As we narrow our focus to the true contenders at The Greenbrier Classic in this week’s Power Ranking, we must remind ourselves that this tournament has been a hard one to call in previous years. Stuart Appleby, Scott Stallings and Ted Potter Jr. were all winners that all came from out of nowhere.
Because of that, there are a few horses for courses that don’t rate well in the current form and statistical breakdown that may still warrant consideration. In addition to those mentioned above, Steven Bowditch and Johnson Wagner qualify as worthy fliers.
With that out of the way, here are the ones that offer a safer investment.
- Jimmy Walker – If you haven’t already used him in a one-and-done format, this is your best chance coming down the stretch. He’s finished T4 or better three times in four years and has scored top 10s in his last two PGA TOUR starts. Conveniently, he scored the highest on my statistical breakdown this week. He was truly the trifecta. He’s a play in Yahoo!, Golf Channel and any other format.
- Brendon Todd - Reminds me of the run Matt Kuchar had a few months ago. He’s a top-10 machine and there’s no reason he can’t keep it up this week. He tied for 46th here in 2012, but that was back when he sucked. Now that he’s really good, watch out.
- Kevin Na – Improved from T36 to T7 here in his two showings, and has a good game for this course since length off the tee isn't a major factor. His last two TOUR starts were a playoff loss and a T12, so form is in great shape.
- Steve Stricker – Clearly gearing up for his annual romp at the John Deere Classic, Stricker tied for 22nd here in 2012 and has shown solid form in his events leading into this week. Even though the classiest players haven’t risen to the top here yet, there’s no reason Stricker can’t be the first.
- Marc Leishman – The Aussie has cracked the top 25 in five of his last six starts, including a T11 and T8 the last two weeks. While he doesn’t have a top 10 at The Old White TPC, he did tie for 16th here in 2010. That’s good enough to know he won’t hate this layout.
- Bill Haas – He’s come close here, losing in a playoff in 2011 and tying for ninth last year. While he isn’t racking up the big finishes this year, he’s yet to miss a cut. That’s consistency that plays well in many formats.
- Ben Martin – Since putting former college teammate, Alex Boyd, on the bag right after his T3 at Harbour Town, he hasn’t missed a cut and tied for third on a tough layout at Congressional. That he missed the cut here in 2011 (rookie season) should not be a concern. Like Todd, he’s on a totally different level now.
- Bubba Watson – Disappointed with a T31 at the Travelers and tied for 30th here in his first appearance last year. The result at Travelers is worthy of a slight pause for concern.
- Webb Simpson – Given his class and two top 10s in four starts at this venue, he would seem a lock to crack this power ranking. The concern is his recent form. A T3 at the FedEx St. Jude was a welcomed oasis, but he’s stalled with a T45 and a T30 in his last two outings. Could get back on track here.
- Brendon de Jonge – Has two top fours in this event (’10-’11) and tied for 17th last year, which converges well with his T8 at Congressional last week. That could put a little too much pressure him this week. He did not stack up well statistically.
- Daniel Summerhays – He’s an exciting prospect that may get overlooked, having finished fifth and T9 in his last two trips to Greenbrier. He stayed off the radar with a T28 and a T30 in his last two TOUR starts. I would not be surprised at all if he broke through with his first win this week.
- Patrick Reed – Got back in the hunt for the first time since his win at Doral, but fell apart down the stretch. His tendency late in tournaments is to get a little wild off the tee, which is punished on a track light Congressional. Should he be in a similar spot at Greenbrier, he will find himself on a much more forgiving layout.
Next 5 (alphabetical): Keegan Bradley, David Hearn, George McNeill, Brendan Steele and Chris Stroud
We will return tomorrow with a look at the one-and-done.