What I learned from the finishers in the top 10
Jim Furyk: In 10 events at Quail Hollow, Furyk has a win, a second, a T2, a seventh, a T7 and T11. He performed exactly like I expected him to as he was No. 2 in my order of importance this week. His steady game tee-to-green saw him only concede four bogeys on the week en route to solo second. His 52 pars had plenty to do with that. It didn’t hurt that he was second in fairways, T10 GIR and ninth in SGP either! In his last five events he has nothing outside of T20 and in his four he has three T7s or better. He simply ran out of holes this week as evidenced by his closing round 65. #mayjahfiyah
Martin Flores: Another player who has been knocking on the fantasy door this winter/spring kicked in his highest finish as a pro with his solo third this week. Since the TOUR moved east after the NTO, Flores has flourished with six weekends in seven starts. He’s only had one finish outside T19 of those six so gamers should have had him on the radar. He was no course horse this week either and that speaks to where is game is GOING, not where it has been. When asked if he could handle the Sunday pressure he responded that he can because he believes in himself that much. Playing in the final group today was a fantastic learning experience and he’ll be better for it in the long run. #allaboard
Jason Bohn: After a T2-MC-T3 stretch last fall, Bohn knew that he would have a happy holiday and minimal pressure once the clock rolled over to 2014. He sure hasn’t played like it! In his eight previous events this season, the original #Bohner MC four times and his best finish was T33. Heck, he didn’t even play at the Zurich where he won in 2010 so if any gamers had him on the radar this week, God bless. In his last five at Quail Hollow, he MC four times and had a T33. He now has a solo third and a solo fourth in 11 career peggings at the WFC. He was T2 in birdies for the week because his putter was white hot but it was his double-bogey close on the final two holes knocked him off the podium.
Justin Rose: Another week in the lineup, another finish in the top 10 but gamers will point out that his double on the final hole took him out of bonus bucks in the Yahoo! game. They will also point out that it cost almost $200K in OAD money. I still think that all top 10s are great but I can see their point when a guy keeps getting close. Rose’s record at THE PLAYERS is AWFUL so we’ll see if the form > course history pans out next week. I’m still in the corner that some courses just don’t fit certain players’ eyes but Rose crushed that thought at Quail Hollow this week. This was his first trip inside the top 28 in six tries. That’s unbelievable for a player of his magnitude.
Brendon de Jonge: The Charlotte resident has been a massive disappointment for season-long gamers in 2013-14 as Automatic Teller Machine had exactly ONE top 25 (T18) in 12 events in calendar 2014 before this week. After opening with 80, I could hear the swearing all the way in southern Indiana as this was going to be another thrown away week for the Mustard Man. After opening with 66-64 at Honda, BDJ played 22 more rounds before finding the 60s. It was 62 on Friday. Course record. Unlike the Honda where he went 76-78 on the weekend de Jonge kept the momentum going with 68-69 to finish T6. It’s his first top 10 since T9 at the DBC last September. Season-long gamers are hoping he’s thawed and that the top 25s are back to stay. I’ll remain cool on him because he’s seen this course quite a few times. He’s now played the weekend in six straight and this is his second top 10 in that stretch. #horseforcourse
Kevin Kisner: ANOTHER Georgia Bulldog in the top 10 this year, Kisner began the day T4 and held on for T6 to post his best finish on TOUR in 64 career events. His other top 10 was T10 at the 2012 RBC. He’s won twice on the Web.com Tour including last year’s Chile Classic. After back-to-back MC at Valspar and Valero (he hates V’s obviously), he’s rattled off 68th, T38, T34 and T6 this week in his last four. His 73 on Sunday kept him from big bucks but the SGP leader this week now moves up to No. 110 in the FedExCup race. #exhale
Rory Sabbatini: The Golf Gods have been smiling on Sabbo ever since he gutted it out with a pinched nerve in his neck in March. He fought through the round at API without WD and since that break in his schedule has been playing excellent golf. He returned to the RBC with T9 and followed that with T17 last week at Zurich. This week, he opened with 74 but made only six bogeys the rest of the week to finish T8. He was fourth in birdies and his 67 on Sunday saw him climb 30 spots into the top 10.
Roberto Castro: Another up-and-comer that season-long owners were hoping to catch in a break-out type of year, Castro finally found form with T8 this week. After a T25 at Humana, he gained momentum with back-to-back T19s in Phoenix and Pebble Beach. And then somebody pulled the emergency brake. In his next seven he MC five times and posted finishes of T58 and 76th. This will be a welcome sight for those with patience or stubbornness who have ridden this bumpy ride. Castro went through a similar arc last spring as well so it may be time to put him back on the radar.
Rory McIlroy: Another week, another top 10 but not the victory that all gamers expect when he tees it up. His worst finish this year is T25 and HE’S NOT MAKING ANYTHING on the greens. He had 22 birdies this week and didn’t make anything. The common thread is the one bad round each tournament that’s keeping him from more hardware. He turned 25 today and has two major championships each by eight shots. He’s close folks!
What happened to my pre-tournament favorites?
Rory McIlroy: T8, see above.
Jim Furyk: Second, see above.
Lee Westwood: When course form meets hot play MC should NOT occur. Since this is real life and real golf, sh!t happens sometimes. He was my Group 2 selection, Group A play and OAD selection this week. Racking up three doubles on Friday after playing Houdini on Thursday wasn’t going to cut it. #crashandburn.
Rickie Fowler: He was T62 heading into Sunday before 67 pushed him up 24 spots to T38. As with any player revamping their swing, there are going to be really good days and days that make gamers tear their respective hair out. His bogey-free 67 on Sunday will be a nice springboard into THE PLAYERS next week.
Ryan Moore: He’s now played four consecutive weekends in Charlotte and his final round 66 was the second lowest one of Sunday. He began the day T56 and after five birdies, an eagle and one bogey he finished T18. Not bad for his first start since Augusta but not surprising either as he’s finished T5, T6 and T18 in his last three at Quail Hollow.
Justin Rose: Fifth, see above.
Jimmy Walker: I let J.B Holmes rot on my bench Thursday AND Friday as I was hoping to get more than one round of DY-NO-MITE this week. Boom went the dynamite instead as I have to lead the league in bench points this season. Anyhow, Walker proved that he is human as he was a HEALTHY MC for the first time since the DBC last September. He MC at Torrey Pines but his wife told us on the Twitter that their whole crew was sick that week. I’m over it!
J.B. Holmes: Proud to say I had him in the top 12 this week, plus Group C in Yahoo! and Group 3 in the GolfChannel.com game.
Gary Woodland: With three bogeys in his last five holes the big hitter missed out on another top 10 this season but his weekend streak is currently at 11 after his T18. He’s free money and will only get better.
Jason Kokrak: My dark horse this week in the Call to Order send gamers on the roller coaster ride that comes with hopping on most youngsters. His 75 on Thursday was backed by 68 on Friday to comfortably make the cut. Investing in him on Saturday added another layer of frustration as needed 73 of them to get around. He moved up 29 spots on Sunday to land in the top 25 (T23) as he fired 68 which included the only birdie of the day on No. 18. Kokrak was in the top 12 as I felt his momentum was carrying him in the right direction after T12 his last time out at Harbour Town. It doesn’t hurt that he hits it a mile and can really putt just like Flores and Woodland. He should be on the radar!
Zach Johnson: He made back-to-back doubles on Sunday on the back nine and still finished T14. He ground out a pair of birdies after his two missteps, just like gamers thought he would. That’s eight on the bounce in Charlotte for the short hitter.
Phil Mickelson was listed as a FADE for me this week because I didn’t believe his current form could overcome his excellent, yet non-winning course history at Quail Hollow. If there is one thing that Mickelson is not it is boring. He got everyone lathered up on Thursday after opening up with 67. Then, Phil’s gonna Phil and BANG, 75 on Friday. After the cussing and moaning wore off with the hangover on Saturday morning he goes out and blasts 63. Good grief. Nick Faldo said he missed six putts inside of four feet on Sunday to finish up with 76. He was two shots out of the lead behind a guy who hadn’t won in six years and another guy who had one finish inside the top four in his life. Let me know when this gets figured out. Next year, we’ll all see T11 and say REMEMBER, HE’S AWESOME ON THIS TRACK but we’ll forget he should have/could have won. Well, at least those with him in their lineups this week won't. Let’s hope he’s saving the four rounds of history for Pinehurst next month!
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