Zach Johnson’s win at the Crowne Plaza Invitational this week came in a very unconventional way. Firstly, it was essentially a match play final round, with Johnson and Jason Dufner a full 7 strokes ahead of the field at the start of the final round. Secondly, when it seemed like Johnson had the tournament all wrapped up he got a bit careless on the final hole, forgetting to move his ball-marker back and incurring a two stroke penalty that he only found out about on his way to turn in his scorecard. Had Dufner made his birdie putt on 18 that missed by mere inches, this could have been quite a different wrap up. But Johnson did prevail in the end, giving Dave his third win of the season. Over the last five weeks Dave and James have been steadily increasing their lead over the rest of the league, and the gap between second and third now stands at 450 points. Let’s take a look at how the league fared this week…
After taking a week off from league domination with a goose egg last week, Dave was back this week with a surprising productive roster, despite his top five guys not teeing it up. Johnson’s win this week gives him 330 points for the season, good for second most on Dave’s team, and with his last four starts including a win and two runner up finishes, Johnson may be making a serious charge towards the members-only keeper room. Jonathan Byrd has also turned it up with top tens in two of his last three starts, including a 25 pointer this week. Dave added a top fifteen from Sergio(not sure why he was here instead of playing at the BMW), and another five from Brendon de Jonge to cap off his third best week of the season. Johnson and Byrd’s top tens also give Dave 14 top tens in the last ten weeks, and 26 for the season.
If James’ team is going to continue playing like this in tier one tournaments, he’s going to have to start saving his Osickis for the Greenbrier! With another 130 points this week, James could goose egg all five of the remaining tier one tournaments and would still tie Cody’s all-time record for tier one average. James’ knight in smirking armor scored him another 50 points this week, and his 390 is the third highest season total in the league. John Huh also continued to impress in the tier one category, garnering 35 points and a top five. The pleasant surprise of the week turned out to be “Back Door” Ben Crane, who snuck into the top ten long after his round had finished. Geoff Ogilvy and Louis Oosthuizen also held on to finish in the top twenty, giving James an impressive 130 points, despite having not gotten the win.
It’s a foregone conclusion that Brent will take immense pleasure in the fact that Rickie Fowler carded yet another top ten this week, giving him four top tens in the four starts since Lawrence dropped him. In fact, since Lawrence and Fowler parted ways, the eccentric young hotshot has been averaging 765% more points per start than he did while playing for Lawrence. While Fowler may be deserving of his accolades, Ryan Palmer has certainly contributed to Brent’s recent success as well. Palmer could get nothing going over the first 15 weeks of the season, but in the last five he has put together three top tens in four starts. Other than Fowler and Palmer’s top fives, it was business as usual for Brent’s squad, with Brian Davis, Sang-Moon Bae and Gary Woodland all failing to register any points.
It seemed like napping was Beast’s #1 priority this afternoon, but one Five Hour Energy he could have been alert enough to watch Jim Furyk nestle himself into the top five. Furyk has missed just 1 of 11 cuts this year, and has three 11th place finishes to go along nicely with his three top tens. The new Five Hour Energy Furyk of 2012 is looking a lot like the Furyk of 2010, and that will mean good things for Beast. Despite Furyk’s heroics, Beast still only managed to turn in 50 points this week, as BVP carded a horrid final round 75 to fall out of the top fifteen, while Kooch continued his post-Players slump with a top fifty. As expected, Levin and Gay both failed to find the score sheet, and Beast still finds himself a country mile out of second place.
Just when it seemed like Lawrence was starting to turn things around with five top tens in the last three weeks, he had another poor week. He was fielding a good roster this week, including the recently acquired Nick Watney and Carl Pettersson, but the two managed to combine for just five points, while Vijay Singh and Bud Cauley suffered the same fate. However, a newer, quicker, sexier Kevin Na put on quite the Sunday charge, shooting a 66 to finish in the top thirteen and somewhat salvage the week for Lawrence. The good news is that he managed to put some distance between himself and Bryce, the bad news is that he’s still nearly 200 points out of fifth.
You wouldn’t know it by his calm demeanor, tight fitting clothes, and professional manicured hair, but his team’s lack of production is absolutely eating Fuchs up inside. Averaging under 25 points per tournament since the Masters is going to get you nowhere fast, and that seems exactly where Fuchs is headed. Another week which saw some of his leading point scorers tee it up resulted in yet another disastrous finish, with Mahan, Moore, and Senden all failing to crack the top 25, while Overton and Wagner failed to score any points at all. Fuchs’ famed 105 point weeks seem to be a thing of the past, and his sudden drop off has him with fewer top tens than anyone other than Bryce.
Here’s a funny statistic. Bryce actually had more 100+ point weeks at the halfway point of this season than he did all of last year. That being said, if he doesn’t find his game soon, he’ll be repeating last year’s last place finish. Like Fuchs, Bryce is averaging less than 25 points per tournament since the Masters, and if you exclude Martin Laird’s back door second place finish at the Players, he’s actually averaging less than 15. Bryce desperately needs a spark to get his team in gear, but so far he’s gotten nothing. This week was more of the same for Bryce, as Molder’s top fifty was his only positive finish, with Haas, Baddeley, and Toms all carding goose eggs.
That’s the wrap up for this week, Gents. Hope you’re looking forward to next week’s excellent field at the Memorial Tournament!