A round of three over par is never how you want to finish off a tournament, unless that final round 75 ends up earning you a win. It did just that for Scotsman Martin Laird this week, as he got a little help from Steve Marino in the final few holes, and took home his second career PGA Tour victory. He played some stellar golf this week and led the tournament after 36 and 54 holes before dropping out of the lead early Sunday afternoon. Laird was five over par through eleven holes before turning it around and finishing two under in the final seven. Steve Marino looked like a lock to take home the hardware until a bogey on 15 and double bogey on 17 cut down his chances. However he still made a clutch birdie putt on 18 to put the pressure on Laird and the Scot needed a par on 18 to avoid a playoff. A monster drive and very conservative approach left Laird 86 feet and two putts to win the tournament and the rest is history. Here’s the wrap-up…
As you probably know by now, Martin Laird cashed in a win for a healthy 120 points, and it has taken James just 11 weeks to reach the 1000 point mark, and he is averaging almost ten points more per week than last year. He’s also now at 16 top tens, and needs just three more to pass Fuchs’ season total from last year! His team is clearly on a roll (aside from Phil) right now, and he’s opened up a sizable lead over the rest of the league. Hopefully someone can make a big move at The Masters before it gets out of hand.
Beast got another decent week out of his depth players, but in tournaments where either Kuchar or Stricker tee it up, Beast is averaging a full 30 points more. It’s clear who the meat and potatoes of Beast’s lineup are, but if he can continue to get the odd top ten out of Marino, Gay and Sabbatini, he will certainly continue to compete. As for this week, the big guy got all he could have hoped for with a second place finish out of Steve Marino, as well as a top 25 from Brian Gay. Beast will go into The Masters with some quality momentum as Kuchar, Stricker, and defending champion Anthony Kim are all in the field next week at The Shell Houston Open.
Fuchs managed to hold onto 3rd place for another week, despite posting the second lowest total of the week at just 30 points. Vijay’s renaissance appears to be over, as he’s failed to score points in three of the last four tournaments, and Brandt Snedeker decided to follow up a confident top 5 finish with a missed cut. Hunter Mahan got off to a promising start this week, but in the end could only manage 5. Fuchs also has the dubious distinction of owning the lone Canadian in our league, Stephen Ames, who has just five points in six starts. Fuchs has a fairly solid team, with Mahan, Moore, Cink, Holmes, Singh, and Snedeker all capable of putting up big points and plenty of top tens, so there is no need for the Fuchs camp to worry about a couple of down weeks.
Just a few weeks after despairing about the state of his team, Dave seems to be on the rise. Jim Furyk’s game has clicked in the last couple of weeks, and Justin Rose continues to have an excellent season, despite flying largely under the radar. Furyk and Rose have accounted for 135 points in the last two weeks alone, and they don’t show any signs of slowing. Goosen, McDowell and Westwood have only combined for 135 points this season, which has to be disappointing for Dave considering he spent his first three picks on the highly talented Internationals. If those three can somehow get their game going, Dave will have a scary team with the middle part of the season, The Masters, and The U.S. Open fast approaching.
Brent’s team continued their inconsistencies, with a top ten, top fifteen, and three missed cuts. ‘Five point Poulter’ broke the mold and wound up with a top fifteen this week, while K.J. cashed in a top ten, despite following up a Friday round of 64, with a Saturday round of 76. Brent finished up the week with 50 points, which is about par for the course, with his average at just over 52 per week. But average weeks aren’t going to win you championships, and Brent dropped a spot to Dave in the Standings, landing him down in fifth place. Even more alarming than the recent dry spell, is the fact that Camilo Villegas has the second worst point total in our league with a measly 15 points in seven weeks. There isn’t much you can do when one of your keepers is playing that bad, but even Brent has to be thinking about cutting loose his former BFF.
Finally we come to Brycer. Two weeks ago the Brycemaster had a breakout week with 155 points and a pair of top tens from Dustin and Tiger. Since then he has managed just 35 points and dropped down into the cellar. This week’s abysmal point total came thanks to missed cuts by Woodland and Johnson, as well as top fifties by Na and Allenby. Tiger cashed Bryce’s biggest point total of the week with 15, and although he may just be a shell of his former self, it appears he can still at least be serviceable. As for Bryce’s future, he’s only 75 points out of fifth and has the talent to post a big number at The Masters, so it’s still too early to lose hope for our most vertically endowed friend.
That’s the wrap-up my friends. Power Rankings to come later on…