achilles Heel and Rose missed a birdie putt from three feet and then missed one from just under five feet on No. 18 that would have put him in a playoff with his buddy Scott. Rose returns to the top 10 for the first time since his victory at Merion. Gamers who were waiting to see some life before burning him saw just that with his T2. Blimey.
Gary Woodland: The 54-hole co-leader was looking for his second victory in his last three tries but some interesting decision making hindered his chance for the W. He bogeyed the first hole, doubled the fifth and drove it in the water on No. 13. You can’t give Adam Scott, Justin Rose or Woods that many chances. Woodland had chances on Nos. 16, 17 and 18 to make one birdie to get in a playoff with Scott but he couldn’t find a putt to find the bottom of the hole. Woodland led the field with 22 birdies but also had a double and a triple bogey. Here’s how well he played this week: he was T4 in fairways, second in GIR and second in putts per GIR. Ouch. The good news is that he moves from No. 60 to No. 10 in the rankings and will be at East Lake.
Phil Mickelson: Lefty thrilled his east coast peeps as he racked up 20 birdies on the week but it was his 65 on Sunday that really brought them out of their seats. Mickelson hit it everywhere off the tee all week but his short game and putter looked sharp and that was the driving factor on Sunday. His bogey on No. 18 kept him from a T2 but he should be happy with his back-door top 10 after moving up 28 spots to T6.
Jim Furyk: That’s now four top 10s on the bounce for Furyk after eight events this spring and summer where his best finish was T21. Furyk is hotting up exactly at the correct time of the season and he’s doing against some of the best fields in golf so that will help his confidence. So will T11 in fairways, T4 GIR and, surprisingly, numero UNO in strokes gained-putting. He’s won at East Lake before and has historically played well in the Chicago area so I have no problem continuing to endorse him as we move forward.
D.A. Points: After making the cut on the number at even-par, Points took advantage of his good fortune and rattled off rounds of 66-67 to hit the top 10 for the first time since late April. His T2 at Zurich was followed by finishes of T16, T48 and T12 at HPBNC. Once June hit, Points disappeared. In eight events from June through last week, Points, the winner at SHO this year, missed the cut in five of them. His best result was T40 two weeks ago at the PGA. He moves from No. 25 to No. 15 and will now command a look over the next few weeks. I’ll give credit where credit is due for bringing it when the big money is on the table. I didn’t see this coming.
Jason Kokrak: His T3 at AT&T on the last day of June was his high watermark of 2013. In the four events following that performance, he never finished better than T31. He MC the last two weeks at the PGA and at Wyndham so four rounds under par this week was a bit of a surprise. His 67 on Sunday saw him jump up 17 spots to T9 and this moved him from No. 95 to No. 50 and that buys him two more events. Better late than never!
Matt Every: Another week, another top 10 as Every backed up his T5 last week at Wyndham with T9 this week. He moves from No. 86 to No. 46 in the rankings and solidifies his spot in the penultimate event in Chicago. He went through those three events last year and his best finish was T35. He’s always had plenty of game but gamers have been looking for consistency. He might fit that dark horse pick next week. Get ‘em while they’re hot, right?
Nick Watney: Since his T10 at Wells Fargo in the first week of May, Watney had played 10 events entering this week and his best finish was T23. He was cut in six of those 10 tournaments so to say gamers were surprised this week with his T9 would be a huge understatement. During that streak, he parted ways with Butch Harmon and joined up with Todd Anderson. Well, that didn’t take long! Watney has no problem hitting greens (No. 11 on TOUR and T10 this week) but it was the putter that was holding him back. This week en route to his T9 he finished T13 in strokes gained-putting and that led to 19 birdies good for T6. A fresh outlook on golf can help and Watney now is within touching distance of Atlanta at No. 35 on the points list. Watch out.
Rickie Fowler: Half of the Traffic Cone Kids on Sunday, Fowler in his usual head-to-toe orange was joined by fellow Puma endorser Jonas Blixt in head-to-toe orange as well. #Twins. Blixt shot 82 so you won’t be reading about him in this column but Fowler posted 70 to finish T9 to continue his excellent run of form. He’s now finished T21 or better in seven of his last eight events with his only blemish 78-76 at The Open Championship. Fowler’s normally steady putter was just middle of the pack this week but he did finish T10 in GIR. Fowler moved from No. 42 to No. 23 this week.
“Hey, what ever happened to…”
I take a look back at what happened to my chalk
Webb Simpson: After opening with 12 birdies and just three bogeys Simpson looked to be well on his way to a top finish. His 74-71 weekend saw him drop to T15 but that’s his fourth weekend in a row T25 or better. He heads to Boston this week where he won in 2011 so he’ll be back in the column Tuesday afternoon, no problem.
Henrik Stenson: After he opened with 65 on Thursday it was hard for me to believe that he would eventually finish T43. Then I remembered the law of averages and remembered that this incredible run of play would have to come to an end at some point and this was that week. His weekend featured a triple and a couple of doubles BUT he still led the field in GIR. I hope you had a chance to play him before this…
Bill Haas: Ho-hum, another week, another top 25 for Haas as he was T25 Sunday. In his last 10 events he’s finished T25 or better in eight of them. The other two were MC. Haas made 54 pars and only 11 birdies so his play was steady but not spectacular. He putted decently but his ball-striking was a bit off yet he found three rounds at par or better this week. He good.
Dustin Johnson: It came down to him or Brandt Snedeker in OAD this week and it just wouldn’t have mattered. My plan to close the season was Sneds/Keegan/DJ/Rose. I think I want a do-over. Johnson missed the weekend by one shot and he did so because he didn’t hit many greens or make very many putts. He begins the Playoffs with his first MC since the Memorial the first week of June.
Jason Day: The normally steady putter was 68th and 67th in the two major putting categories so to say he couldn’t figure out the greens this week would be an understatement. He was T4 GIR and T17 in fairways but he couldn’t get the ball in the hole and finished T25. He’s now 18-for-18 in cuts made this season.
Matt Kuchar: Ouch. The 54-hole co-leader’s wheels fell off with a triple on No. 9 on Sunday. He finished with 78, which included a 30-footer on No. 18 for birdie, and finished T19. This is the second time in a month where he’s been right in the middle of the fight on Sunday and didn’t press it into the winner’s circle (T2 RBC Canadian). That’s a tough one for gamers to swallow this week.
Keegan Bradley: His 63 on Friday was brilliant but the other three rounds on the week weren’t what gamers were expecting from Bradley as the Playoffs began. His 74-72 weekend saw him plummet to T33 and that broke up his nice little run of T19 or better in his previous three events. He heads home to the northeast next week where he looks to rebound in front of the hometown fans.
Jason Dufner: It was a big ask this week to jump on a guy after winning his first major and Dufner played decently to finish T37. He had no rounds in the 60s, nor did he have any rounds over par even though his driver was squirrely and his putter was ice cool. He ground it out and that should be a nice spring heading to Boston where he has been T2, T18, T31 and T18 last year in his last four trips.
The top 100 players advanced to the Deutsche Bank Championship next week in Boston. Let’s see who avoided the danger and who missed out.
He began the week No. 103 and finished T50 to move up to No. 90. He could have moved up even more but his 75-72 put a stop to that.
He began Sunday T19 but his 74 today moved him to T37 for the week. The good news is the Aussie moves from No. 122 to No. 93 and he, like Kaymer, punches a ticket for at least one more week.
His 70 on Sunday saw him move up 13 places to T43 and that vaulted him from No. 117 to No. 94 and safe passage to Boston.
A great day for the Aussies saw their veteran man card four steady rounds for T41 and a jump from No. 123 to No. 96. #exhale
His only round under par this week came on Thursday but his 65 allowed him to back into the top 100 after rounds of 73-72-76 to finish T54. He moved from No. 110 to No. 100 and the final entrant for next week.
James Driscoll: The Boston-area native MC this week and went from No. 93 to No. 103.
Ted Potter, Jr.: He began the week at No. 96. He ended the week MC and No. 105. #86
J.J. Henry: He began the week at No. 97. He ended the week MC and No. 106. Wash, rinse, repeat…
Geoff Ogilvy: He began the week at No. 99 and his biggest weakness has been his putting. He missed a three-footer on the 72nd hole to miss out last week. #everyshotcounts
Jeff Overton: He began the week at No. 100 and opened with 68 but rounds of 74-74-74 saw him finish T66 and No. 108 for the week.
Aaron Baddeley bogeyed the last three holes on Sunday to post 77 and finish No. 101.
Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat Wednesday at NOON ET at Rotoworld.com. We will be breaking down the field at The Deutsche Bank Championship while answering all your questions. Yes, we do know that the tournament is Friday through Monday but, like you, we are creatures of habit. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget that you can follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter!