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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Greenbrier Classic - Preview

The Old White TPC will host The Greebrier Classic for the fourth time in as many years, and if we've learned anything from the first three editions it is to expect the unexpected. The winner of the inaugural Greenbrier was Stuart Appleby, closing with a 59 and posting 22-under 258. He was followed by Scott Stallings (10-under) in 2011 and Ted Potter Jr. (16-under) in 2012. Note that the course was lengthened following the 2010 tournament.

The course plays to a par of 70 at 7274 yards, boasting two par 5s (both on the back nine) and four par 3s. Perhaps the most memorable hole on the course is the finishing hole. It is a rather short par 3 with steep ridges dividing the green. The par-3 third is memorable in that there is a massive low point dividing the green in three segments.

Standing out about the first three events is the unexpected champions. While it's easy to say that Appleby, with six prior PGA TOUR wins, wasn't a surprise champion, the truth is it remains his only win on the PGA TOUR since 2006. The 2010 Greenbrier win was only possible with a final-round 59.

Scott Stallings picked up his first win in this event in 2011. Since then, he's gone from obscurity to a legitimate TOUR players who contends on a fairly regular basis.

Ted Potter Jr. outlasted Troy Kelly and Charlie Beljan for his first (and only) TOUR win in 2012. While Beljan has notable popped up with a win a Disney in 2012 and a nice run at Riviera in 2013, the other two have largely struggled.

In short, the history of this tournament more closely resembles a mini-tour event than that of a PGA TOUR mainstay. With that, expect birdies to be the order of the week and a hot putter to eventually raise the hardware. If you want to take a look at some stats, I would suggest scoring stats like par breakers and par-4 scoring.

We can begin to hope that with three tournaments in the books, some course history trends can become relevant. When we return tomorrow, we will dive deep into the field and come up with the weekly power rankings.

Until then, happy research!

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