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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reno-Tahoe Open - Preview and Power Rankings

The Reno-Tahoe Open represents the only PGA TOUR event of the year that uses a Modified Stableford scoring system, which matters. Montreux G&CC measures 7,472 yards and plays to a par of 72. The distance is a little misleading, as altitude makes it play a little shorter.

Historically, Montreux will give up its share of birdies and eagles, which is important in the Modified Stableford. For those that don't know, the scoring system awards points for birdies and eagles (or better) and subtracts points for bogeys and doubles.

A birdie gets 2 points, an eagle 5 and an albatross 8, whereas a bogey is -1 and a double or worse is -3. So, 18 pars in a round =0 points, but nine birdies and nine bogeys (even on the card) = 9 points.

On that thought, when looking at statistical categories I factored in par breakers, birdie or better percentage and total eagles.

Here we go with the Reno-Tahoe dandy dozen:

  1. Andres Romero - He's the perfect blend of form, course history and stats. He tied for third here last year, has made each of his last five cuts this year, three going for top 25s, and is inside the top 20 in par breakers and birdie or better. He will likely be my one-and-done for this tournament.
  2. John Rollins - One thing I noticed when looking back at the list of winners in this tournament's recent past is the ability for Montreux to identify stable TOUR players on a tournament with a bad draw on the schedule. Rollins fits that profile and also boasts a T2 in 2008 and a win in 2009 here. 
  3. J.J. Henry - The defending champ is 7/8 here with two other top-four finishes to go with his 2012 win.
  4. Aaron Baddeley - Finally flashed some form in Canada last week and can get away with some balky driving on these forgiving fairways. He's third in SGP and sixth in birdie or better. Stableford plays into his hands because he will make bogeys. He's only played here three times, but tied for fourth in 2005.
  5. Kevin Stadler - Baby Stads is 6/7 with two top fives and an 11th in 2012 at Montreux. Ranks fifth on TOUR in eagles. 
  6. Peter Uihlein - A great candidate for a OAD, he's won in Europe this year and made noise in Puerto Rico with a top 10. There is ZERO reason why he couldn't pull a Jordan Spieth and earn a spot on TOUR after beginning the year on TOUR With zero status. 
  7. Gary Woodland - This is a nice course for a bomber. Plenty of birdies await on par 5s. He's 48th in par breakers and fifth in eagles. He's never played here.
  8. Rory Sabbatini - Sabo is playing close to his top form of late, but has very limited history here. He missed the cut in 2002 after a T63 in '99. 
  9. Josh Teater - Trending, with a 54, T10 and a seventh in his three starts here. He played very well on the West Coast early in the year, so this represents a chance to re-capture that flame. 
  10. Richard Lee - Tied for 12th in his first start here last year and is having a nice sophomore season. His par breaker and birdie or better numbers aren't all that good, but at 16th in SGP he has the potential to run the tables.
  11. Ben Crane - A nod to class more than anything, Crane is in danger of missing the FedExCup Playoffs and needs a boost. He's 3/3 with a T6 here way back in 2002. 
  12. David Toms - Like Crane and Sabo, his record here is limited. But, it's really good. He tied for second in '99 and was T7 in '00. A combo of class and course history.
No next five for this one. 

Best of luck and we'll wrap it all up tomorrow.

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