What I learned from the finishers in the top 10
Dustin Johnson: For the second Sunday in a row, Johnson came charging from off the pace to put pressure on the eventual winner. Last week he fell one shot short of Jimmy Walker and this week he was just one behind Watson before his birdie to close things out. For the second week in a row Johnson shot a Sunday, bogey-free 66. For the second week in a row Johnson was second or T2. He only made six bogeys on the week against his 19 birdies. He led the field in GIR. He’s now hit the top 10 four times in seven starts at Riviera. He loves the California coast so he’s in your lineup, no questions asked, at Riviera and Pebble. Oh, and the whole Gretzky, engagement, whatever that is holding you up from taking Johnson is absolute nonsense. Hope you were on board for T2 and second the last two weeks!
Brian Harman: The former Georgia Bulldog was looking to join alumnae Chris Kirk and Harris English with victories in the 2013-14 season but he’ll happily take his T3 from this week and build on it. After MC in his last two events, it’s not shocking that gamers might have overlooked him this week. He’s now posted three top 10s in nine starts this season and he hasn’t been under $900k in his previous two years on TOUR. The lefty also fired in 22 birdies, T1 with Watson, for the week, and let the field in putts per GIR. He was also second in strokes gained-putting. Gamers, adding Harman to your roster for the rest of the year isn’t a bad idea. He’s averaged 29.5 events in his only two seasons on TOUR. He also gained a very valuable experience this week as he watched Watson close the deal. He mentioned in his post-round interview that he enjoys playing hard courses. #noted
Jason Allred: It took him 58 starts on TOUR but the Monday Qualifier finally posted a top 10 as he finished T3 this week. The Pepperdine grad was playing on TOUR for the first time since the 2010 U.S. Open. He was the medalist of the California college players this week and will be in the field in two weeks at the Honda. It’s a great story for golf and his family but this doesn’t move the meter in fantasy golf. If you don’t believe me, ask all the gamers who took Jim Renner this week after his T2 at Pebble Beach.
Charl Schwartzel: In his only two trips to Riviera, this year and last, he’s posted finishes of T3 and fifth. His solo fifth was thanks to his putter as he finished third in putts per GIR and 15th in strokes gained-putting. His iron play was dodgy as he was T55 GIR so when he had to make them, he did. He racked up 19 birdies and two eagles on the weeks on quite a difficult track so that’s encouraging heading into next week at Dove Mountain. For the second consecutive year he has opened his season at Riviera on TOUR and has finished in the top five. #horseforcourse
Bryce Molder: He’s now seen the weekend in 11 straight tournaments and while his stats don’t jump off the page he seems to find a way to grind out results. His T6 backs up his T10 last week and these are his first top 10s since the Deutsche Bank in 2012. After not posting a top 10 last season, Molder has consecutive weeks inside this column! This was his best finish on TOUR since he won the Frys.com in 2011. He’s found his feet at Riviera as he adds this T6 to his T21 last year and T17 in 2012. He’s another Pebble-Riviera player to mark down for next year.
Matt Every: Just when gamers started to froth at the mouth after his T8-T13 start to 2014, Every began to Every. He followed those starts up with T37 in Phoenix and MC at Pebble Beach. This is more proof that gamers should just stick Every on their season long salary cap leagues and enjoy when he plays well. He’s seven from eight this season and has three top 10s plus another top 25. He only had four top 10s last seson the upside is high. I’ve never been able to figure out his pattern and with only one start, last year, at Riviera, he wasn’t on my radar this week. His T6 this year pairs with his T68 from last year in two starts.
William McGirt: Entering his fourth full season on TOUR, gamers know one thing about William McGirt: He loves playing in Canada as he’s finished second the last two years at the RBC Canadian Open. Playing in his third tournament at the NTO, McGirt hadn’t broken par in four rounds so it’s a bit surprising that he was the 54-hole leader and found his way to T6 at the end of the day on Sunday. He entered this week with one top 25 (T19) in eight events this season and that included three MCs. His putter is what he leans on so keep that in mind moving forward. For more information on Dr. Dirt McGirt, contact our cohort Ryan O’Sullivan as he’s an expert on this subject. Seriously.
George McNeill: Entering Sunday just two shots back of McGirt, McNeill was looking for career win No. 3. With bogeys in three of his first 10 holes, McNeill could have rolled over but he rallied to finish his final eight holes in three-under to post T6. Gamers, proceed cautiously here as this was his first top 10 since his win in Puerto Rico in 2012. That was his only top 10 finish of that season. He had four top 25s that season; he had two last year in 21 events. That being said, he now has two top 10s in seven events this season so he might be an inexpensive add-on as the season progresses. He was T7 at Frys.com to open the new year.
Harris English: Another week, another top 10. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. He’s now played all nine weekends and has five top 10s and his worst finish is T40. You might run out of starts on him by July in the Yahoo! game.
Brendan Steele: California kid only made two bogeys on the weekend as he saw his trend continue in the right direction at the NTO. He MC in 2011, T69 in 2012 and was T46 last season before his top 10 (T10) this week. Steele has now posted top 10s in two of his last three starts (T6, WMPO). He had two top 10s in 26 events last season. I’ll continue to monitor his progress.
What happened to my pre-tournament favorites?
Hunter Mahan: He had a great week striking the ball but his putter was a bit cool. He made two doubles on the week and, unlike the winner Watson, he could not overcome them. He didn’t take advantage of hitting the number on the cut but he’ll be focused on WGC-Match Play next week where he’s won and came in second the last two years. T52
Dustin Johnson: He was my OAD this week and did just about everything I could have asked. Nobody was beating Watson this weekend. Solo second, see above.
Graham DeLaet: Too much hockey for the Canadian this week obviously distracted him as his slap shot from the tee was off and his putter was ice cold. He finished 76th in strokes gained-putting and was 73rd in putts per GIR. #chilly. T70. Having Mahan and GDL in Yahoo! group B did not help things this week. Dustin Johnson, however, did.
Jordan Spieth: I have to keep reminding myself that he’s only 20. He was 11-under on the back nine on Sunday before four bogeys in six holes on the back sunk his chances. He finished T12. He’s been close at Torrey (36-hole leader), Pebble (78 on Saturday; 67 on Sunday) and now Riviera. He’s 20. He’s the absolute real deal. #SpiethBoner
Charl Schwartzel: Fifth, see above.
Webb Simpson: His T70 finish saw him only card one round under par. He couldn’t back up his T13 here last year because he only 49% GIR. His 16 bogeys were almost a field high as well. This was his first finish outside of the top 25 in six starts this season. No big deal in my eyes.
Bill Haas: Got back into contention with 67-67 on Friday and Saturday but never fired on Sunday to haunt gamers with his T23 finish. His bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 on Sunday knocked a few bucks off the total. He’s still horse-for-course here in my eyes.
Jimmy Walker: All good things come to a SLOW DOWN but T20 is hardly a disappointment to gamers this week. Walker’s reservation was mixed up at his mobile home park so his family had to “rough it” this week. The one cause for concern entering the week was his propensity to spray it off the tee. He did. He was second-to-last in driving accuracy yet still made 19 birdies, tied for fourth-best on the week. That’s seven top 25s in nine starts.
Keegan Bradley: He blasted the front on Sunday for 30 but came home in 38 to also finish T20. He only made six bogeys on the week but had a dreaded triple as well. He’s rounding into shape nicely but gamers always expect bigger and better from a player of his magnitude.
Harris English: See above, T10.
Hideki Matsuyama: His T23 just keeps reinforcing how good he really is. He turns 22 next month. He played all four rounds at par or better. Did I mention he turns 22 next week? In six events this year (one WD) his worst finish is T25.
Pat Perez: A great start turned into a crash-and-burn that included 78 on Sunday that included TWO triples and a double. He also had two doubles on Saturday. As the TOUR moves to the Florida swing, I’ll leave the west coaster on the sidelines.
Justin Rose: The good news was that he led the field in pars. The bad news was he was second-last in birdies. He looked rusty, as suspected, but I don’t see any issues with him or his shoulder moving forward.
Ryan Moore: His streak of 14 straight weekends on TOUR and six straight at Riviera both came to an end this week as a second round 76 saw him MC. That was the shock of the weekend to me.
Coming Wednesday TUESDAY!!!!
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