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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nationwide Tour Preview 36th - 45th Positions

In continuing to look at the fully exempt Nationwide Tour players for 2012 and identifying what they need to improve on to advance to the PGA Tour in 2012, we will move on to those in the 36th - 45th positions from the 2011 Nationwide Tour Money List.
  • 36. Will Wilcox - He made 10 of 18 cuts, so he too could have benefited from a few more starts.  He had 6 top 25's and 2 top 10's in his 10 cuts made and both of the top 10's were 3rd place finishes.  There is nothing too bad statistically, but he could benefit from a few more fairways (102nd in driving accuracy) and a little better putter (85th in putts per round).  He did rank in the top 10 in both 3rd and 4th round scoring, so he did a nice job on the weekends.
  • 37.  Richard H. Lee - Advanced to the PGA Tour via Q School.
  • 38.  Luke List - Vandy grad ended up on this spot in the money list largely due to a second place finish at the 54 hole event at Stonebrae early in the year.  He only had one other top 10, but had a consistent 9 top 25's in his 13 cuts made, but also missed 12 cuts.  His inconsistency in making cuts can be traced to his ball striking (113th in driving accuracy and 94th in greens in regulation).  He finished 30th in scrambling, but his ball striking puts a lot of pressure on his scrambling.
  • 39.  Cliff Kresge - He made a steady 18 of 25 cuts with a symmetrical 9 top 25's and 4 top 10's including a 3rd place finish.  Kresge's season was the classic case of just needing to milk another stroke or two out of a few tournaments to move some top 10's to top 5's.  He hits plenty of fairways and greens, but the putter is what cost him finishing 100th in putting average and 107 in putts per round.  Not sure if he already has it in his bag or not, but may be worth Kresge getting trendy with a belly putter.
  • 40.  Paul Claxton - You mean a Georgia grad didn't make it through to the PGA Tour in 2011?  Claxton has the inauspicious "honor" of being 2nd on the career Nationwide Tour money list at over $1.5 million behind only Darron Stiles.  He made 17 of 26 cuts with 11 top 25's and 3 top 10's (1 third place).  As many times as he's seen these courses, I guess you would expect a high percentage of cuts made and top 25's.  His stats are strong across the board with the notable exception of driving distance (115th).  No reason to expect anything different than a solid, but not spectacular year next year.
  • 41.  Brendan Pappas - He made 8/16 cuts with only 3 top 25s and 1 top 10, but was the beneficiary of being the unofficial winner of the 36 hole rain shortened 2nd event of the year earning $108k of his $138k for the year in that start.  125th in GIR and 126th in total driving tell the story.
  • 42.  Brian Smock - He made 10 of 23 cuts including 5 top 25's and 3 top 10's.  Lucky for him one of those top 10's was a T4 at one of the richest purses of the year that included an amateur winner (Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational).  Key stats are 104th in GIR, 102 birdie average and 107 in scoring average.  He's pretty fortunate to have finished as high as he did.
  • 43.  Aaron Watkins - He was a cut making machine with 20/23 cuts made.  He only converted 2 top 10's out of that.  If he can learn how to finish a tournament, watch out next year.  Predictably, his stats were good across with board with the exception of driving distance (102nd).
  • 44.  Rob Oppenheim - A steady 16/26 cuts made could have turned into a better season with a few more top 10's (only 3).  His putting was solid but his total driving came in at 118th, meaning some better drives might give him a better chance to take advantage of his strong putter.
  • 45.  Matt Hendrix - The Clemson Tiger MQ'd his way on tour with a T10 in South Georgia and a T3 the next week at UGA (got T2 money due to an amateur winning).  He stayed hot through the end of July with another top 10 and two more top 14's.  He cooled off with only 1 more top 25 after that.  He was 80th in GIR, but what stand out to me is with his length (9th in driving distance) he only manged 2 eagles all year.  The other elephant in the room is 121st final round scoring average.  If he can play the 4th round like the first 3 in 2012, watch out.
I'll have 46th - 55th tomorrow.  Until then!

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