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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012 PGA TOUR Recap - Part 4

With the summer in full force and the peak of the 2012 season ready to usher in the season's third and fourth majors, it's time to take a look at the action in July and August.

The Greenbrier Classic - Ted Potter Jr. put a stamp on his rookie season with a playoff victory over fellow rookie Troy Kelly. Potter was a mini tour legend and Web.com Tour grad with a penchant for going low. Entering the week, he had missed his last five cuts, but closing with back-to-back 64s was just enough to pull off perhaps the most unlikely and unexpected win of the season. Greenbrier just wrapped up its third year on the schedule, with Stuart Appleby and Scott Stallings the other victors. This is turning into a tournament that rewards streaky players who can go low, rather than identifying the best player in the field.

John Deere Classic - This tournament has long been Zach Johnson's "fifth major," and after several close calls he was able to raise the trophy. Also known as the Steve Stricker Invitational, TPC Deere Run regularly gives up deep numbers. Johnson's win came in a playoff over Troy Matteson (both 20-under), with both looking shaky at times after regulation was complete. Scott Piercy came in third, which was a preview of things to come.

The Open Championship - This tournament is becoming almost as well known for its close calls as it is for the winners. This year, it was Adam Scott squaring bogeys on his final four holes to hand the Claret Jug to Ernie Els. Graeme McDowell once again was in the mix on the final day, but faded. Tiger Woods never really contended, but finished in a share of third with 36-hole leader Brandt Snedeker. In the end it was The Big Easy, with a history of fine play at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, celebrating what will likely be his final major triumph.

True South Classic - After fighting injuries for most of the early part of 2012, Scott Stallings fired a 24-under to best Jason Bohn by two. Billy Horschel finished third after limping in with a final-round 1-under, while Bud Cauley proved to be a course horse with his fourth-place finish. William McGirt finished in a tie for fifth, just a week before his biggest PGA TOUR tournament. The takeaway from this, is look for a guy who can take it low in this event, and always consider Bud Cauley here.

RBC Canadian Open - I mentioned above that Scott Piercy's third at the John Deere was a preview of things to come, and he captured this event by one over Robert Garrigus and William McGirt. Like the U.S. Open, the venues rotate for this event. This was one of many of Garrigus' runner-ups and the best finish of McGirt's career. Other than that, there isn't much to take away from this tournament that has bearing on 2013.

Reno-Tahoe Open - The Modified Stableford scoring system added a fresh touch to an otherwise struggling opposite-field event, and J.J. Henry returned to the winner's circle after a lengthy layoff. He topped Alexandre Rocha by a point. The other story this week was John Daly. Long John tied for fifth with Justin Leonard and put himself in the hunt for a spot in the top 125 on the money list. He would eventually fall short.

WGC- Bridgestone Invitational - Jim Furyk collapse; take three. Keegan Bradley was as shocked as everyone else that Furyk stepped onto the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead and made a messy double-bogey after a 14 handicap took over his body for two short-game shots. After falling apart on the 70th hole of the U.S. Open, he made it all the way to the 72nd this time around. In what would turn out to be the worst thing to happen for the U.S. Ryder cup team, Furyk shared second with Steve Stricker to essentially cement both of their standings as captain's picks for Davis Love III.

PGA Championship - Rory McIlroy's coming out party was the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, but his anointing as the heir to the Tiger Woods throne came on the South Carolina coast at Pete Dye's Ocean Course. He more than doubled up the field, with his 13-under eight strokes clear of David Lynn. There is nothing else to write, other than McIlroy dominated this tournament.

Wyndham Championship - Sergio Garcia found his way to the winner's circle when he claimed this event in a Monday finish. His ball striking was surgical down the stretch, keeping any and all pressure off of his questionable putter. The Spaniard was on the Ryder Cup bubble headed into this week, but sealed the deal with his win. Tim Clark was runner-up deep in the heart of ACC country and near his college stomping grounds of NC State.

The Barclays - After a flat season, Nick Watney tamed the Black Course at Bethpage State Park with a 10-under-par effort to win the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs. He was three clear of Brandt Snedeker, with Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia sharing third. Watney thrust himself into the mix for a Ryder Cup captain's pick, but would eventually join Rickie Fowler and Hutner Mahan as close calls that were left out.

In our fifth and final update, we will wrap up the FedExCup Playoffs and run through the Fall Series all the way to Disney.

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