Although we’re only seven weeks into the season, Fuchs has already doubled his win total from last year. Despite being absolutely lambasted by the critics prior to the season, Fuchs is absolutely lighting it up. The workhorse this week was Hunter Mahan, who despite one of the worst shanks that the PGA Tour has seen since Darren Clarke’s heyday, still managed to take home the prize at the end of the week. Despite making it look relatively easy, Mahan’s road was actually quite difficult, having to go through the likes of Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, and finally Rory McIlroy. There is never an easy opponent in match play (except maybe Luke Donald), but Hunter Mahan made it look that way. In his matches with Stricker and Kuchar he was barely tested, and had a large lead over McIlroy before closing it out on 17. Mahan put together a ton of top tens last year, and it looks like he may be converting some of those to wins this year. This is the wrap up!
We begin with Fuchs’ team, who had an absolutely monster week. His 285 points is the most SSF has seen in almost a year and a half, and the second highest non-Osicki’d total in Spreadsheet Fantasy history! Many of us wrote Fuchs’ team off as too keeper heavy, but that apparently doesn’t matter when two of those keepers are the leading point getters for the league. Mahan and Snedeker have combined for 410 points, the bottom four teams in the league are averaging 326 TOTAL. Mahan’s 150 points this week brings his total up to 205, tied with Brandt Snedeker, who added a top ten this week. Martin Kaymer and John Senden also made it to the third round, giving Fuchs a ridiculous FOUR top tens for the week. Robert Karlsson couldn’t make it past Lee Westwood in the second round, but after nearly doubling his point total for the season, Fuchs’ won’t be complaining. He now sits in solo second, just 75 points out of first place.
The second highest total of the week belonged to James, who was eagerly awaiting the debut of the young Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman did not disappoint, winning his first five matches before falling to a red-hot Hunter Mahan in the finals. McIlroy has been absolutely lights out in his last dozen starts around the world, and there is no reason why that success can’t continue in the States. Someone who hasn’t had much success this season was Nick Watney, who had totaled just ten points in three starts coming into the week. However, Watney got right back on the horse, and made it to the third round, having to go through Tiger Woods in the second. Geoff Ogilvy’s first round loss was disappointing, since the Aussie had boasted a 20-4 record coming into the tournament, but Ben Crane’s first round exit at the hands of Bubba Watson was to be expected. Kyle Stanley made it to the second round, falling again to Brandt Snedeker.
After a slow start to the season, Bryce’s team has gotten it going, with six top tens in the last three weeks. His top tens this week were courtesy of Dustin Johnson (his third straight) and Martin Laird, who broke a string of three consecutive goose eggs with a mulligan’d in quarter final loss. While Poulter loves his five pointers, it looks like Tiger is developing quite a taste for 15’s. The former good golfer was ousted in the second round by Nick Watney. But even Tiger lasted one round longer than Aaron Baddeley, Gary Woodland, and Bill Haas, who’s loss to Ryo Ishikawa was quite an upset, with Haas coming of a clutch win at the Northern Trust Open. Sitting in third, 120 points ahead of fourth, it’s ‘all systems go’ for Bryce right now.
It has been 716 days since Beast made his first and only SSF pickup. For those of you counting, that’s 61,862,400 seconds, but this week he decided to pick up Mark Wilson. Wilson will help bolster a strong Americna presence on Beast’s team, led by veterans Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar. Both Stricker and Kuchar were playing solid golf this week, before getting knocked out by Hunter Mahan in the third round and quarter finals, respectively. The rest of his team wasn’t much help, with Day sneaking into the second round before getting manhandled by John Senden, and both Jim Furyk and BVP taking early exits in the first round. Beast has been flying up and down the leaderboard over the past few weeks, and if he can hang onto fourth place for now, he will undoubtedly be content.
Considering the roster he was putting forth, it was a disappointing week for Dave. Bubba Watson, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia were all coming off strong performances, but of the three, only Watson made it past the first round. Rose fell to Paul Lawrie, while Sergio was disemboweled by one ‘Miguel Angel Jimenez’. Zach Johnson’s first round loss to Hunter Mahan stings a little less, given Mahan went on to win the tournament, but this is certainly a week where Dave would have liked to have more than one of his golfers make it to the third round. As it happened, Lee Westwood was the only one to make the top ten, but a consolation loss, meant that his quarter final win actually didn’t gain him any points (the one flaw in the SSF Match Play scoring system). Dave is sitting just 25 points out of fourth place, but one big week from Brent could have him checking that rear-view mirror.
No one has been as vocal about how awesome they are as the league’s newest rookie, Lawrence. ‘Big Train’ went the first three weeks of the season without a top ten, but now has five in his last four starts, with his lone top ten this week coming from his lifelong hero… Miguel Angel Jimenez. If it’s possible, Miguel Angel Jimenez may be both the most over-rated player in the world, and the most under rated. Although he was offered a birth in the third round just based on the merit of his pre-round stretches alone, Jimenez chose the blue collar option, and worked his way to the third round, where he fell in an admirable battle to Rory McIlroy. Prior to the loss to McIlroy, Jimenez took out Lawrence’s other hope for a top ten, in Keegan Bradley. For a while, it looked like Manassero might make it in, but a loss to Martin Laird ended his chances. Disappointingly, Webb Simpson and Kevin Na both fell in the first round, and it was a bit of a missed opportunity for Lawrence this week.
One of the most depressing things that can happen to a man, happened to Brent last Wednesday. With all his best players teeing it up, Brent was excited for his first productive week of the season, and being able to watch an unprecedented FIVE straight days of quality Harder team golf. That dream was shattered approximately eight hours later, when ALL five of the players he started were blown out of the first round 6 and 5(Karlsson), 5 and 4(Donald), 4 and 3(Dyson), 2 and 1(Choi), and a painful 1 down loss by Adam Scott to Robert Rock. While the prospect of four straight days of PGA Tour golf with nothing invested would have crushed lesser men, Brent did what he had to and promptly mulligan’d in Sang-Moon Bae. The move proved to be an excellent decision, as Bae went on to lose in the quarter finals, and rack up as many points as Brent’s original five would have scored put together. While he still sits in last place, Brent now has some positives to look at, as Robert Allenby finished runner up in Mayakoba, and he is no longer on pace to break the top ten futility record by 400%.
Well that’s the wrapup for this week, my friends. Hope you enjoyed the Accenture Match Play Championship, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the Honda Classic this week.