While nearly all eyes in the sporting world were transfixed on University of Phoenix Stadium for Super Bowl XLIX, a half hour away from Pete Carroll and Tom Brady there was another showdown going on, that also came right down to the wire. Brooks Koepka made a late day charge to edge three players by one stroke and claim his first career victory, to help Bryce eclipse his entire win total from last year in just three weeks. Here’s a look at how the week broke down.
For a second week in a row, Bryce claimed the high score of the week, and has now moved into first place in the overall standings. Not only did Koepka pick up the victory, but former fantasy all-star Brandt Snedeker also manufactured a top ten and 25 points. Last week’s runner-up Brendan Steele helped out with a top 50, bringing Double B’s weekly total to 130. Saskatchewanian Graham DeLaet also scored a top ten, but was unfortunately left on the bench. Humana Challenge champion Bill Haas had a brutal weekend and finished out of the points, as did Tiger Woods, whose Friday morning 82 was his worst professional round ever. Still, if Bryce’s so-called ‘grinders’ can keep up the good play, an ailing Tiger might not entirely crush his chances.
Brent moved up two spots to third in the overall race putting up a strong week of 95 points, headlined by the play of Ryan Palmer. Palmer had a number of birdie putts lip out down the stretch, leaving him one shot behind Koepka in second. Brent, the 2013 SSF champion, also got a top ten from Zach Johnson, Johnson’s first points in three starts this season. Rory Sabbitini, Kevin Chappell, and Patrick Reed combined to add 20 points to the team’s total this week.
Bubba Watson’s first start of the year certainly didn’t disappoint Daniel, as the two-time Masters champ shot a blistering 65 Sunday afternoon and score 50 points. Throw in another 15 from Russell Knox and 5 from Jason Kokrak and Daniel picked up 70 points, his best week of 2015. Daniel currently sits tied for fourth, but with keepers Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia having yet to set foot on North American soil, this second year team is in a good position to make a charge.
The next stop on our tour brings us to James, who scored 55, thanks to a second place finish by Hideki Matsuyama. It wasn’t all good news for the defending champ, however, as two of his big guns – Phil the Thrill and Flatbill Fowler – combined to score a poultry five points. With his team firmly positioned in sixth spot, James took to the waiver wire and acquired early season sensation Robert Streb, dropping Tony Finau. James needs to keep pace with the leaders until Rory McIlroy returns to North America in a few weeks.
The league’s newest member picked up 45 points, thanks to in large part to Freddie Jacobson who’s final round 64 earned him a top ten. It was Jarret’s first top ten since Jimmy Walker won in Hawaii in the opening week. Everyone’s favorite groundskeeper will need a bigger output from two of his keepers if he wants to be successful, as Billy Horschel and Hunter Mahan combined for only 10 points this week. Ryan Moore had a promising first three rounds, but fell back Sunday, securing only a top 25.
The Beast fell from his perch atop the standings this week, as he could only muster 35 points. Young sensation Jordan Spieth notched a top ten in his first start of the 2015 season, which Beast will very pleased about for sure. The normally reliable Matt Kuchar could only score a top 50 in Arizona, after T-3 and T-2 finishes in Hawaii and California to open the season. Harris English also scored five, while The Beast left the world’s biggest horse racing fan – Angel Cabrera – on his bench. The Argentine finished in the top 15.
Finally, we come to Lawrence. It’s been another rough start to the season him, and this week was no different, scoring just 15 points. Through three weeks, Lawrence has yet to register a single top ten, and is quickly falling out of the running. The way it looks now, not even Magic Miguel Jiminez can save this team.
The season’s first tier 2 tournament of the season comes up this weekend, in the Farmers Insurance Open. Enjoy.